CommsCon to kick off with a blank sheet of paper

Communications PR conferencePR and communications conference CommsCon is to begin with a interactive session which seeks to answer one question: “If we had the chance to start again with a blank sheet of paper, and a blank chequebook…what would we build?”

The session, entitled “A blank sheet of paper…? PR agencies, purpose, innovation, and execution in 2013” will be moderated by Matt Jones, former global head of strategy at Jack Morton. Jones now heads up Better Happy, a consultancy working with agencies.Jones will be joined by Charlotte McLauchlan, head of communications at Shine Australia, who previously worked in publicity for Channel 4 and the BBC in the UK, and Garland Harwood, senior VP of Weber Shandwick New York, where he  leads the global Amazon account as well as heading up consumer technology and content strategy for the agency.

McLaughlin will discuss relationships and reputation, while Harwood focuses on setting out how PR can maintain the balance between new areas such as content creation, while emphasising the importance of media relations.

The session will invite the audience to suggest the key issues they believe are holding public relations back as a discipline, what they would retain from existing practices and what should disappear.

Jones said, “We have to figure out a way to retain the core professional skill sets of PR – relations, judgement, storytelling, language and so on, while building new skill sets – creativity, content, brand strategy, media planning – all without eroding the uniqueness of PR and becoming another bunch of vanilla creative or media shops.”

The conference will close with members of the Communications Council’s Public Relations body, the PRC, outlining their vision for PR in the future.

Other sessions include case studies from brands using content and social media as part of their communications mix, spin and government lobbying, media convergence, blogger outreach and maintaining authenticity and a live crisis simulation. Speakers will be announced over the coming days.


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