IPRN held its annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico

November 7, 2023


The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Public Relations Agencies Network (IPRN) brought together around 30 agency leaders from all over the world. In the forum, it was confirmed that the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and even the Middle East share several challenges associated with global situations such as the crisis generated by inflation, the war in Ukraine and uncertainty, so there is a necessity for agencies to go to another level to protect and position the reputation of brands, in addition to generate value, developing new ideas aligned to business.

The current complexity in public relations (PR) was evidenced in the Reputation Institute’s report, which warns that 13 of the 18 industries it measures, significantly decreased their reputation score. Undoubtedly, this is a warning for the industry showing that it is time to accelerate innovation.

For Rodrigo Viana de Freitas, president-elect of the IPRN Network, “some of the most relevant discussions of the meeting were around aspects such as the role of technology and the digitalization process, in which is vital to maintain humanization, because without leaders like those of the IPRN member agencies, it is impossible to help organizations”.

In this same line, the meeting, which was attended by experts from Europe, North America, India and the Middle East, to mention a few regions, had as its main objective to raise the best practices in public relations and communications, where trends were identified that will be vital for the PR, the human talent behind it and the organizations that make it up, to take actions in line with the needs of the XXI century:

  1. ‘Data driven’ strategies: Technology has impacted the great majority of industries and forced them to change paradigms and the way they did things to implement practices that will lead them to achieve results.  From this approach, Sergio Gutiérrez, CEO of the Latin American Analytics Center -CALA Analytics-, said: “Information and its analysis are the key to create better and different forms of storytelling, because it allows us to tell stories with more detail and accuracy”. In this way, nowadays data is like water: clear, transparent and accessible to everyone, which is why organizations should orient their strategies and decisions according to data to ensure better results.

So, it is worth remembering: in such complex times, decisions can save an organization, so it will be better for communications strategies to be based on data analysis to be more accurate and powerful.

  1. Digitalization and omnichannel: It continues to gain followers and increase its diversity, as new channels of communication and information have emerged, proof of this, is the emergence of ecosystems such as the Metaverse, which, according to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence (BI), represents a business opportunity of $ 500 billion. During the event, Alberto José Guevara, Manager of Infobip Colombia, indicated that the success of a communications or marketing campaign is not only based on being present in all channels (omnichannel), but also on knowing how to unify them, so that efforts are directed to the same objective and are more easily achieved.
  2. Public relations on crisis times: Contingencies are a fact of life, clearly, there are companies where they are more frequent than in others; this brings challenges to have updated protocols. In addition, we must understand that communications do not leverage brands beyond a particular crisis, they were a driving force in the sectors for the reactivation, for example, of tourism, making known all the strategies promoted by the industry so that travelers would return to the regions.

For example, Francisco Vergara, Director of ProColombia’s Regional Office in Cartagena, explained how they used communication elements such as webinars and virtual events to publicize the step-by-step process of opening up tourism, which was a successful communications strategy with different stakeholders, as well as contributing to improving the country’s image abroad.

Focus on human talent

During the event, an extremely relevant point was discussed, and that is human talent. The different positions reached a conclusion: in PR, employees must be motivated, prepared and empowered. For example, if you want to take advantage of the Data Driven trend, you must have people within the agencies who are capable of using information and data, but who are not only experts in Big Data, they must have deep knowledge of brand communication, the digital environment and the media universe. The question is, are PR experts trained to handle data or vice versa?

On the other hand, Nicolás Lira, HR Manager at Pepsico, stated that, after events such as Covid-19, organizations must adapt to new labor challenges, since trends such as burnout and silent resignation are directly affecting employees and this has an impact on the communications and reputation of an organization.

Rodrigo Viana de Freitas of Portugal, president-elect of the network, said: “It is a great pride to lead such a talented network with an effective presence in five continents, so it is important for me to continue working to embrace new countries, attract partnerships, develop knowledge and bring international business to member agencies. I believe we have the potential to be the largest Communications Agency Network in the world and this represents an opportunity for new business for everyone, including our clients”.

During 3 days, the CEOs of agencies around the world analyzed trends in communications, public relations and marketing in order to face the needs of the 21st century.

Share via: