Did you attend the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) national conference yesterday?

If not, I have the top 10 takeaways for you courtesy of Advita Patel, who’s here to share what we missed. Advita has written for the All Things IC blog to reveal what she heard and what Comms pros should be aware of.

Thank you very much Advita, you can find her on Twitter @Advita_P.

I’ll hand you over…

Ten takeaways from yesterday’s CIPR national conference

On Thursday 29 November I went along to the CIPR national conference in London. I’m ashamed to say but in the all years I’ve been a member of CIPR I’ve never managed to go as it normally clashes with my annual jollies.

This year all the stars aligned, not only did my holiday end up being earlier than anticipated, but the wonderful Rachel gave me her ticket as she couldn’t make it. (I’m glad you could made good use of my ticket – Rachel). 

The agenda looked fantastic and was very different to the other comms conferences I’d been to this year, so I was excited to see what the day had in store.

Unfortunately typically it also happened to be the day the UK decided to have gale force winds, so rather than the gentle two-hour journey into Euston, it took me 4.5 hours via a pit stop at Stoke.

Inspirational speakers
However, it was worth every minute of painful travel as the day was just fabulous.  I heard from speakers who were inspirational, passionate and full of enthusiasm for what they do.

The theme of the day was Accountable Leadership and Social Purpose and that’s exactly what each speaker covered, which in itself was a breath of fresh air.

I missed the first hour but I managed to catch up via the #CIPRConf18 hashtag which was trending all day!

I took so many notes but here are my top 10 takeaways from the day

1. “We live in an uncertain world and organisations need to move towards a social purpose,” a very valid statement made by John O’Brien from ONE HUNDRED who kicked-off the conference on encouraging us to look at the ‘why’ behind the purpose, as well as the where and the how. The purpose is the ‘why’, the mission is the ‘what’ and the vision is the ‘where’ or the change you want to make

2. John also shared some really interesting facts: 60% of Millennials want to join companies or organisations with a purpose. 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from more socially responsible companies. 84% of execs believe an organisation with a shared purpose will be more successful in its performance during transformation and periods of change.

3. Molly Aldridge, Public Relations from Saatchi followed John and spoke about accountable leadership and the five attributes needed: Smart and connected, Empathetically listening, Passionate, Leading with head, heart and gut, Being bold.

4. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” wise words from Molly who shared Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and spoke about empowering your team so they become brand ambassadors for your organisation and live the values of your organisation.

5. Katie Macaulay from AB led on a fascinating breakout session about exploring the convergence of internal and external communications: “Traditional models of employment are becoming obsolete. Work is now a thing we do, rather than a place we go. Internal communications is now being taken out of the workplace and IC pros need to keep up!” I couldn’t agree more with this statement made by Katie.


6. “Fix the fundamentals and have a mission and purpose!” said Josh Hardie from CBI in his talk about speaking up and the value of business. A purpose helps you answer why the business is there. You can’t always be a klaxon but you can certainly amplify your messaging if it’s done right. Listen to what your employees are saying, use the right language and have the right people to talk about ‘it’ – it can be very powerful for change.

7. Jonny Dymond , BBC journalist gave an absolutely fascinating talk about “Can Britain Lead?” – his answer? No, Why and Yes! He explains that Britain’s reputation has changed over the years and we’ve moved away from gunships on shores to more soft power. Narrative is much harder to control as powerful new technologies enable anyone to report from anywhere these days. Need to acknowledge that Britain is getting old and fatigued, we cannot lead like we used to or tell others what to do but with this soft power we have better strength and new style of leadership.

8. 12-15 year olds are more likely to have heard of Youtube or Netflix rather than the BBC or ITV. A shocking fact by Ian Macrae from OFCOM who shared some fascinating data about consumer behaviour in a constantly connected world.

The landscape on where people get their news is changing, most rely on Social Media to get their news, yet most don’t trust Social Media as a new source. A debate is currently underway to determine whether regulation is needed to protect us from Fake News.

9. “We’re all focussed on Brexit but we’re sleepwalking into an environmental crisis. From deforestation to plastics and palm oil!” the very powerful opening line from Richard Walker, MD of Iceland Foods. (A supermarket chain here in the UK).

Richard went on to explain the work Iceland is doing to reduce plastics and eradicate palm oil from their own-branded products. Here is their banned Christmas 2018 advert highlighting the issues with Palm Oil which has received 65million views:.

He acknowledged that there is a still lot to do but they are proud to take the lead and encourage others to take action.

10. Richard ended his brilliant presentation on things we all need to do to make a difference:

  • Never underestimate what you can achieve
  • Be curious
  • Be decisive
  • Be courageous
  • Don’t fear failure
  • Listen to other people’s views and respect them
  • Be open to collaboration
  • Make it personal to you
  • Be prepared for personal criticism
  • Be clear about the end game

– very wise words for all communicators to take on board.

This is such a small snippet of what I experienced yesterday and these words can’t really do it justice. Next year’s conference will be held on 13 November and I highly recommend you save the date – I’ll certainly me rearranging my holiday plans!

Post author: Advita Patel.

Thank you very much Advita. Don’t forget you can see upcoming events via my Events Calendar to discover what’s on.

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First published on the All Things IC blog 30 November 2018.

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