World Public Relations Forum

Rebecca and I have recently attended the World Public Relations Forum in Oslo, Norway. As business owners its always hard trying to head away for a period of time from the business, but at Cherry Red we do have a commitment to ongoing professional development and we felt that this conference was one we should be at. And, we weren’t wrong.

The conference had a focus on technology and social media and the impact of these changing communications tools on the business of PR professionals.

Several speakers were stand out for us in terms of their provocativeness and their embracing of new communication tools to achieve their goals.

We knew we were in for a challenging and insightful time after the first speaker, Anna Rosling Rönnlund from Gapminder who talked about their Dollar Street project. Rather than use numbers and statistics to illustrate the gap between the worlds richest and poorest, Dollar street uses imagery. They visited 264 families in 50 Countries and took 30,000 photos that can be viewed on line. Photos of living areas, kitchens and bathrooms. The result is a really powerful visual review of reality. You can check it out here www.gapminder.org/dollar-street/matrix. For me the lesson was to think about telling our stories in more visually powerful ways and using new technologies to bring that story to a wide group of people.

Continuing with the theme of story telling Morten Rostrup, a doctor with Medecins Sans Frontiers, talked about his experiences and linked them back to the increase in what he defines as a new form of tribalism. Morten believes our new social media based world has enabled us to form new and distinct tribes via social media that are so different to our previous networks formed by reality. How do we know the pages and groups we follow are a reality and not just another form of fake news?

The question of fake news came up constantly as we are exposed to communications and inputs that we have no reliable way of determining their veracity. A key comment for me was the speaker who referred to Mark Zuckerbergs country of 4 Billion followers. It was certainly a challenging few days with insights that we will bring to the table when we work with our clients and that we know will change the way we do business.