PRFest 2016 summary

PRFest 2016 summary of your feedback.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the short feedback survey. Your feedback will help inform the 2017 festival and let me know areas for improvement.

It’s not often people are open about what could be improved but as the festival is designed to help practitioners learn, share and collaborate, I wanted practice what I preach, and give you an overview of the constructive feedback which 60 attendees gave.

According to the feedback 95% of attendees enjoyed the event. The remaining 5% will hopefully convert to 100% for next year!

Main things people liked about PRFest 2016:

  • quality of speakers and presenters and the range of topics – in particular enjoyed the tools, workflow and strategic sessions
  • spending time with industry peers and seeing a varied mix of practitioners from across Scotland and from different sectors
  • the process of booking, seeing who was speaking and how the festival developed
  • the location was central
  • there was an informal and relaxed atmosphere
  • the option for half day, full day or two day tickets
  • 85% of respondents were happy to keep the days to a Thursday and Friday
  • 86.67% liked the format, 10% were indifferent and 3.33% said they’d like to change the format to have more breaks, case studies, working groups and have the option to move around different sessions

Things which can improve going forward:

  • better choice of lunch
  • more snacks arrival, morning and afternoon
  • more breaks for networking and digesting sessions
  • website could work better on mobile
  • cut down the longer sessions
  • start the day later e.g. 10am and finish earlier e.g. 4pm
  • more toilets
  • afternoon toilet refresh
  • people asking questions should use the microphone provided for those at the back to hear
  • consistent quality of speakers
  • an afternoon re-cap of the morning and formal welcome to afternoon attendees
  • better social activity to promote the event and content
  • speakers were sharing opinions and some attendees didn’t agree
  • better briefing of panel sessions or mentoring those less experienced speakers
  • split up the ‘heavier’ sessions so they aren’t back to back
  • better descriptions of sessions and earlier release of programme timings


PRFest 2016

Getting the best out of the festival

As an industry, we could have discussed and debated more. A few people mentioned this in their feedback. I agree. The festival has always set out to help people learn, share and collaborate. There was a lot of learning, sharing and collaborating at PRFest 2016. In 2017 I’d like to look at integrating this is more sessions.

The festival is not biased and independent of organisations and politics. PRFest 2016 was curated in such a way to stimulate discussion and debate, not necessarily give you ‘the answer’ on a plate. Just because a speaker has a certain opinion or runs their business a certain way, doesn’t mean everyone will agree. Naturally they won’t! This is certainly the forum for these wider discussions and debates. But yet, whilst people take different things away from these sessions, unless you put up your hand and ask a question or even challenge what someone is saying, there will be no debate or discussion. You have to take part to get the most out of your experience. We need people to share best practice, too. Who’s doing it well, what can they share and how can we learn?

Practitioners in Scotland perhaps need to be more vocal and rather than being the ‘horse led to water’, perhaps we need to figure things out ourselves? How can this be translated into developing sessions at the festival where we can do this?


PRFest 1 SA

Was PRFest 2016 a success?

The first year of the festival has been successful. There are always things to improve and given it was the first year of the festival there are bound to be learnings – especially as our industry is moving at a fast pace.

The festival was developed out of research conducted within the Scottish PR community. 19 people responded to a call for input and I researched other industry events which had taken place. With the database growing and with your feedback, this will help things move forward. Next week I’ll be emailing speakers, attendees and others asking for input for next year. I’ve set up a Google Sheet for everyone to feed into. I’d like people to give it some thought and speak to peers and teams to ensure we’re getting a varied opinion.

The speakers will continue to include an international and home element. It’s important we put into perspective where we are at and include other disciplines in marketing and digital. Again, you can feed into this.

I’ll be following up this blog post with a post on diversity. From the feedback, the diversity panel really got people wound up! I suppose it’s a better reaction than not caring and not responding at all. Keep an eye out.

Some of you have been asking about Whitespace, our venue partner. Whitespace are an Edinburgh-based creative agency – they just so happen to have an awesome space in their basement! Check out their website here.


PRFest 1 SAThe student helpers at the festival weren’t Whitespace staff. They had responded to a call I put out through various PR/comms course networks, to help out at the festival and also to learn from some of the sessions taking place. They did a sterling job and two have also asked to come back next year! Laura Hamilton, who was writing copious amounts of notes at the front, is helping to write a rough draft of the crowdsourced e-book. The e-book will be developed so we have a marker of what we discussed and what we noted as challenges and opportunities. We can then revisit in 2017.

I think that’s it for now!

As always, feel free to get in touch with me directly to discuss or have a chat.

Thanks for reading. Please share this post with anyone you think may have enjoyed it.

Blog post by Laura Sutherland