PRFest 2018 round-up part 2

After a fabulous influencer dinner on the first night, everyone was back at the ECCI for day two of PRFest.

Many of the people who attended on day one, were back, plus we were joined by more people and of course, new speakers.

The second day was once again about ‘putting the human back into public relations’.

Mindset and honesty

Entrepreneurial Spark kicked off the day with a session on mindset. Chair, Lucy-Rose Walker and Non-exec Director, Gayle Mann gave an excellent session to set us up for the day. Key takeaways – get out of your own way and you can’t do it… yet. Focussing on developing our own mindset will help us evolve and in return will help our businesses and clients. The same old thinking delivers the same old results!

John Brown, was next up and was brutally honest. His compelling presentation was all about being honest, authentic and about gaining trust. The three principles John discussed were; vulnerability, commitment and accountability.

One example comes to mind. KFC. When it ran out of chicken. John talked about the approach the brand took to make light of the situation, the FCK branding, and keep customers abreast of what was happening. Genius.

People. It’s our business

I was keen for there to be a session around people in PR and how we can build quality teams. When Emma Leech pitched her idea about “harnessing people power in PR”, it the nail on the head.

Her badger and amaretto musing was just the ticket for a giggle, but then Emma went on to talk about how she has built her award-winning team and developed new services as a result of the effectiveness of the #LBorofamily. Emma’s top tips included; building belief, leading from the front, encouraging advocacy, being generous, sharing, being open and simply saying please and thank you.

Your choice of discussion – un-conference style

New to the programme this year, you submitted discussion suggestions and voted on the day. In the end, attendees had a list of discussion points and worked at their tables on the points that mattered most to them.

Topics included:

  1. How to get maximum impact from each piece of content.
  2. Ageism.
  3. Influencing senior leaders and making communications a strategic management issue when you’re not on the board.
  4. Getting the most out of agencies.
  5. Gender pay gap.
  6. Expanding freelance offering by growing company.
  7. How do we deliver more quality pieces of coverage that really have an impact on our audiences. Are there any quick wins?
  8. How to engage with bloggers in a way that is ethical and has value for the organisation. What does the Elle Derby scandal say about the blogging community?
  9. We have great success with the tried and tested model of using the package of a media release, case study, statistics and celeb but this approach gets stale for the team. How can we come up with new and creative ways of getting our message across?
  10. Influencing senior leaders/the board, when you’re not on the board.
  11. Meaningful CPD.
  12. Content planning across different comms disciplines (external and internal), and in particular how to manage this whilst being reactive.
  13. Leadership.
  14. Reputation.
  15. Women in PR.
  16. Internal communication.
  17. Sole practitioner/freelance.
  18. The creative process in the digital era.

Data sprints

After a break, it was great to welcome Andrew Smith back to PRFest, this time to do three sprints, showing us the effectiveness of Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Data Studio.

As with any activity we do in PR and communication, there must be goals. Andrew highlighted to the importance of setting goals on Google Analytics and tying it in with other elements of the campaign. Goals and values = meaningful evaluation!

As ever, there wasn’t enough time to get right into the detail. I’m thinking of asking Andrew back to run a full day training session. You can register your interest here for any training that PRFest will be organising.

Social networking platforms

I was up next, sharing my experience in enterprise social networking platforms. I used an example from a membership organisation which I helped develop and launched last year. my top tips included: defining the problem you’re trying to solve, what you want to achieve, research and development, testing, developing guidance and tools for users, a phased launch and the leadership team leading the way in using the platform.

Communicating sustainability

Following this whistle-stop tour, our final speaker, Betsy Reed joined the floor to talk about communicating sustainability.

Communicating sustainability is no longer an option. One third of consumers buy from brands they believe are doing social and environmental good. Betsy said there is a $996billion opportunity for brands demonstrating their green credentials.

Public relations and communication practitioners have a key strategic role to play, to help organisations communicate their sustainability. Doing it badly, in an unauthentic way, carries risk. If we ask the right questions and apply the right skills, we can push on with our sustainable messaging and keep learning.

That’s a wrap for PRFest 2018.

For all the PRFest speaker slides, visit the Slideshare account here. Subscribe while you are there!


Headline sponsor, PRCA

Sponsor, The PR Cavalry

Venue partner, ECCI

Student trainees, Taylor Bennett Foundation and Monica Dunne


Loved the PRFest community vibe? Announcement for new initiative, 2 July – keep your eyes peeled! Limited availability for pilot.

PR and coding taster event, 20 September. Link here. 11 spaces left.

Want some tailored training for you and or your team? Please get in touch to see how I can help.