Two years after the great conference in Helsinki, and three after the one in Oxford, we again attended the ICCO Global Summit. This year, the ICCO Global Summit was organized in Lisbon (luck, happiness, joy) and in total it is the 16th gathering organized by the International Communication Consultancy Organization with a tradition of 30 years and a presence in 66 countries. ICCO is actually the voice of PR consultants worldwide, and some of the goals of the organization, which represents 44 PR associations worldwide, include

•             Raising the standards and improving ethics in the profession

•             Increasing the visibility for role of PR 

•             better understanding of the value of PR among decision makers

This year's summit brought together more than 300 PR experts from all over the world, and the pride of our team is so much greater that we were (again) not only the only representatives from Serbia, but actually from the whole Western Balkans :). The theme of this year's conference was Transformation '19 - Talent and Technology driving PR Agenda.

If we should summarize briefly what has left the strongest impression, then it is pushing the boundaries of PR and seeing it in the context of strategic importance, not only for business but also for the advancement of the society in which we live.

Same as at the Helsinki conference, the Purpose of companies and brands was singled out as what constitutes a decision-making framework; it explains the value that the company or brand delivers and ultimately (or initially) the purpose is what attracts people. It is a way to gain the loyalty of your customers in this seismic time and is reflected in all the activities you carry out each day, the beliefs you stand for and which you clearly express. We live in the perfect storm of brands, as the survey says and what inspires customer loyalty is - Respect (360 ° Respect to be exact). And every brand and company contact with the target groups should echo their values. The same principles apply to employees. Viewed from a brand perspective, the purpose in practice is most often to nurture equality, care for the environment, and unite over-polarized societies. It is one that drives people to positive change, which is actually one of the more recent definitions of PR mentioned at the conference - the impact on individuals' behavior change that leads to positive social change.

We would also like to highlight two great lectures on this occasion.

Representatives of  Golin Agency presented the Cannes Golden Lion award winning McDonald's campaign, launched on the occasion of BigMac's 50th Anniversary. The curiosity is that the concept of the campaign came from a PR (not advertising) agency. The campaign was launched at the time of the expansion of bit coin, and the idea came from The Big Mac Index, which is published annually in The Economist magazine. One McCoin equals the value of one BigMac anywhere in the world :). A great part of the recognition were the fails the agency faced during planning and execution (such as withdrawing a series of coins due to a typo), as well as ways to overcome them.

The second and totally different presentation is the one made by Alex Aiken, Executive director of UK Government Communication Services. A very attractive lecture considering Brexit, the largest communication campaign of today. "As a civil servant, it is my job to prepare the UK public for Brexit. #GetReadyForBrexit is a UK government full-scale campaign covering everything from digital to face-to-face communication with citizens. The cost of that campaign is £ 100,000,000 to change behavior for the public good ” said Alex Aiken in his presentation. Alex has changed five prime ministers so far. He was most aware of the importance of communications, not overly skilled but also fully aware of his communication shortcomings - David Cameron, which is why he had meetings with the comms team twice a day during his tenure.

Looking at Alex Aiken's career, we cannot but admire the independence and integrity of the Government Communications Service, whose sole aim is the public good no matter which party is in power.

While you think about this we are putting full stop here. In the following text, we will tell you about topics that stood out as major themes of PR present.

Author: Olivera Petrovic, Account manager @ Chapter4PR