Viva Peru!

10 years, 10 months ago


A personal report from Richard Linning on IPRA World Congress XIX in Lima, Peru 1/3 June 2010.

The Inca called them the chasqui. One of their tasks was to carry oral and recorded messages, encoded in knotted cord quipu, along the 40,000 kilometres of the Inca road system, which provided access to the three million square kilometres of Inca territory. Today, six hundred public relations chasqui are carrying a simple message from IPRA World Congress XIX in Lima, Peru back to their thirty-nine countries – the global public relations community is united in striving to achieve high standards of best practice.

I’ve gotten a lot of ideas, the local input was very interesting – meeting people, making contacts was very good
Begona Vereau - Peru

In forty-five sessions spread over three days the Congress addressed subjects ranging from the power of public relations in the business environment to full spectrum engagement, heard first hand case studies on subjects as diverse as Saudi Aramco’s seventy-seven years of corporate citizenship experience, public relations in the Peruvian extractive industry, Coca Cola – the Happiness Factory and even a branding campaign for pork, El Cerdo es Bueno, which successfully countered the notion that the plump pink pig is the black sheep of meats. And, of course, networked.

A very important event which brought the people of South America together
Patricia D’Avila – Brazil

A common thread

One thread that ran consistently through the congress presentations was the need for public relations practitioners to adopt a more strategic approach to campaigns. To exploit to the full what Jon Higgins of Ketchum referred to as the simple power of connecting and Bob Grupp of the Institute for Public Relations urged, embedding the values of collaboration across communication disciplines and with the business, financial and political communities.

So many youngsters from so many communication disciplines keen to learn and integrate public relations into their work
Dr Ajit Pathak – India

The challenge of measuring results is one faced daily by all in our industry. Ana Tkalac Veric (University of Zagreb, Croatia) appealed for standardised measurement. Yanina Budkin (World Bank) demonstrated the methodology the Bank applies in Latin America and the Caribbean to elaborate result-orientated communication strategies. Latin American political consultant Mark Klugman provided an ironic counterpoint with his contention that the science of victorious electoral campaigns should be applied to corporate public affairs programmes and, in those, there is only one measurement of success – whether you have won or not.

Brought South American practitioners and academics out of their separate worlds and exposed them to the world.
Marianna Jasper – Argentina

Risk mitigation

Preventative and curative approaches to risk mitigation and management public relations as described by Michael Okereke (Mike Okereke Consulting) were illustrated by the case study of the International Monetary Fund’s response to the global economic a crisis but also an opportunity as Andreas Adriano (IMF) explained which put the IMF back at the centre of developments in the global economy as the institution best positioned to lead cooperation among countries which was fundamental to weathering the financial storm. Olav Ljosne (Shell) provided a reality check with his account of dealing with kidnappings and murders in the Nigerian Delta.

Enabled us to network and share our different points of view and different realities
Cintya Ananos – Dominican Republic

Social media was of course on the agenda with contributions from both Alberto Arebalos (Google Inc) and Leonardo Ortiz-Villacorta (Microsoft Corporation) who both – not surprisingly – agreed that social media is here to stay as another means for the business world to interact with and cater to their key audiences. For Christophe Ginisty (Rumeur Publique) the communication revolution from the "one-to-many" paradigm to one of "conversations" social media has made possible had particular resonance in the political field. But as Harald Zulauf (Media Consulta) asserted, in the communication of a political brand success will only come as the result of an integrated strategy using a balanced, target group specific catalogue of tools.

Learnt about the concept of pr in other countries – their problems and our differences – which are important to know
Maryke Yustika – Indonesia

The media content problem

Social media has not meant the death of news media or media relations Gary Wells (Dix & Eaton) contended. Media are in decline because they didn’t give people what they want. The problem which has to be solved – the new business model which has to be created – is how to profitably solve the media content problem. Far from being irrelevant to today’s social media dominated environment, media relations has a key role to play in defining the new landscape.

A stimulating eye opener for practitioners to interact with the business community
Kevin Jesurun – The Netherlands Antilles

In his song Inca Road Frank Zappa posed the question "did someone/Build a place/To leave a space/For such a vehicle to land". Is it too far fetched to suggest that the organisers of IPRA World Congress XIX, the School of Communication Sciences, Tourism and Psychology, Universidad de San Martin de Porres have laid the foundation for such a place where, through the vehicle of communication, a community of South American public relations practitioners from across the continent will be created under the IPRA umbrella? I certainly hope so, and that the positive momentum in that direction created by this event is not lost.

Good to see other people from the South American public relations community and advance links between practice and academia.
Maria Alejandra Jimenez Ospina – Colombia

Copies of the presentations made at IPRA World Congress XIX will be available online at

An inspirational meeting which through networking with local people changed my perceptions about Peru and South America
Bart de Vries- Netherlands


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The Author

Richard Linning

Richard Linning, IPRA Board Member, Fellow Chartered Institute of Public Relations

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