Message from the IPRA President: After 300 days in crisis, what's next? February 2021


We had our winter break and the most lucky among us were able to recuperate in the presence of family and friends. But after over three hundred days of pandemic related crisis communications, what's next for 2021 and for IPRA?


Now more than ever we need thought leadership

I really like this definition of thought leaders by Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab. Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas. They turn ideas into reality and know and show how to replicate their success.”


The impact of both disinformation and misinformation has caused a trust deficit and increased uncertainty. Stakeholders now expect communicators to take on the roles of expert and guide. But are we equipped to fill those shoes?


An ethical foundation

To do so we need strong ethical foundations. In IPRA we can be proud of the 1965 Code of Athens now enshrined in the modernised IPRA Code of Conduct. However, I have to agree with colleague Kerry Sheehan. She recently wrote an interesting opinion piece stating that: "Ethics should not be siloed as a specialisation in public relations." In her article she goes on to ask: “How might attitudes change if, from day one, we taught consideration for ethical and social implications as an integral part of PR practice?



If public relations professionals want to take on the role of thought leader and guide, we need to integrate ethics in every step. We can only become that sorely-needed trusted source if we test our social, cultural and political impact against our ethics. Over the last 12 months we have all seen the terrible impact of wrong, unethical and even criminal communications. We have witnessed what manipulation and framing with the aim to negatively influence can do.


An IPRA resolution

And we have witnessed negative influence in its different forms and formats.  Since we now understand the impact such communications can have, let's make this year one of real thought leadership. One where we measure our performance and impact based on ethical and societal considerations. IPRA takes this aspect of our profession seriously. We do this through our work with the United Nations and by building closer ties with our academic colleagues. Science-based communication is one of those aspects which will empower us to make the right ethical decisions in a changing world.


Make the right ethical decisions and we become trusted and inspirational sources of change.


Philippe Borremans

President 2021


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