Message from the IPRA President: July August 2016


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A Golden Day

In early July, the judges for the IPRA Golden World Awards convened in Brussels for the final round of the 2016 judging. Determining the winners of 60 GWA categories, as well as the winners of IPRA’s Grand Prix and the United Nations Award, the IPRA judges spent the greatest part of the working day in their teams. To the casual observer of the teams’ deliberations, the discussions about the relative merits of the eligible entries were often intense. Besides applying objective professional standards, judges inevitably bring along their personal convictions and, probably, biases as well. It is this combination that makes for interesting discussions afterwards, when winners were determined, and judges found time to reflect with one another on the characteristics of this year’s entries.

 

Social media and GWA

The integrated use of social media in communications campaigns has been a mainstay for several years in the GWA entries. This year saw a marked rise in using cross-media approaches, including innovative and creative use of video or animation, such as motion graphics. In addition, robust results measurement has become a fixed part of most if not all entries that were judged. Measuring the effectiveness and value of public relations campaigns has witnessed a significant improvement, both in methodology and reporting. The GWA categories allow though for much more than measuring marketing PR, and in this regard is was a positive sign that those entries made use of AMEC’s Integrated Evaluation Framework.

 

More than column inches

Coincidentally, IPRA member and widely-respected academic Toni Muzi Falconi helpfully pointed me recently to an interview with Jim Macnamara, professor of public communication, University of Technology Sydney, who contributed to the theoretical underpinning of the Integrated Evaluation Framework. Academics, says Macnamara in the interview, need to stay engaged with practitioners in the PR industry, “because robust evaluation research is not used in PR practice generally”. Macnamara continued to point out that very few practitioners read the findings of academic research, and many industry organizations do not invite academic researchers to their conferences as presenters.

 

Global progress

So, while there is obviously still a way to go, the 2016 IPRA GWA winners do show that progress is being made in integrating varied research perspectives, adopting measuring models already in practice and applying an integrated evaluation of paid, earned, shared, and owned media and communication. This positive trend is further enhanced by the geographic spread of GWA winners, showing an increase in entries from previously lesser-represented regions such as Africa and the Middle East. In 2016, IPRA initiated cooperation with the PROBA Russian awards scheme which resulted in increased entries from Russia this year. We are actively pursuing further similar cooperation, both to enhance the representativeness of the GWA and to promote best of practice in the profession.



Winners and members – come to the GWA gala in Doha!

I am aware this message reaches you in the Northern Hemisphere summertime. Still, even if for many your thoughts might be elsewhere, I must nudge your attention towards later this year. On 5 November IPRA’s 2016 GWA Gala will take place in Doha, Qatar. It is the first time that the GWA Gala visits the Gulf region. For PR professionals it is an excellent occasion to network with professional colleagues from this part of the world where PR has been growing hugely over recent years.

 

Additionally, those of you who join us in Doha, whether you are GWA winners or not, will be introduced to a unique level of hospitality as IPRA’s Board member Jassim Fakhroo has repeatedly promised. On behalf of IPRA’s leadership team, I will be honored to welcome you to the 2016 GWA Gala.

 

All the relevant information regarding how to reserve for the Gala is on IPRA’s website at www.ipra.org .

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