CIPR’s Horizon event leads PR profession into the future

Over 200 public relations professionals and students gathered at London’s iconic Ham Yard Hotel recently to explore the evolving landscape of PR at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) Horizon event.

Headline sponsored by Notified – the world’s only communications platform for public relations, investor relations, and event experiences – speakers and delegates delved into the challenges and opportunities faced by the industry across a range of critical topics.

Alex Partridge (founder of UniLad and LadBible) and Jay Richards (Influencer and co-founder of Imagen Insights) explored the constantly changing ways younger generations are engaging with technology. Jay emphasized that Generation Alpha, those aged 8 and under, “will have stronger boundaries with social media” and that this emerging trend will force brands to pay closer attention to their social platforms in order to effectively capture their users’ attention. Whatever changes are coming, Alex notes, “the attention economy will still be there”.

The future of the industry’s resilience was explored through its diversity and approach to wellbeing. Subira Jones (Founder, The Corporate Hippie) focused on mental health in PR, challenging our understanding of work-life balance and highlighting the importance of recovering from high-pressure environments to avoid the risk of burnout. Sheeraz Gulsher (Co-founder of People Like Us) shared his journey to improve diversity and inclusion in the industry through his work campaigning for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting in the UK. “If your organisations don’t have different lived experiences, you’ll end up relying on stereotypes,” he warned when discussing the importance of PR teams being diverse.

Attendees learned more about key skills required in the industry as Katie King (Founder of AI in Business) addressed AI’s role, focusing on how its ethical integration is a step towards enhancing PR workflows rather than replacing PR practitioners. Justin Jeffreys (Head of Media Relations at ITV) shared his approach to crisis management in media PR, advising PR professionals to “avoid treating a crisis like a crisis,” emphasizing the importance of calm decision-making.

The second half of the conference focused on the topic of sustainability as Diana Verde Nieto (Co-Founder of Positive Luxury and Author, Reimagining Luxury) and Mark Shayler (Owner of Ape) each put forward their case for the role of public relations in leading innovation and disruptive thinking to challenge the status quo and promote sustainable economic growth.

Horizon provided an excellent opportunity to take that all important step back from the day to day and consider some of society’s biggest trends and challenges and how they will impact our work. The message was that the future is very much here. New ways of working, new audiences, and new technologies are not going to slow down, and public relations must adapt to them. What isn’t in question is how vital our role can be when we get it right.

Thank you to all speakers, sponsors, and attendees. It was particularly encouraging to see so many young and new faces at the event and to have such a breadth of diversity in the room. I hope everyone had a great day.

Alastair McCapra, Returning Officer and CIPR Chief Executive

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