PRAXIS 2017: WE visits the Pink City
Trumpet fanfare and the beat of drums announced the start of PRAXIS6 – India’s largest annual PR conference, as 600 local and international industry experts descended on Jaipur, Rajasthan – fondly known as the ‘Pink City’ – for a two-day summit to learn, engage and share insights on the global public relations and corporate communications industry.
Hosted in the palatial Rajputana-style Fairmont Jaipur hotel, the sixth edition of PRAXIS focused on the integration of content, creativity and community, and as an I&A manager with WE, I was keen to discover the people and topics making our industry tick.
Highlights from Day 1 included a session by John Saunders, Global CEO, FleishmanHillard, who spoke about “Staying True to the Calling of Communications” and Rob Flaherty, Global CEO, Ketchum who discussed “What it takes to be a Fearless and Fast Communicator”. Both industry heavyweights spoke passionately about integrity and clarity of thought gained from starting with “Why?” as key long term differentiators.
The highlight of Day 2 was WE’s Global COO Jen Granston Foster discussing our Brands in Motion research, which set the tone for a conversation with Gaurav Bhaskar, Google India Communications on the accelerated environment brands operate in, and how harnessing the motion of your brand is so important. Although I’m slightly biased here, Jen’s session on Brands in Motion was definitely one of the summit’s more informative talks, providing actionable recommendations instead of leaving the audience asking, “this is good information, but what to do I do with it?”
The conference ended with the very inspiring talk by Padmashri awardee (fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India) Arunachalam Muruganathanam, inventor of the low cost sanitary pad machine aimed at transforming the lives of millions of women across the developing world.
Some key takeaways:
Analytics is the future
In fact, analytics and artificial intelligence-driven decision making is the future. Increasingly, companies are moving towards using analytics, data science and machine learning for targeted communications, away from a ‘carpet-bombing’ approach. Forrester Research predicts that insight-driven businesses will steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less informed peers by 2020. The message was clear: adapt or perish.
The changing role of non-traditional influencers
People trust information shared by friends and contacts on social media a lot more than owned brand content. With more people picking up news and information from social outlets, non-traditional influencers will play a big role in the future of PR. WE’s Stories in Motion research also backs this claim, finding consumers are more likely to take recommendations from peers, family and friends, driving an increase in shares of product information.
Collaboration is key
Not just outside of the organization, but your ability to network and collaborate within an organization will determine how far you go.
In summary, PRAXIS6 featured an insightful lineup of speakers – with four global CEOs (besides WE’s Jen Granston Foster) speaking on varied topics of relevance to the PR industry – Brands in Motion, Analytics, Augmented Reality, Reputation Management, being relevant and fearless, you name it.
See you at PRAXIS7 2018 in Hyderabad, India!
UPDATE: Speaking Truth to Power on World Press Freedom Day