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26th Nat’l Public Relations Congress set, focuses on trends, issues, and challenges

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26th Nat’l Public Relations Congress set,
focuses on trends, issues, and challenges


Spurred by the goal of elevating the practice of public relations (PR) in the country, this year’s National Public Relations Congress set in September at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City will focus on current trends, issues and challenges faced by the industry.

The Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), the nation’s premier organization for public relations professionals, is organizing the event for September 24-25, 2019 with the discussions centered on the theme, “Amplify.”

PRSP President Andy Saracho explained that the chosen theme aims to initiate a conversation on communication, PR and related issues that challenge industry practitioners at a time most Filipinos being active social media users and therefore very much involved in social narratives.

Saracho said this leaves PR practitioners increasingly hard-pressed to find the balance between engaging their publics enough, particularly on the digital platform, and getting entangled in issues that could harm brands and clients.

“On one hand, you have consumers that demand brands participate in social narratives. But when brands do, they either do it right or fall on the wrong side of history. On the other hand, there’s a huge number of organizations that remain apprehensive, probably cowed by consumers’ aggressiveness and the country’s predominantly conservative culture,” he said.

To cite an example, while some brands have had success riding on wokeism and similar causes supported by millennials and the Gen Zers — the biggest demographics today — and tackling issues such as gender and environmentalism in their campaigns, many are reluctant or do not know how to proceed with caution.

Putting the spotlight on these issues and amplifying the discussions will be the main highlight of this year’s PR Congress, which brings together local and international industry leaders to headline its roster of high-caliber speakers. More than 300 PR professionals are expected to attend the event.

Ana Pista, vice president of PRSP and chairwoman of the 26th National PR Congress, said the aim is to equip PR professionals with the right approach to navigating such polarized conversations. “These issues are being talked about in the digital sphere, with articles and maybe videos here and there. What we envision for the Congress is to have industry leaders and communication professionals together and talk about these issues on a magnified platform,” she said.

Pista said the PRSP sees this year’s congress as the appropriate forum to calibrate the local industry vis-a-visglobal PR practices. High-caliber international speakers headline the talks to provide practitioners with insights on best practices, trends and developments outside the country. Local industry experts will then present the state of public relations in the Philippines.

With global and local PR landscapes as backdrop, the congress will look into timely issues such as measuring PR success, the right and wrong way of managing a crisis, building thought leadership, and penetrating the startup market.

The two-day conference will also seek to: (a) address industry misconceptions that put the industry and the PR professionals in bad light; and (b) position public relations as a viable profession. “We hope not just to equip the current crop of young PR professionalswith the tools that they need but also to inspire them to be proud of their chosen field,” said Pista.

With the aim to bring PR practices and standards in the Philippines to a higher level and stand head-to-head with neighboring countries and the rest of the world, PRSP eyes to present an industry roadmap at the end of the two-day congress. “We hope that our conversations in the 26th PR Congress will lead us to a 2024 Philippine PR Roadmap that we can use to navigate us to where we should be over the next five years, or even beyond,” Saracho said.

PRSP will release its full list of agenda and roster of international and local speakers on its website and social media pages within the month.

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