Category Archives: CIPR International

Maggie Nally Memorial Lecture 2019 – step inside One Great George Street

Dr David Landsman OBE is to give the keynote address at this year’s CIPR International Maggie Nally Memorial Lecture.

David’s address will draw from his extensive experience of working internationally and will cover topics such as:

  • Should PR strive to be regarded as a profession, or is there a better future to aspire to?

  • Playing with emotions – does the end justify the means?

  • Diplomacy and PR: two sides of the same coin?

This must-attend event will be held at the beautiful One Great George Street which provides the perfect backdrop for the evening with its rich neo-Palladian and Baroque interior.

One Great George Street1

The magnificent Grade 11 listed Edwardian building, in the heart of Westminster, has witnessed the filming of many movies such as Ghandi and Bridget Jones, some high profile weddings and the signing in 1945 of the UNESCO founding charter.

One Great George Street2

The Maggie Nally Memorial Lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, providing an excellent opportunity to discuss the learnings of the evening and network with fellow communication practitioners.

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With tickets for this must-attend event sold on a first-come-first-served basis, avoid disappointment and book now to secure your space. Tickets are available here.


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Statistics: Shady marketing or essential PR Partner?

By Josh GlendinningSenior Research Manager, Opinium Research

“In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on…[Yet] rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them…Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, there appears to be something almost insulting or arrogant about them. Reducing social and economic issues to numerical aggregates and averages seems to violate some people’s sense of political decency.” William Davies, The Guardian, 17 October 2017

For a research agency such as mine, William Davies’ Guardian article last year made for concerning reading. The argument that statistics no longer retain their power as an authoritative and neutral arbiter, agreed upon and respected by all, is a challenge to the entire research industry.

Josh Glendinning

But the implications are no less profound for those working in public relations. At its heart, communications is built on trust: trust in the sincerity of the communicator; trust in a set of common beliefs and standards; trust in the receptiveness of the audience.

For communications, research has traditionally been a way to build trust and mitigate against accusations of bias. Brands and organisations have used research to give themselves permission to speak, to build their reputation on a subject, or to dispel common myths.

So the obvious question is how and why this has shift come about? Certainly, familiarity breeds contempt, and the proliferation of data and statistics over the past decade has led to public fatigue at best and outright cynicism at worst. Meanwhile, those who prize short-term AVE and RoI above all else have not helped this situation through the publication of poor quality and misleading ‘stats-bombs’.

On the other hand, clients and stakeholders are increasingly demanding that communications campaigns are guided by rigorous insights and measured according to more exacting data. We are told that data is the new oil and that it offers previously unimaginable ways to understand the world.

But the hyperbole evident in both these positions is the problem itself. Are statistics, data and research untrustworthy and elitist? No. But are they able to provide comprehensive and definitive answers to the most difficult issues in the world? Again, no.

Research and communications have much in common and much to learn from one another.

image008Research is a tentative endeavour aimed at illuminating certain parts of the world around us. The best research projects don’t provide definitive answers, they uncover more interesting questions about a changing world.

Similarly, effective communications campaigns aren’t about shifting views once and for all. Instead, they’re about starting or joining ongoing conversations that are often dynamic and unpredictable.

But most importantly, effective research is well-communicated research, and effective communications is well-researched communication. By better understanding the importance and value of each other, research and communications can build not only trust, but a mutually beneficial partnership.

Josh will be sharing his views and insights when it comes to trust in research, communicating research and the world of new data at CIPR International’s #EthicsFest event, taking place on Thursday 25 October 2018. Tickets are available here.



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Two days in Entebbe

This blog post also appeared in Influence

By Andras Sztaniszlav

Being the ViceChair of CIPR International, it is always great to get invited to PR events outside of London or even in the UK. At this time, it was in East Africa.

I got off with mixed feelings at the one and only international airport of Uganda a couple of weeks after watching 7 days in Entebbe.

As a comms professional, I am aware films can be real opinion leaders (btw it is a great strategic communication tool, as well) and this one had evoked not really favourable impressions about the East African country.

Fortunately, the two days spent here proved to be just the opposite: interesting market, lots of lessons to be learnt, opportunities and many-many communications professionals keen on learning.

The population of the country situated between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya is around 40 million: 19 million have already internet access and 2.5 million are active social media users.

I was invited by the local PR association (PRAU) to their annual meeting and General Council elections. A larger proportion of the 150 members works on the client/corporate side. The program had been scheduled for Saturday so I was not really surprised that it started with a 1-hour delay.

In my brief welcome speech, I pointed out that as a Hungarian citizen with a Russian name… sent by a British PR association and currently staying in Rwanda I attended a conference in Uganda… The situation could not be any more international, and so is our profession. We need to be open to each other, we need to learn and share experiences while learning the characteristics of each market. Without this, we cannot communicate with our stakeholders effectively. That is the main aim for our team at CIPR International.

There was a panel discussion with nine experts (which was quite surprising for me as a regular European conference participant) moderated by Raymond Muyuni, an investigative journalist.

The experts came from diverse sectors: bank, telco, police, international NGO, so it was a tough nut, I would say… and a real trend collection: Emilian Kayima from the local police, for example, stressed the altered role of police communicators. For a couple of years now everybody has become a communicator who has a mobile phone. Therefore, the police decided to find international best practices in order to act and react properly in such ever-changing circumstances.

Trends we already might be familiar with were named after one another just like that:

  • the strategic role of PR in management
  • blurry borders between different comms disciplines
  • the growing role of digital tools and practices
  • social media is not only a huge challenge but also a great opportunity to directly talk to stakeholders (if we have a good relation or at least we know them and their expectations well we can anticipate or manage crises without much harm – as one panellist emphasized)
  • fake news, manipulation, ethical concerns
  • the importance and learning and development for junior, mid-level and senior PR people

The previous board of the association had the chance to give a report (elections take place every second year) and the new board was also elected. This time Sarah Kangingo won and she highlighted the importance and need for cooperation and expansion so that professional development programs could reach more and more comms practitioners.

Luckily, I could talk to many of the members in person, as well. A great proportion has been enrolled in international studies, many have got acquainted with PR practices in a CIPR course to become a member of the UK based association. They were keen to listen about the newest trends (IoT, AR/VR, social listening, creative storytelling, influencer marketing), ethical issues and seemed to be dedicated to learn on and on.

Our dinner and little walk at night justified the view: yes, we have things to do in a country where:

  • there are huge inequalities (glass palaces next to slums)
  • there is an enormous humanitarian challenge (more than 1 million migrants in Uganda)
  • providing basic education is the responsibility of the corporate sector as well (under the umbrella of CSR politics)
  • infrastructure firms are influential (energy, telecommunication)
  • there is a developed (and from a certain perspective still developing) business sector

and where at the same time:

  • PR professionals are open, cheerful and eager to learn
  • the association is actively seeking international relations and aim to provide learning and development opportunities for their members and introduce more and more global trends (influencer marketing digital measurement opportunities, professional methods of public affairs, tools of reputation and stakeholder management)

This is a strategic opportunity (and also responsibility) for CIPR to provide Chartered status development programs in high quality for everyone interested. My very first trip to Uganda was merely a snapshot; still, it gave me the inspiration to run for being the Chair of CIPR International and the membership of CIPR Council. Working in international communication is not simply fun and a nice opportunity but a huge responsibility, as well.

Andras Sztaniszlav started his career as a journalist, then worked for the Prime Minister’s Office in Hungary as a communications advisor. In 2005, he co-founded his PR consultancy, PersonaR which provides strategic counsel to corporations on reputation and stakeholder management, sustainability, measurement, internal and crisis communication. Andras is an Accredited Practitioner of CIPR and currently the ViceChair for CIPR International

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Call for guest bloggers

Would you like to contribute to the CIPR International blog? Do you have thought-provoking insight and views to share on international communication? If so, we’d love to hear from you – whether you have opinions on industry trends, a book review or case study, or something entirely different.

We’re always looking for engaging content on topics of interest to our members so we’re not only looking for blog posts by practitioners in communication roles. We’re also interested in hearing from professionals from other industries with relevant knowledge to share. Perhaps you work in technology and have views about how AI is going to impact the way we communicate globally? Or are you a leader with an opinion on what public relations professionals should do to be considered trusted business advisors in an international company?

Either way, if you have valuable insight to share, please have a look at our guest article guidelines and get in touch if you’re interested in contributing.

Our aim is to encourage learning and exchange ideas on international PR, so your support would help build this mutual exchange. As CIPR International is one of the largest groups of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, contributing to our blog provides a valuable opportunity for profile raising.

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About CIPR International and our members
CIPR International is one of the largest groups of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. We bring members together to discuss and learn from one another about issues facing communicators globally, and those who wish to develop their careers in an international direction.

Our members are professionals who work in global communications, either in the UK or in other countries. They come from in-house, consultancy and independent disciplines, with a wealth of multi-faceted experience.

Find out more here.

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Global Alliances, PR, and a 15 Billion Dollar Industry

A group of students from George Mason University visited the CIPR earlier this year to hear one of our committee members, Eva Maclaine FCIPR, speak about global PR practice. Here is a blog from one of the students.

By Sierra Fatlowitz

Communicating in the UK is like playing one big game of telephone for Americans. From attempting to ask for directions on the tube, to ordering a drink at a pub, you may not get quite what you asked for, and that’s okay!

The phrase, “People can be divided by a common language,” is relevant all over the world, especially while visiting new places. Generally, what we MEAN, what we SAY, and what they HEAR is often lost in translation along the way.

For Eva Maclaine, Founder of Maclaine Communications, building cross-cultural relationships is key to her success in international emerging markets. While the business is based in the UK, Maclaine Communications offers global public relations consulting services for crises, reputation management, and strategic business communications.

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With a marketplace reaching over 15 billion dollars annually, global PR is transforming the landscape of business in 2018. Eva Maclaine utilizes the acronym of ROSIE to create business plans for her clients.  Research, objectives, strategy, implementation, and evaluation are key to creating a successful public relations plan.

In research for a global market, Eva Maclaine says that is important to identify differences between local and international publics in order to create the best content tailored specifically to their interests and values.

For instance, without proper research, communicating with publics in India would prove to be quite difficult. With over 461 languages spoken, reaching a target audience in an appropriate way is important.

Eva Maclaine explained that sociocultural demographics and awareness can include things such as fashion, personal space, time, relationships, and sense of humor.

Running one universal advertisement for a car company with the tagline “Fit for a Queen” may not resonate with American customers the way it does with members of the United Kingdom.

More specifically, Eva Maclaine shared that research shows in comparison to North India, South India prefers coffee over tea. This means that publishing generic tea advertisements in India would have a difficult time reaching potential customers in South.

George Mason University student group

The George Mason University student group at the CIPR with their tutor Suzanne Mims, Eva Maclaine and Oshin Sharma from CIPR International.

Eva Maclaine stressed the importance of utilizing the right channels for who you are trying to reach. Whether your publics are Fortune 500 CEO’s or teenagers from a small farm town, there is a way to reach them efficiently and effectively, so choose wisely.

She explained that Greece surprisingly favors using more digital media daily, while Germany continues to consume traditional media such as newspapers and television. Her point was that as PR professionals, we should not assume we have explored all options, and remember to look in unusual places.

In a Q and A with George Mason University students from Virginia, Eva Maclaine said that “To be a good PR professional, you need curiosity, and you need it in spades”.

Eva Maclaine ended her session with the students by offering 4 Common Reasons For Failure:

4 common reasons for failure

Eva Maclaine is a highly respected public relations professional, founding Maclaine Communications over 20 years ago. She works closely with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations as a Fellow, Elected Member of Council, and member of CIPR International and of the Professional Practices committee.

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Sun, sea, sand …… and CPD

Web banner full widthCIPR International’s Chair, Shirley Collyer, discusses the importance of investing in your CPD during the summer break


Henry Ford once said: ‘Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.’

If you’re pursuing a career in the fast-changing world of PR it’s never been more essential to continue learning, whatever stage of your career you’re at.

The CIPR’s CPD scheme is a key tool for learning and it really puts you in the driving seat of your own career. This year the CIPR is running ‘the summer of CPD’, a series of events and webinars which should ensure you reach your CPD points – and get you on the way to become a chartered practitioner.

You might think ‘why on earth should I spend time in the summer studying or learning when I could be relaxing in the sun, attending a festival or sightseeing?’

In my view, summer is a great time to get your CPD points under your belt. I’m actually spending mine renovating an old house in rural France, so I’m spending a lot of time clearing the place, finding workmen and – the fun bit – planning a new kitchen and bathrooms. And, of course, enjoying the food and wine.

But being in the midst of refurbishing provides me with an opportunity to step back from my day-to-day work responsibilities and think. Taking out half an hour or so to listen to a webcast – I’ve just listened to the one on the GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation) – means that I can think about the potential implications for my company as well as my clients whilst I’m painting a shutter or a wall!

Summer is also a good time to take a step back and think about your career. Where do you want to be in five or ten years’ time? How can you get there? How can you reach your goals? What skills do you need to acquire and develop?

CPD can provide you a view of different areas of communication or tools that you may not use in your day to day work. If you work on media relations, delving into a case study on internal comms issues may inspire you to transition into that area of expertise, may give you the confidence to take on an internal comms project, or may simply change your view on how to approach an issue.

During the recent CIPR International Global Practice conference – which awarded CPD points – international practitioners heard fascinating insights into how digital media is changing crisis comms, how ethics differ around the world and how to effectively tackle those differences.  Hearing different views, experience and approaches certainly gave me food for thought and will, I hope, improve the advice I give to my clients. I also met a lot of great people from all over the world.

The CIPR has created some great events for the ‘Summer of CPD’ which runs between now and 25 August. If you’re working in an international environment the CIPR International committee has produced a number of webcasts on ‘doing PR in …. ‘  including UAE, Italy and Switzerland, which will give insight into those markets – and of course –  if you’re visiting those countries it’s great to learn more about the comms practices and media environment.

I’m off to paint another room …… and think further about GDPR!


By Shirley Collyer

CIPR International Chair

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Digitalis Reputation COO Charlie Bain will be speaking on crisis communications at CIPR International’s first conference – Global PRactice – on 5 May 2017.

Here, to whet our appetites, he discusses the importance of managing online reputation and pre-empting digital vulnerabilities well ahead of crisis scenarios._GET9560_x

The former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward once said: “The more you’ve thought about challenges in advance, the more you can sail through them when they happen.” This is never more applicable when it comes to crisis communications and highly prescient in the digital age.

We’ve reached an important inflexion point when it comes to the amount of information which intentionally or unintentionally ends up on the web. The arcane nature of the challenges this poses to reputation management professionals will dominate and radically re-shape the industry in the years to come. And just like most things tech – it won’t be a gradual change – it will be disruptive, it will be fast and it will redefine the comms skillset.

Sharing our business or personal lives via social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter in particular – is now an unstoppable train. It is entirely normal and in some cases necessary. Whereas ten years ago, even five years ago, it would have proved unthinkable. While we and our friends or colleagues project every aspect of our lives online, an uncontrolled narrative is created. As more and more historical paper archives about our lives get digitalised, so the picture grows. Before we know it, there is a wealth of information about us in the digital stratosphere, some we may be aware of because we posted it ourselves, but most often not.

So what –  might you say?  My personal online profiles are very much private and separate from my corporate digital footprint. But are they really?

Then the crisis occurs.

The historical, irrelevant comments made in an interview by the CEO suddenly become very relevant, indeed. A run of the mill Twitter posting from two years ago is suddenly picked through for nuance.  Worst of all, you unexpectedly and bafflingly find the CEO’s daughter or son’s Facebook picture of the family holiday on their personal yacht in Ibiza plastered on the cover of the Daily Mail. A perfectly engineered story about them – with their help – is constructed in seconds. And you, as the comms adviser, can only helplessly watch it unfold.

And this is where the inflexion point has occurred. Hostile third parties, criminals or cyber hackers and dare I say it, often journalists, can skilfully and efficiently navigate through the wealth of information online – a precious digital library at their fingertips. Yet we continue to share…

The answer isn’t to ban social media, call a halt to any interviews or live the life of a hermit. However, it does mean that for those of us reputation management advisers, it is imperative to be continually aware and possess the technological weapons and intelligence to manage the digital footprint and therewith digital vulnerabilities of your clients. It goes beyond vanilla social media and traditional monitoring and directly into the “unknown” area of deep web trawling, information extraction and big data analysis.

That is where the evolution for crisis communications and risk management is taking us –  fully pre-empting your client’s digital vulnerability, on a personal and professional level, on the indexed and unindexed web, a long way before the crisis hits.

Digital reputation mitigation is earning its place at the Board table now that the biggest issue in the board room is online risk (PWC report cybersecurity) and reputational damage is the second biggest threat (2017 Deloitte report).

Some say you have ten minutes to respond to a crisis and control it in the social media age. With an in-depth understanding of your client’s digital vulnerabilities and strengths, as Sir Clive Woodward might say, “when the waters get choppy you will be able …to sail through them far more confidently”.

Charlie Bain is the Chief Operating Officer of Digitalis Reputation, tech-powered online reputation and digital intelligence firm.

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