Communication Issues Take Center Stage at 26th National Public Relations Congress

Spurred by controversies brands and organizations across the globe face and the growing need to elevate the communication profession in the country, the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), the country’s premier organization for public relations professionals, anchors this year’s National Public Relations Congress on current trends and issues in the industry to explore where to take it next.

Set for September 24 and 25, 2019 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the 26th National PR Congress has the theme Amplify, hoping to bring communication and industry issues that challenge many organizations out into the open. This year’s congress brings together local and international industry leaders to headline its roster of high-caliber speakers.

Amplifying Communication Issues

The Philippines, according to PRSP, is experiencing a volatile communication climate. Industry leaders point at Filipinos’ hyper-involvement in social narratives and the country’s generally conservative culture as two biggest factors that intimidate and halt brands from engaging in polarized discussions.

“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,” said Andy Saracho, PRSP president.

The rise of wokeism, communication experts say, has had many organizations’ backs against the wall. Although a few prominent brands have successfully engaged in social narratives such as gender issues and environmentalism, the number of failed attempts and the apparent indifference to social causes can be cause for alarm.

This year’s PR congress, according to Ana Pista, chairwoman of the 26th National PR Congress, aims to equip PR practitioners with the right approach to navigating such polarized conversations. Pista noted that these communication issues have been talked about across the digital space. “You got pro tips articles and maybe videos here and there. It is, however, the first time to house industry leaders and communication professionals together and talk about these issues on a magnified platform,” she added.

PRSP further notes that while many congresses have been mounted, not one has brought political correctness, for instance, on the table with larger audience and substantially talked about it. “These issues are deemed elephants in the room. Communication professionals know they exist. They feel the necessity to talk about them, but no one has been brave enough to initiate the conversation. We need to beam a brighter spotlight on these issues, and this PR Congress will do just that,” Saracho said.

Right from Industry Leaders: Elevating the Profession and the Industry

With more than 300 PR professionals and communication practitioners expected in attendance, PRSP sets this year’s congress as the right forum to calibrate the entire industry against global PR practice. H

igh-caliber international speakers headline the talks to provide practitioners with insights on best practices, trends and developments outside the country. Local industry experts are also expected to present the state of public relations in the Philippines.

Beyond providing attendees with benchmarks for understanding global and local PR landscapes, the congress will look into measurement of PR success, crisis management and industry-wide challenges such as building thought leadership, penetrating the startup market and regional communication.

The two-day conference will also seek to address industry misconceptions. “Very prominent is that PR professionals are a bunch of spindoctors or truth spinners when in truth we aim to aid brands and organizations in getting their truths out there,” said Pista.

With growing demand for communication professionals, industry leaders see the congress as the perfect forum to position public relations as a viable profession. ”We hope not just to equip current practitioners with the tools that they need but also to inspire them to be proud of their chosen field,” said Saracho.

To bring the PR practice in the Philippines to new heights 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. “As an offshoot of calibrating Philippine PR with the global practice, PRSP will release its 2024 Philippine PR Roadmap, which will guide us in elevating our profession and the entire industry,” said Pista.

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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ABOUT THE PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF THE PHILIPPINES

The Public Relations Society of the Philippines is the country’s premier organization for public relations professionals with dedicated programs in professional development and continued learning, PR excellence, student PR education, social outreach and partnerships with institutions. Annually, it confers the Anvil Awards, the Oscar of PR in the country and holds the National PR Congress in September, the National PR Month.

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