Copper’s Laura Cunliffe-Hall discusses key takeaways from the 2018 Comms Con event.

A whole host of communications experts came together yesterday at CommsCon, an event which focused on discussing the purpose and future of communications, whilst panels of journalists, communications experts and academics shared case studies and offered practical best practice tips.

Here are our five key takeaways:

  • Increasing integration between disciplines changes storytelling – Tamara Bennett, Head of Media Relations at Virgin, emphasised that communications is all about strong storytelling, rather than the channels used to tell a communications ‘story’. Rather than PR for PR’s sake, the reach of communications outputs needs to be measured, so that we can examine the effectiveness of content on existing audiences and use this to approach those who are yet to be engaged.
  • Research is integral to campaign success – The keynote speech from Sir Craig Oliver, Senior Managing Director at Teneo Blue Rubicon and former Director of Communications to David Cameron, highlighted the need for agencies to carry out appropriate research. Oliver cited insufficient short-term qualitative research for the failure of Theresa May’s 2017 election campaign, negatively contrasting this to the tried and tested approach for David Cameron’s re-election which rested on four years of quantitative and qualitative research.
  • Crisis management needs a human response – Jenny Packwood, Head of Brand Engagement at KFC, shared how the company used social media to respond to their insufficient chicken supply debacle. Packwood highlighted the importance of a proactive, human response to communications crisis situations, driven by social media, to earn back public goodwill and credibility.
  • Prove understanding of client-based content to journalists – A panel featuring journalists from Financial News and the Daily Mirror emphasised the need for media pitches to demonstrate a clear understanding and ownership of client issues. The panel suggested that communications professionals still fail to get to the heart of the issue when pitching stories, and this is what is needed to make a potential story stand out.
  • Promote internal diversity – Speakers from the London School of Economics, Vodafone and Hawthorn Advisors encouraged communications professionals to be more open in their interviewing process rather than selecting candidates ‘in their own image’. By doing so, the panel emphasised that communications would have a fresher perspective and be more likely to resonate with a wider variety of audiences.