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PRCA National Conference 2018: Embracing Change


21 Sep 2018





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The modern world is challenged by developments across many lines: ethics, disruptive technologies, data analytics, misinformation, transparency, GDPR, Brexit, and much much more.

Many of these developments have put communications in the spotlight and have challenged the role played by the PR and communications practitioner.

Professional communicators will be handed even more opportunities and threats in this new future. So how do we take action? And is there a role for us to reconsider the social value and purpose of PR in light of these changes?

Chaired by PRCA Chairman Steffan Williams MPRCA, with special insights developed by the PR and Communications Council, the PRCA National Conference will shine a light on what the future holds.

Event Type: Conference

Address: BAFTA, London, W1J 9LN

Event Overview

Join us at the leading UK PR and communications conference.





Welcome Address: Steffan Williams MPRCA, Chairman, PRCA; and Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA


KEYNOTE: Rachel Friend MPRCA, CEO, UK and Ireland, Weber Shandwick

Rachel Friend is responsible for Weber Shandwick’s network of offices across the UK, as well as the day-to-day running of the London office. Rachel has 20+ years experience, predominantly in consumer marketing, but also in social purpose and corporate responsibility campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including Centrica, HSBC and Nespresso. Prior to joining Weber Shandwick, Rachel was Head of Consumer PR for British supermarket Sainsbury’s.


KEYNOTE: Michael Frohlich MPRCA, CEO, Ogilvy Group UK

Redefining the Integrated Agency Model: Ogilvy’s Journey to New Ways of Working, for a New World

In the midst of an increasingly disruptive, fast-moving business and marketing landscape, agencies and brands have to adapt to remain at the cutting-edge of these emerging trends. Join Ogilvy UK’s new Chief Executive Michael Frohlich, as he uncovers the agency’s transition into a new integrated business model, looking to redefine its offering for clients and talent of today’s media landscape.


KEYNOTE: Sue Garrard, SVP Sustainable Business Development and Communications, Unilever

Purpose – is it just the Latest Fad or can it Make a Difference?

Sue Garrard will be outlining the issues around failing trust, the dilemmas of running a business in a hyper-transparent world, and how to avoid feeling in freefall with a corporate narrative. Then she will look at what works in practice and some of the pitfalls of becoming more purpose-led. Sue joined Unilever in January 2011 as SVP Global Communications. In June, it was announced that she would be leaving Unilever.


The Kantar Media panel discussion: Is PR Punching its Weight in Today’s Wider Communications Mix?

Today’s marketing, PR, and communications leaders are faced by an ever increasing range of channels and communication formats (paid, owned and earned) through which to reach their audiences. Kantar research demonstrates the multiple touchpoints consumers are using today to inform their opinions of brands and, ultimately, their purchase decisions. In this context, what role should PR be playing in the overall communications mix to have a positive impact on its audience?

Marcus Gault, Managing Director, Reputation Intelligence, Kantar Media, will chair a panel of speakers exploring the role of PR relative to alternative communication formats in influencing consumers in their purchase journey, and explore what role it has throughout the funnel, from driving awareness through to purchase decisions. 


Jo-ann Robertson MPRCA, Partner and CEO, London, Ketchum

Jon Hughes FPRCA, Global CEO, Golin

Lou Harris MPRCA, Chief Strategy Officer, Luchford APM

Alison Clarke FPRCA, Alison Clarke Communications




Nik Govier, formerly Co-founder, Unity

When Wrong is Right

The things that look wrong that turn out to be right – practical examples from Nik Govier’s own career as well broader examples – such as the Lego factory that burnt down in the 40’s, leading Ole to reinvent his wooden toys as plastic bricks; or the KFC chicken crisis that has been used positively to re-establish the brand. In this crazy world with so much flux and change, bad can turn out to be good and can bring the best out of us all creatively, and this can be channeled positively every day. 


Roger Parry, Chairman, YouGov, Oxford Metrics, and MSQ Partners

From Traditional Media to an Unmediated World: Implications for Truth and Reputation

Digital technology has disrupted traditional economic and social norms. The disintermediation of long established structures has led to businesses models like Airbnb, Amazon, Expedia, and Uber. It has also greatly reduced the gatekeeper role and power of traditional media. Information and influence now flows peer-to-peer more than through established channels as exemplified by Facebook, Twitter and What’s App. 


Jane Fordham, Director, Jane Fordham Consulting

The Never-ending War for Talent – Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

An industry-wide risk aversion to truly ground-breaking people strategies and a manically short-term, cost-obsessed mindset can mean that we are our own worst enemies in the battle for talent. This session will tackle some of the biggest challenges our industry faces and will share a whistle-stop round-the-world tour of the best of employee experience, tales from ‘corporate rebels’  and renegade leaders that we might learn from.




The PR and Communications Council 2018: the Social Value and Purpose of PR

The PRCA’s PR and Communications Council, the think tank of the industry, set the agenda for 2018 with a single priority for thought leadership: the social value and purpose of PR. Council Chairman Jon Chandler CMPRCA, CEO, Quiller Communications, and Vice-chairman Amanda Coleman FPRCA, Head of Corporate Communication, Greater Manchester Police, will curate the recommendations from four Council work streams, aimed at driving forward industry thought around the following areas:  

  • Repositioning PR as a concept 

  • The social impact of PR

  • Establishing and cementing the corporate advisory role with business leaders

  • PR's position within the marketing mix


Rod Cartwright MPRCA, EMEA Regional Director, Text100

Think Human: Why the Brands of Tomorrow will Reconnect with Basic Human Needs

We are at a crossroads. Many feel threatened by technologies they believe are creating multiple social ills, instead of making life better. The breakthrough brands and corporations of tomorrow will be those who Think Human: putting their audiences’ human needs, wants and values at the heart of everything they say and do. These brands will remember that technology has only ever existed to meet those needs, just as the best marketing connects at a deeply human level.


Deepening Digital Trust to do More, not Less, with Personal Data

Many companies and organisations have been preparing to do business in a new digital landscape in the wake of GDPR. But there’s an opportunity for brand owners to deepen digital trust in order to do more – not less - with personal data. This session, moderated by Ardi Kolah, a globally recognised data privacy expert and marketing professional, will seek to focus on the opportunities that can deliver a point of differentiation for brand owners and build deeper trust with customers, clients, supporters and employees.

Moderator: Ardi Kolah MPRCA, Executive Fellow & Director, GDPR Programme, Henley Business School and Founder of GO DPO


Deborah Binks-Moore, Head of International Corporate Affairs - EMEA,  Alibaba Group

Jonny Bentwood MPRCA, Global Head of Data and Analytics, Golin

Rachel Mendoza, Founder, The Data Works

Sam Knowles, Founder and Managing Director, Insight Agents




Samantha Fay MPRCA, Senior Vice President – Global Brand Strategy, Guinness World Records

Embracing Disruption: How to Remodel a Legacy Brand for the Modern Age

Innovate or die. Learning to adapt is both a survival skill and a success skill, and companies that ignore this modern mantra run the risk of failure faster than ever before. Guinness World Records had to embrace disruption to survive and has remodelled its brand strategy to appeal to a whole new audience, growing from a single best-selling book to a multi-platform, global IP brand.


Richard Pinder, Chairman, Universum

Social Climbing - Making the Most of PR’s Time in the Sun (and Avoiding the Errors the Ad Folk Made)

Richard Pinder has spent the last twenty years running ad agencies in the UK and Internationally. As social continues to climb up the rankings of marketing media and in a not unrelated move, PR consolidates its position alongside consultancies at the top of the communications advisors pile, Richard’s advice is to make the most of it, whilst sharing some cautionary tales as to how previous ascendant players and media alike accelerated their subsequent fall from that position. 


Closing speech: Jim Donaldson MPRCA, CEO, UK and Middle East, FleishmanHillard Fishburn


Thank you to our Sponsors and Partners