When “The Public Relations World” Comes Together, Good Things Happen

The World Public Relations Forum? With the theme, “Communication Without  Borders”?

Come on, now — how do you really deliver on all that?


  • Gather some eight hundred public relations professionals from twenty-eight countries around the world…
  • Have them examine subjects such as “The Asian Century”; “The Higgs Boson of Public Relations – Measuring Its Value”; and Managing Change During Economic Turmoil”…
  • And then have them develop and publish “The Melbourne Mandate” – the latest articulation of the central importance of public relations in the success of all manner of organizations…
  • All that following a full-day research colloquium reporting on current leading research programs and projected research priorities.

That’s what happened at the November WPRF conference in Melbourne, Australia hosted by The Global Alliance For Public Relations and Communication Management and the Australian Public Relations Institute.

I can assure you that it all went down. Because I was there. Even contributed my own “two cents” of alleged wisdom on excellence in corporate communications, especially as it relates to corporate social responsibility/sustainable development.

Actually, this was the seventh Global Alliance WPRF, the 2010 Forum having been held in Stockholm when I had the honor of being  the GA Chair. But the Melbourne conference was special because in the interim, only two years later, it has become apparent that we now live in an interconnected, interdependent and interactive world. The spawning of social media has confirmed and facilitated that.

Arguably, multinational companies are the organizations that have had to adapt most swiftly and effectively to this new world. In order to achieve global consistency of messages and outcomes, many top corporate communications officers must organize, coordinate, motivate and reward hundreds of employees around the world.

That’s why the Forum paid special attention to the new Global Alliance/Enel study on corporate excellence of which, I admit, I am co-author.

Many such companies are finding that long term commitments to sustainable development (a.k.a corporate social responsibility) help them build and maintain better stakeholder relationships around the world. Evidence: some ten thousand companies in 130 countries have signed on to operate in concert with the United Nations Global Compact’s ten principles clustering in environment, human rights, labor and anti-corruption. And a related new trend, companies developing “integrated reporting” along these lines, is an obvious public relations “sweet spot.”

Communication without borders? Of course. After all, there are no borders on the Internet ether.