2010 World PR Forum Account by Toni Muzi Falconi
What remain in my mind as the more striking achievements of the 2010 Stockholm-based World PR Forum (WPRF):
- Marc Whitaker’s breathtaking chorus opening–fully embedded in the Global Alliance’s World PR Forum’s context and contents
- Sven Hamrefor’s intellectually challenging description of value networks
- Mervin King’s keynote on organizational governance and stakeholder relationships
- FERPI’s six-faced presentation about the (then-proposed) Stockholm Accords implementation process taking off in Italy in September
- Anne Gregory and Ronel Rensburg’s engaging and courageous session on public relations’ value to organizational governance and management
- Karl Schwab’s lucid description of the coming phases of societal discontinuity and of the World Economic Forum’s vision of togetherness through a global multistakeholder platform
My bias are explicit, so I will take a more critical perspective on the other parts of the WPRF, recognizing however that not one of them was lower than good.
The first session on social media, intelligently embedding Brian Solis and Robin Teigler, showed (is this once and for all?) the conceptual thinness of social media interpreted as the tool or the channel of choice for public relations! The digital environment–-of which social media is but a minor part–-is simply that: an environment.
Of course, this implies operational consequences and conceptual issues for public relations. But every conference, seminar, blog (or their various cousins) have been dealing with changes to operations in recent years; unfortunately, the presenters did not say anything we had not heard, read or seen many times already. Of course, I very much missed David Phillips’ contributions, but received ongoing stimuli from his Twitter comments. Still, not really worth a full session of the Forum.
Bjorn Edlund’s presentation of stakeholder relationships in a large corporation was excellent in its first part, but much too hurried and dense in its second half.
The Swedish organizers also cleverly managed to give lip service to their senior, experienced and powerful professional, Peje Emilsson, by offering him a platform in which to interestingly recollect some of his memoirs.
We also witnessed Hanna Brogren’s presentation on how the City of Stockholm sustains its claim to being globally perceived as the Capital of Scandinavia. It showed many clever, yet hardly credible arguments, unless the program’s ‘hidden’ agenda only wants its citizens to rally around an abstract symbol.
The final presentation, by Carl Bildt, before the official closing of the World PR Forum proved a pleasant and lively chat; it was a brilliant and cleverly construed insight into the daily life of one of Europe’s very few reputed and reputable political leaders.
I will not indulge further, beyond the simple mention that the Stockholm Accords that were ratified during the World PR Forum acted as the true, fine line of the Forum. By that I mean if the Global Alliance, in enacting them, lives up to 10 per cent of the expectations that have been raised it will have done an excellent service to the global public relations community and profession.