Reflections on the AMEC Global Summit 2023… before it starts

View of the AMEC Summit hotel from Bayside Park, Miami.

In today’s brave new world of AI do we have the ability to predict what’s going to unfold at the AMEC Global Summit in sunny Miami?

#QTWTAIN Questions To Which The Answer Is No. However, as a humble human I’ve looked at the programme and picked out some of the sessions that look most interesting. Or rather I’ve tried as AMEC has done such a great job curating the programme that just about everything looks interesting.

Instead, I’ll just make a few observations based on what I’m hoping to hear and see. We’ve already had the first two events – a great speed networking session run by Simon Gebauer of Observer. I say great, because it was, and I met loads of interesting people. But it was also exhausting as countless (well it might be a measurement conference, but I lost count) three-minute conversations in one and a half hours takes it out of you.

We hadn’t even had a drink! That was soon rectified with a drinks reception in a bayfront meeting room with fabulous views of the…. well the bay of course. Let’s just say the sponsor Opoint invested well and AMEC global MD Johna Burke did a fabulous job of ensuring we all enjoyed Opoint’s hospitality.

AMEC Global Summit begins

It really kicks off this morning. I’m not mentioning all the sessions, just some that have particularly caught my eye.

After the introduction, the first AMEC Global Summit session is entitled ‘Moving earned media upstream’ with Golin CEO Matt Neale. The TL;DR appears to be – paid alone isn’t enough, it also needs earned, and that means data and analytics. It will be interesting to hear Golin’s take on what we all know already to be true.

Next up it is Carmen Romero, deputy assistant secretary general for NATO’s public diplomacy service. NATO does smart work, some of which I already know about from other sources, so I’m excited to be able to learn more.

Evaluation of WHO communication during COVID-19

This should be one of the highlights of the summit. Distinguished Professor Jim Macnamara of the School of Communication at University of Technology, Sydney will talk about the evaluation of the World Health Organisation’s communication during COVID-19.

Because of the pandemic I haven’t seen Jim since 2019 when we enjoyed a breakfast together in Sydney. I had intended to head back to Australia in 2020, but the pandemic put paid to that. Hopefully I’ll make it in late 2023 or early 2024.

Jim’s presentations and books are always a treasure trove of ideas and methodologies, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

AMEC member survey results

The AMEC member survey results always reveal at least one intriguing nugget. What will it be this year? Will the dreaded AVE word get mentioned?

Qatar controversy: reputational risk analysis at the World Cup 2022

After a 30+ year PR and communication career I’ve done pretty much everything, but my two real passions and what I spend most of my time on these days are measurement and evaluation, and crisis communication and reputation management. I also do a lot of work in the Middle East, so this session could have been personally tailored for me. Crisis, reputation, measurement… what more could I want?

How Shell powers decision-making with impactful insights

If you’ve ever heard me speak at a conference or attended one of my PR and communications training courses then you’ll have heard me drone on… sorry, I mean speak passionately… about insight. I’m constantly frustrated by the desire of so many PR people to measure what they’ve done. Why? You’re missing two of the most important steps. The first is measure, or data and analytics, for insight to help you make better decisions. The other problem I see is even if companies are gathering data and ‘insights’ they aren’t necessarily turning it into actionable data. Why don’t we see more companies using measurement research for policy development and message testing?

It’s chaired by Maja Pawinska Sims, associate editor of PRovoke Media who I’m sure will get the best out of Kyle Mason, head of external monitoring – corporate relations, Shell plc and Philip Lynch, senior vice president, insights and consulting at Onclusive. Coincidentally I talked to Philip during yesterday’s speed networking and my Purposeful Relations colleague Tim Bailey talked to Kyle.

It will be great to understand Shell’s approach to this.

Data literacy in PR

Our friends at Coverage Book have done some research into the data literacy of PR practitioners. I don’t think you need to be Nostradamus to predict it ain’t going to be good. Let’s see how bad it really is.

Mapping the measurement journey: Words from those in the trenches

A lot of the work we do at Purposeful Relations is helping clients to develop and implement bespoke measurement, evaluation and planning frameworks. The core principles might remain the same, but the organisational culture, the industry sector, the people, the organisational structure and so much more mean that the frameworks and playbooks can be fundamentally different.

It will be fascinating to hear the ‘war stories’ from the American Egg Board, Michelin North America and the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers. I’m also intrigued to know what the difference is between ‘genuine Alaska pollock’ and pollock.

Trends from industry partners

This might not sound like the snappiest session, but it’s one I’m looking forward to. I’m a big believer in professional and trade bodies. They contribute massively to the develop of our profession and industry. Too many people look at them as a cost and question the value of their membership.

My advice is you won’t get much out of membership unless you’re prepared to put some time in as well as money. The real value of membership organisations comes from the members contributing and working together.

I’ve served as a board member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), a council member of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and currently serve on the Global Executive Committee of the World Communication Forum Association in Davos (speak to me if you’re interested in joining).

In this session we’ll hear from Alastair McCapra, chief executive of the CIPR; Reena Markson, deputy director general and engagement director of the PRCA; Linda Thomas Brooks, chief executive officer, PRSA; Carmella Glover, president, Diversity Action Alliance; Sonia Diaz, president of HPRA; and Kim Sample, President, PR Council.

The future of driving is flying

I’ll leave that there as who knows what we can expect from this session?

If you’re in Miami at the summit, then keep an eye out for me and say hello. If you’re not then subscribe to the PR Futurist newsletter and my blog as next week, we will be publishing some observations and analysis from the summit.