In the first afternoon session our global CEO challenged us to think about the ways that Digital communications could take our profession to entirely new places. One could think of the practice of public relations as broadly about managing the interface between the different publics within a society, yet even in some of the most developed nations it has often really involved little more than media relations, leaving the advertising industry to take the overall lead in terms of creative initiative and content generation. Digital, Taaffe argued, gives us a real opportunity to snatch this initiative back.
After all, where there is real communication - a relationship rather than a set of discreet transactions - our approach should be more effective in the long run. As David Muir told us this morning, a lot of the negativity online seems to stem from the fact that the trust-based conversations between consumers and the people that sell them stuff are not taking place to the extent that the technology would now appear to allow.
Over lunch Niall had also made the point that advertising has always been about buying into things, and that their approach to social media properties is little different. We on the other hand, really do have to change our ways.