June 2, 2010

International PR conference coming to Toronto

CANADA - The 2010 IABC World Conference is happening in Toronto on June 6th to 9th. The IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) is for PR agencies, advertisers, graphic designers, marketing directors, etc and in theory it could do wonders for Ontario's economy if local business leaders take advantage of the event.

From an environmental perspective it could be very useful for green tech / economical ways to save energy / money, allowing companies to promote what they do and get the word out. The more people understand about green technology the more they are likely to invest in it. (Remember when the new energy efficient lightbulbs started appearing on the market? Credit the PR agencies.)

But more so its a chance for companies to fix their reputation and focus on building capital (and paying off some debts in the case of General Motors and Chrysler). Internet advertisers, Search Engine Optimization gurus, public relations agencies, magazines and ezines, television, newsprint, etc are all set to cash in on the shift back to a bull market.

And while they are at it maybe they can promote Tesla Motors' electric roadster.

“Over the past 18-24 months PR has fundamentally changed." says Judy Lewis from the PR agency 'Strategic Objectives'. "Simultaneous to the economy bottoming-out, social media and digital PR blossomed. Today, it’s all about reinvention and recognizing the tremendous new opportunities and new channels available to PR pros."

But then there's also the G8 Summit followed by the G20 Summit (which really should be called the G25 because there's 5 other heads of state attending as "guests"). In theory the economy should be dominating their discussion.

And perhaps it will.

But there's also the possibility the looming war with North Korea might be a major topic of discussion too, behind closed doors. China, Japan and South Korea have much to talk about with respect to mutual defense.

And then there's the BP Oil Spill and its economic effects. But thats more of a topic for the G8 and G20, not the IABC. I don't think any amount of PR work will save BP's assets at this point.

The IABC conference will have 1,400 communication experts from 40 countries here in Toronto for 4 days of learning how to get their message across. When they leave its presumed they will be better equipped to promote/sell green cars, encourage people to cut back on their water usage, remind people to buy the latest blockbuster Blue Ray discs as opposed to just downloading the film online (which is obviously the future), go out and buy the new iPad... and of course support the War against Terror.

Oh wait, are we still supposed to be doing that?

Its not all bad. I do like the fact governments have got on board promoting green cars (although they have yet to set an agenda for when hydrogen cars will become the norm, because they don't want to upset the oil industry). We can all cheer for the more reputable companies like The Body Shop... and likewise we can boo the Royal Bank of Canada for investing billions in the Alberta Tar Sands.

You'll notice I used the word "tar" instead of oil. When I was growing up that was what it was called: The Alberta Tar Sands. It was only in the late 1990s that the words "oil sands" began being used. Thank the PR agencies for that one. Oil sands just sounds cleaner somehow and ignores the reality of the tar pits.

We have to assume there are some PR agencies out there which are equitable, ethical and do their job with a measure of honesty and integrity... promoting a product or service which is equally worthwhile.

For example a lot of companies out there are converting their products to greener / more environmentally friendly versions (or in some cases even going organic). ie. Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate; natural antioxidant-rich Tetley Red tea; Kraft Liv-Active probiotic cheddar; Clorox’s new line of green cleaning products... you get the picture.

As North American companies and consumers become more environmentally conscious PR agencies and advertisers hopping on the Green bandwagon are guaranteed to be neck deep in a different kind of green... $$$.

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