Five things we learned at the PR Summit

PRWeek presents a list of five interesting and not-so-serious things we learned at this week’s PR Summit.

Despite their awkwardness lawyers can be amusing. One recurring theme of the day was the "face-off" between comms people and the lawyers in their company over "open and human" versus "guarded and minimalist" corporate messaging. But Kingsley Napley solicitor David Rowntree had us in thrall with nuggets of advice on what to do if your chief executive is arrested. For one, put out a statement if you absolutely must but make it as bland as possible.

More corporate boards are taking reputational risk seriously. The board of FTSE-listed education giant Pearson last year created a sub-committee for reputation and responsibility to put the subject on a par with things like directors’ pay, revealed the company’s senior vice-president for strategic communications Brendan O’Grady.

Digital and social media PR is genuinely business-critical. We know this because with the tube strike on, one speaker unfortunately had to drop out – Transport for London’s digital and social media PR lead Ruben Govinden. Sorry Ruben!

Remember this stat that people are more interested in training in digital than in measurement? It came to mind when a majority opted for the session on interacting with online influencers over the session on measuring and demonstrating the impact of your online and social strategy. However, those attending the latter learned to write a draft annual strategy in 20 minutes, which was not a bad takeaway.

Journalists get confused when the tables are turned. Robert Shrimsley, the managing editor of, gave a good keynote on how digital has reshaped the way the FT delivers news. But when the time came for audience questions and Steve Evans from Pfizer takeover target AstraZeneca piped up, Shrimsley quipped: "Shouldn’t I be asking you questions?" We also found out that this is one digital journo who doesn’t believe the press release is dead.

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