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Key Insights of #CommsWeek16's from Kite Hill PR’s CEO Tiffany Guarnaccia

Post by Tom Kirkham, International Account Director, Kite Hill PR

The end is nigh! As Communications Week 2016 draws towards its conclusion for another year (sniff, sob), this morning at LMHQ we welcomed Kite Hill PR’s own Tiffany Guarnaccia to the stage to share some of her personal highlights from what has proved to be an incredibly engaging week of events and seminars around our core theme, “reinventing the industry”.

Guarnaccia founded Communications Week in 2014 with the aim of sharing ideas and knowledge across the industry. She explained to this morning’s attendees that, “This year has been a tipping point for the industry. This is the time we need to embrace change.”

“Reinvention starts with you. It’s about embracing the change mindset.”

Guarnaccia moved on to discuss the impact of reinvention of leaders, their teams, brand direction and evolution, drawing on the examples we saw earlier in the week of Reebok, iHeartMedia and Reader’s Digest. “Brand reinvention is far broader than just redesigning the logo. It’s about the change in company mindset and the communications strategy - internally and externally - that brings the new brand to life.”

She noted the need for communicators to remember that global market differences still exist, despite the shift from traditional to digital media, before looking at the ongoing evolution of the Chief Communications Officer role: “The CCO role is testament to how marketing and communications departments continue to converge.”

After walking through some of the week’s key insights, Guarnaccia looked to the future, replaying highlights from Wednesday’s panel debate on the growth of AI and bots. “Think about how different media outlets are using AI - this is going to grow, but it won’t replace us. What it will affect is how we source news and compile content. There is still a need for art and science to combine in great content creation.”

Guarnaccia highlighted the following takeaways from Communications Week 2016:
1. Prepare for change. See challenges as opportunities
2. Leadership must drive reinvention
3. PR professionals must evolve with the media industry
4. Embrace future technologies
5. Understand that you’ve never reached your destination

Wrapping all of this together, if there’s one key take away, at least as far as this humble blogger is concerned, it’s that the battle for brand relevancy is only going to intensify into 2017 and beyond. As communicators, we have to lead the brands we represent in finding the right audiences to engage and the right means of reaching those audiences effectively. This means being bold and brave, rather than standoff-ish and reserved, and it means embracing new platforms, techniques and opportunities rather than falling back on the approaches and tactics of old. #changeordie