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How to internationalise your thinking

PROI Summit Internalise Blog

Keeping your eyes and ears open, to see and experience new things that challenge your thinking and your perceptions are key for any consultant. Only by continuously being curious about the things we don’t know yet or haven’t yet considered, are we able to offer the best advice, the best ideas and ultimately get the best results for our clients and our consultancies. And what better way is there to be curious and to challenge your thinking than spending 5 days with over 80 of the world’s most talented communications consultancy owners and senior consultants. This is exactly what happened at the end of May, when Lansons once again attended the annual PROI Summit. This year hosted in Atlanta, the summit is a gathering of the world’s largest network of independent communications consultancies.

Imagine a room full of business leaders, entrepreneurs and consultants from over 40 countries, each with their own perspective; shaped by the unique communications needs and aspects of the countries and sectors in which they operate and the client briefs and communications disciplines they specialize in. Lots of questions were being asked, probing and challenging conversations on the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’, and on the results and effectiveness of your advice and ideas. But, most importantly everyone was keen to learn from the work and experiences of their international colleagues.

To summarise just a few – we listened to senior leading communications directors from three US corporates talking about agency relationships and the perfect match between clients and consultancy (and the unique elements independently owned agencies can offer). We challenged ourselves on areas of consultancy and communications growth by sectors. The importance of the healthcare and investor relations sectors, both of which Lansons has recently further strengthened our expertise in and regions – Africa remains a key growth area for businesses in general and communications in particular. There were presentations on ways to solve communications challenges, for example, from our Chicago partner who dropped thousands of USB sticks around major cities in America to highlight the importance of cyber security. Or our South African partner making retirement planning a talking point by running a social media campaigns based on pairing two people – one retired, one in their 20/30s, with the same interests and hobbies to showcase that life doesn’t stop in retirement. It is these nuggets of information, the discussions around them and the debates with our international colleagues on their perspectives that we are taking back to our clients to further build on our programmes and make us better consultants.

But it is not just the professional development side of things that the PROI Summit is invaluable for. Since we joined the PROI over 10 years ago, the summit and the partner agencies that are part of our international networks have helped us to advise clients on their global communications needs. It enables Lansons to regularly work on international communications briefs, it also offer us ‘on the ground’ support through specialists agencies that we know and trust. We have advised clients on global restructuring programmes in many countries, ran internal change programmes spanning continents and executed international media programmes.  

The collaboration within the PROI has never been stronger and we have returned from the PROI summit with not only fresh ideas and an even better knowledge of our colleagues’ consultancies but also with requests for new proposals for international work.  

If you are interested in finding out more about our international work or you want to discuss a specific cross border or international communications need, please get in touch with the me or the Lansons international team on international@lansons.com.

Anna Schirmer, Director and Partner, annas@lansons.com, https://uk.linkedin.com/in/annaschirmer