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Reflections on the PROI Worldwide Summit (and a little bit on Eurovision)

Lansons Associate Director, Jessica Warner, reflects on the Lisbon summit and the formidable force of global communications with PROI Worldwide

May has seen Lisbon be host to two of 2018’s greatest international gatherings: the Eurovision Song Contest and the PROI Worldwide Global Summit, the annual meeting of independent communications agencies from across the world that make up the PROI network.

There are many similarities between the two events. Colourful characters from all corners of the world congregating to share new ideas and visions for the future. Experimenting with new technologies and breaking boundaries. Welcoming new nations to join the club each year.

But whilst Eurovision, for all its colour and joy, is famously diverse and politically engendered for each country taking part, the PROI Summit is unifying and enables collaboration between the greatest minds of our industry.

The annual summit brings together business owners to share critical information affecting their agencies and our industry, explore ways of working together on international client briefs, share best practice and plan for the future.

<img src ="PROIgroup2018.jpg" alt="PROI group photo">

This year we explored new tools and technology to enhance productivity and improve measurement, new strategies for attracting and retaining talent, the technology trends shaping the ‘agency of the future’, and the secret to highly creative thinking. We had the first PROI film festival, and shared the best of the work that we have done for clients – inspirational campaigns, many of which were award winning in their respective regions.

And Lansons was a very active participant throughout, presenting on some of the exceptional narrative development, employee engagement and crisis work we have done for clients over the last year, sharing insight on Brexit, and updating our international colleagues on our new work in the blockchain technology space, and our 2018 partnerships with London Blockchain Week and London Fintech Week.

But, as one of our guest speakers – founder of the Holmes Group and leading PR industry commentator Paul Holmes – said, the PROI is so much more than just a forum for ideas sharing. As a network, we are a formidable force. PROI Worldwide agencies are the leading independent firms across five continents, 50 countries and 100 cities, from London to New York, Hong Kong to Frankfurt, Tokyo to Rio de Janeiro, and everywhere inbetween.  We are big enough to be truly influential, but our structure means we can be nimble enough to adjust. And the fact that each agency is independent means we can offer clients senior experts, on the ground, with real local knowledge, drawing on the best firms, for each challenge, in each market.

In the words of Clare Parsons, Lansons’ co-founder and newly announced Chair of PROI Worldwide: “Across the world, clients are recognising the strengths of independent public relations and communications agencies and that’s why so many PROI Worldwide partner agencies are growing rapidly at present.”

Further pride in Lansons’ membership of the network is found in Clare’s appointment as its Chair, which was announced at the Lisbon Summit. It is a significant moment in the PROI’s 48-year history. Clare is the first woman chair of the PROI, and the network’s eight-member board is now represented by six women, making the PROI a source of inspiration for female leadership, and inclusion and diversity, which will be key focus areas for Clare in her two-year tenure.

Lisbon, May, 2018. A landmark place and time to be, featuring Eurovision, and a new world-vision for the PROI Worldwide network.