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They say that this new year and new decade is both a celebration and a challenge, and it is an apt description.

Celebration because despite the COVID-19 pandemic, society continues to rebuild itself, the economy is beginning to move, recover and rebuild, and industries are adapting to the so-called “new normal.”

It is also a challenge because even as society is rebuilding, this must be with an inclusive and emancipatory new normal in mind. Economic growth must intersect with a rise in quality of life, particularly for the marginalized. Industries must ensure the well-being of all stakeholders, internal and external alike, and not just a few.

The Public Relations (PR) industry, being the society storyteller, has been at the center of issues even before the pandemic happened. Discussions revolve around market concerns and developments as these relate to businesses and organizations, products and services, sometimes kicking off trends and new ideas in the process. Not rarely, PR practitioners have even been perceived as spinners of truth or harbingers of incorrect information in their efforts to create awareness about or boost interest in certain brands.

Increasingly, however, PR campaigns have been tackling not just products but purpose as well, touching on relevant and pressing social issues such as gender equality, the environment or body positivity. Heightened awareness of these issues and perhaps of potential repercussions of insensitive PR activities, in particular on social media, play a part in how communication practitioners now practice their craft across the different platforms available to them.

The global health crisis has revealed the important role that PR plays, with one Forbes article even saying PR is priceless. At a time of limited mobility and many business restrictions, PR practitioners work with organizations and companies in serving their stakeholders and helping the community at the same time. PR practitioners identify points of partnership to enable businesses to continue engaging with their publics.

Communication professionals find ways to continue telling stories with increased reliance on technology to ensure business continuity, education, socialization and even leisure. With live events no longer feasible, PR strategies quickly adapted digital platforms and techniques to bring products and services closer to the market, in turn helping businesses and consumers and the economy in general.

Industry learnings, especially this past year, and outlook for this next decade will be further tackled at the three-day virtual 27th National Public Relations Congress set for February 17 to 19.

The first day will revolve around the new realities of PR at the national, regional and global levels. The discussions on these new realities will look into where PR is in the new dynamic, the new market behavior and the role of the media.

According to Ana Pista, chairperson of the 27th National Public Relations Congress, “In facing the new decade, we must have foresight. This is achieved when we are first aware of where we are in the present, the trends that shape not just the way we do things but the way our stakeholders do things, and the purpose of what we do.”

For more information about the 27th National Public Relations Congress, visit the event website at www.accelevents.com/e/27thNationalPublicRelationsCongress or Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/PRCongressPH or contact Lessa Azcarraga at lessa.azcarraga@ardent.com.ph.

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