Adobo Magazine, SINGAPORE — The Institute of Public Relations of Singapore (IPRS) welcomed close to 160 industry experts and public relations (PR) practitioners at the inaugural PRISM Summit 2022 on November 10 to discuss the future of PR. Professor Tommy Koh, the ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emeritus Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore, kicked off the day by affirming PR as a profession and sharing his thoughts in a Fireside Chat about government communications during the Covid-19 pandemic and the similarities in the roles of diplomats and PR practitioners.

With the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent global, political, and economic turmoil, PR practitioners are reevaluating their roles and the need to evolve to remain relevant in meeting new challenges. In addition, the demand to adapt to emerging technologies and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) in forming business strategies also adds new dimensions to the PR practice.

The IPRS organized the summit to bring the PR community together and to exchange in-depth knowledge across key areas such as sustainability and technology. Through these discussions, the delegates also had the opportunity to contribute actionable insights and tips in navigating the volatile business and social environments and the evolving communications industry.

The summit featured 32 speakers. In addition to Professor Tommy Koh, other speakers included Ms. Su-Yen Wong, chairperson at the Singapore Institute of Directors, and Mr. Jacob Puthenparambil, founder and CEO of Redhill, with topics addressing leadership, ESG, technology, and future readiness. Other domain experts also shared insights on the opportunities and challenges of the current outlook and how PR is essential for organizations in their growth and long-term viability.

In the keynote panel, Redhill Founder and CEO Jacob Puthenparambil said that the most significant change isn’t technology but economics and that the media model is changing. He also described the role of the PR practitioner as multi-prong — like an accountant who understands the economics of the business, a lawyer who constructs sound arguments, and a service personnel who is often the “face” of the organization, calm and graceful even in challenging situations.

Singapore Institute of Directors Chairperson Wong Su Yen offered three Cs on how PR practitioners bring value to senior leaders and their Boards – helping the Board curate the narrative, control the crisis, and coach the team. For those who aspire to roles on Boards, she shared that they should view directorships just like any profession and build up skills and experience in areas such as business strategy, finance, and accounting, as well as have a good understanding of regulations.

Robertsbridge Stonehaven Singapore Director Tham Kok Wing also spoke in a panel on “Shaping Your Sustainability Story.” He urged everyone to take the opportunity to embrace ESG and bring about change in their respective organizations. To do this, he said that “Design Thinking, Systems Thinking, and Futures Thinking” was needed.

IPRS was formed in 1970, and the institute continues to grow Singapore’s PR industry through knowledge acquisitions, networking, and exchanging of new ideas. Through this, it aims to be the leading regional PR organization that elevates the profession, sets industry standards, and increases public recognition.

“The IPRS was established in the earliest days of Singapore’s PR practice. Today, it continues to uphold the profession’s value to people and organizations. Through this Inaugural IPRS PRISM Summit 2022, we challenged our industry to refresh the purpose of communications and make a difference now and in the future. We were thrilled to have had the honor of welcoming and hosting our distinguished speakers, IPRS members, practitioners, and friends of our PR community,” said IPRS President Koh Juat Muay.

“It is exciting times for public relations professionals. However, the PR profession must evolve to ensure that we remain relevant. PR is no longer only about working with the media. Today, we are ESG leaders, brand ambassadors, social media experts, marketers, risk managers, and more. The strong support we have received from organizing a summit like this is proof that the industry is indeed shifting and that change is becoming increasingly necessary,” said Vanessa Wan, chairperson of the IPRS PRISM Summit and IPRS Council member.