This week Harvard joined the plethora of agency folk headed to Ham Yard Hotel in London for the annual gathering of PR minds at the Holmes Report In2Summit EMEA.

As well as winning an award for our campaign work, we were treated to a host of topics and great speakers which provided insight into brand behaviour (no, Kendall Jenner and Pepsi did not manage to escape the spotlight) and how comms professionals could maximise opportunities and challenges in 2017 and beyond.

There was much debate around how brands will start to integrate more seamlessly with the likes of Facebook to capture the minds and money of the next generation, and how these new opportunities should be exploited wisely, championing a long-term communications platform over short-term sales.

It’s the role of the agency to help our brands have an authentic purpose, which will in turn build that long-term communication platform and relationship with consumers.

At Harvard this is one of the first processes we go through, whether we’re dealing with an established brand or a promising new start-up.

To understand who our client is and what they stand for means our teams can better execute every campaign and translate the brand message, whatever the channel.

This is exactly what the communications leaders on the In2Summit panel echoed, from Pizza Hut to online poker brands.

Facebook’s Director of Agencies for EMEA Ben Wood also gave insight on the space collapsing between engagement and transaction.

He talked about how the platform is continuing to grow a more sophisticated conversation to connect interested brands and people in a more meaningful and productive way.

As Flipside suggested, however, a “posh QVC” could start to emerge, and it’s the comms teams that will need to really drive what we do best: great storytelling. We need to keep that at the core of every brand communication so we can believably reconcile transaction and purpose.

My favourite thought to take away from the evening:

“It’s harder not to be someone, than not to do something.”

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