Hey, you at the back there, behave!

Hey, you at the back there, behave!

When I was at school disruption was seen as A Bad Thing. The naughty – i.e. disruptive - kids were the ones who sat at the back, chewed gum and wrote their name on the furniture.

But now disruption has taken on a whole new meaning and has found a place at the front of the class.  In fact it has become teacher’s pet. So what is it exactly?

Our good friends over at the London College of Communication are holding a conference in July on theme of ‘disruptive PR’.  I asked Simon Collister, senior lecturer in the School of Media and part time lecturer with PR Academy, what the term actually means:  "The theme of the conference is disruption – we are taking this to mean disruption in its broadest sense. The Collins English Dictionary suggests that it is to ‘throw into turmoil and disorder; to interrupt the progress of (e.g. movement, meeting) or to break or split (something) apart’.  To us this accurately reflects what is happening in the wider media, societal and cultural landscape.”

That makes sense, but what does that mean for PR?  Simon explained:  “In part, it means that the knowledge, strategies and skills needed to communicate successfully in contemporary society and within organisations need to be transformed. Our conference aims to re-think and discuss the changes taking place and how to respond to and use disruption to become better communicators."

There is no doubt that things are changing for PR and these changes are much more fundamental than understanding how to use social media.  The changes go deeper and are about the way business operates.  Simon pointed me to an interesting report by PWC which is worth a read.  "Dealing with disruption" shows that for CEOs trust is seen as key in building resilience in their businesses and that of course is where PR should be, helping organisations understand how to build trust in these disruptive times.

You can find out more about the conference here.  (And there is a discount if you are member of the CIPR or PR Academy alumni - get in touch for the details.)