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RCG UPDATE | A Time of Change and Action

Friday 13, Dec 2019

Written by Lisa Portolan

It’s an exciting period of time for the PRIA and the Registered Communications Group (RCG). With a new PRIA National President appointed, Leigh McClusky, and National Deputy President, Helen Hutchings, 2020 is set to be a remarkable one. Two extraordinary women at the helm of an ever-changing industry organisation. McClusky said, “The challenge for the PRIA is to redefine and invigorate its purpose and relevance in 2020 in line with the expectation of our existing and future members, who are clearly looking for tangible support and growth.” 

She certainly reflects the spirit of our time: change and action. 

Of course, it is with nostalgia that we also say goodbye to some of the people who have led and influenced the PRIA and RCG for decades, including Adam Benson (former chair of the Registered Communications Group). Adam has more than 22 years’ experience creating and executing public relations campaigns and is the Managing Director of Recognition PR – he has also spent over a decade as the RCG Chair. He was instrumental in establishing the benchmarking research agenda, awareness around copyright and a number of key initiatives. 

The RCG concluded the year with its end of year conference at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron on the 5 December, and it was a cracker. We had some outstanding speakers talk to values and transparency, change within the industry, scaling and commercialisation. Futurist Nils Vesk kicked off the day with a look into 2020 trends which included: 
-    Greater transparency from corporations for the general public (glass box businesses); 
-    A call for greater values from our organisations, businesses and leadership in relation to what matters; 
-    The increasing inclusion of AI and robotics into our every day lives (a post-humanist era); and 
-    The rise of teetotallers (in Australia).

Nils was followed by Uluru Statement of the Heart activist Thomas Mayor. Thomas discussed how the Uluru Statement was developed, and how the PR industry can help support the Statement. It’s safe to say that the room was completely captivated by his charisma, gravitas but also the need for change. 

Finally, Kim Stewart-Smith (CEO of Arxxus) closed off the morning with a power-house session on scaling and commercialisation. 

This was followed by the benchmark survey results in the afternoon. The benchmark survey has been running for some 15 years and has been instrumental in shaping insights around the industry. 2019 sees both David Briggs (Yougov Galaxy co-founder and an important figure in the development of the findings) and Adam Benson (key in establishing the research), ending their tenure driving the project. Click here to see the topline findings recently reported in the PRIA newsletter

It is indeed a season for change, and it is with great pleasure that I take on the role of Chair of the Registered Communications Group in 2020. My background is wide and varied – with over fifteen years in communication, first in Government (as the Director of Communications at the Department of Communication and at the AIS) and later as a Group Account Director at N2N Communications, and now Agency Lead of the Sydney Office for The Mark Agency. My background is in journalism and research – I have two books published and am currently completing my PhD at Western Sydney in relation to digital intimacies. I strongly believe in melding together the academic, corporate, agency and corporate world: that there are insights which cross industries and can be integrated to bring about best practise projects and communication strategies. I am also an advocate for change, for values, for diversity and inclusion. 

My main objectives for 2020 are to drive a reinvigorated RCG – bringing greater value to our members, who have supported us and the industry for the majority of their career; to empower our young-guns, and to spearhead excellency. We want to see an industry which reflects the contemporary values of a modern Australia.  

We will be releasing a program of events in January to highlight some of our new work, and we’ll also be coming to you to find out more about what you want from the RCG. 

Happy holidays communicators. I can’t wait to see you all in 2020!