An Insightful Afternoon at the CIPR Forum 2019

Published On: September 17th, 2019Categories: Agency news, Events, PRBy

Last week, the Black Vanilla team attended the CIPR Channel Islands PR Forum: Purposeful Profits and the Role of PR

The afternoon saw a strong line-up of speakers from across the UK explore themes of social responsibility, corporate purpose and the role of PR professionals.

Each of the five speakers gave a unique and thought-provoking talk; here is what we took from each:


Soulla Kyriacou: A Purpose That Serves Society

Keynote speaker Soulla Kyriacou, the COO of Blueprint for Better Business, focused on the importance of corporate purpose and how to achieve it to benefit the wider community.

She explained how your purpose will only make a difference if it is authentic, practical and inspiring – with employees being able to relate to and embed this purpose.

Motivation was a key theme throughout Soulla’s talk. She pointed out that money alone shouldn’t and doesn’t motivate employees. What does, is autonomy and purpose in the workplace.

People need to be inspired by a cause and given the ability and responsibility to be innovative.

Soulla’s five principles of a purpose-driven business for employers:

  1. Be honest and fair with your customers and suppliers
  2. Be a good citizen
  3. Be a responsible and responsive employer
  4. Have a purpose that delivers long-term sustainable performance
  5. Be a guardian for future generations


Emma Leech: The Role of Public Relations in Corporate Purpose

Next up was CIPR President, Emma Leech.

Emma discussed the part PR professionals play in CSR and corporate purpose. She also developed Soulla’s point about the industry’s role as the guardians of corporate reputation.

Emma suggested that motivating employees IS corporate purpose. There is a need to put purpose at the heart of business strategy because it will become a brand’s survival tool in the future.

She linked this with the idea that corporate purpose is now people-focused, proving that disengaged people contribute less to business progress and consequently profits fall. At a time when trust is under threat, purpose shapes and delivers the culture and society we want.

Emma helped us to understand that in order to find our brand purpose, we need to look at our business from an outside perspective. It is important for business leaders to understand that purpose brings a company together and gives everyone a sense of direction – the same direction.


Richard Donovan: Creating a Better Tomorrow

Richard Donovan, the Global Head of Social Innovation and Head of Corporate Responsibility at Experian, gave a fascinating talk about how Experian is living out its company purpose.

By using his own case studies and examples, Richard demonstrated how Experian is a great example of social innovation and how a business can deliver its purpose through core business activities and programmes.

Experian’s ‘Gelezar’ app is an excellent example of how Experian is implementing social innovation to drive financial innovation in South Africa.

He reinforced the idea that people should always come first, then the product, then the profit – with clients, consumers, investors and employees being the primary reason that purpose matters.


Advita Patel: Purpose, Profits and People

Advita Patel, founder of the Comms Hive and the Chair of CIPR Inside, gave an inspiring talk about internal communications.

Advita began with the staggering statistic that only 2% of a business’s marketing budget is spent on employee brand awareness.

With this in mind, Advita described the business benefits of having a good purpose:

  1. It attracts the best talent
  2. It generates trust
  3. It increases loyalty
  4. It improves people’s performance

Advita emphasised how important it is that brand values are communicated internally and felt by the whole team. Inspiring, involving and informing employees is key to maximising employee impact.


Phil Eyre: Making it Happen and Staying True to Your Values

Founder of Leaders Phil Eyre closed the afternoon with a thoughtful discussion surrounding purpose, people and profits in a local context.

Phil believes the way in which our purpose becomes authentic is if we live our values every day and identify how to get words on walls into hearts and minds.

He explained how this can be difficult on a small island because being unable to get away from our mistakes makes it harder for us to take risks. However, Phil reinforced that in order to live out our values, we need to take these risks and believe. Leaders living their values and being seen to do so is vital to being believed.


Black Vanilla is proud to have supported such a well-received event through our sponsorship of the lunch, and our cupcakes went down a treat!

As we have recently been exploring Black Vanilla’s corporate purpose, the forum gave us some great pointers on how we can continue to develop our ‘better business’ framework.

After an afternoon learning some invaluable lessons about purposeful profits, we are excited to put some of these lessons into practice here at Black Vanilla, and explore these conversations more with our clients.

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