Being a part of the International Public Relations Network has been an honor—it’s allowed me and AKHIA new experiences, exposure, and opportunity. Recently I had the pleasure of attending the IPRN 2015 Annual General Meeting in Washington, D.C., where AKHIA’s Change Agent Amanda Vasil and I spoke about one of the most important issues facing our industry: Big Data and what it means for our jobs as PR and marketing professionals.

Jan Gusich at IPRN Amanda Vasil at IPRN

Think about it: Our lives are speeding toward a future where everything is connected. Our phones, our watches, our cars, our kitchen appliances. That means our job as communicators is becoming more challenging. Today we need to:

• Know our audiences better than ever
• Customize the message to unprecedented degrees
• Embrace new channels, technology and gadgets
• Engage stronger means of evaluation and measurement

And, we must do all these things while being driven by high ethical standards and responsibility. Just because you have the information doesn’t mean you can exploit it—it’s a delicate balance that we need to be constantly thinking about maintaining. It’s key to keeping our audiences’ trust.

Elsewhere at the conference, Amanda and I were impressed by the finalists for this year’s Ellis Kopel Project of the Year. Showcasing Business to Consumer (B2C) communications excellence, we were wowed by Great Britain firm Nexus’ “National Chip Week” campaign for the UK Potato Council, PR Partner’s high-tech Fibrum launch in Russia, and JPA Health Communications #GetNaked campaign for the Melanoma Research Foundation right here at home.

Looking forward to 2016 in Paris!