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Baltic Weekend 2014 was held in Saint-Petersburg

On the 25th -26th of September 14th International Communication Forum Baltic Weekend was held in Corinthia Hotel in St. Petersburg. The forum annually unites professionals in the field of PR and marketing communications, top-managers, media and government representatives – everyone who is interested in professional and ethical communication practice development.

According to the Andrey Barannikov, Head of Baltic Weekend Organizing Committee, Chairman of AKOS and CEO of SPN Communications, this year forum was visited by more than 500 participants from 27 Russian cities and 7 foreign countries.  

‘Baltic Weekend has once again proved its status of one of the key platforms for cooperation for specialists in the field of communications – this could be testified by the quantity and the geography of the participants, importance and acuteness of topics discussed and, of course, the fact that some of main field events actually happens here’, – notes Andrey Barannikov.

Baltic Weekend 2014 became the location for three of such events: Elena Fadeeva, CEO of FleishmanHillard Vanguard and Honorary Member of AKOS, represented the first Russian Code of Ethics for the Communication Field, which was signed in front of Baltic Weekend participants by the heads of eight main field organizations: AKOS, RASO, AKAR, AKMR, IABC, RAEK, RAOS and RAPK. Full text could be found here: www.prcoe.ru.

The second awaited event was the NR2K results announcement. Three leading positions remained unchanged: third line -  ‘Mikhailov & Pertners’ Communication Agency, second – AGT Communication Group and the first – SPN Communication Agency. 

Apart from this, during the Baltic Weekend evening reception on the 25th of September PROBA-IPRA Golden World Awards Ceremony was held in the Atrium of the General Staff Building of the State Hermitage. 15th competition had collected the record amount of applications – 235 projects from 28 Russian cities. Several new nominations were implemented this year: Creative Grand Prix (winner – MegaFone and AXIS Agency for the MegaFaces project), Effective Grand Prix (winner –  ‘Vykhod in St. Petersburg’ (Exit in St. Petersburg) Charitable Fund with ‘Anton is near here’ project) and PROBA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Public Relations (laureate – Igor Pisarsky, Member of the Board of Directors of RIM Porter Novelli).

Forum’s program included plenary sessions, discussions and round tables, concerning the most acute problems and heated topics both in the field and in the country generally.

Traditional talk-show, conducted this year by renown journalist Vladimir Soloviev, was devoted to the‘Politics of market relations: governmental image vs. the communications of national companies’ topic.  Discussion participants, representatives of Russian and foreign corporations, media and communication agencies, had talked about political risks and opportunities for business in current geopolitical situation.

Another key theme of the Baltic Weekend concerned the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics:‘Team game: communication wins in a big-time sport’. MegaFone, Coca-Cola Inc., Organizing Committee of Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and others had shared their cases and insights. Concluding the discussion, speakers had agreed that Olympic experience was very useful mainly because it outlined the existing loops and showed that the communications should be systematically developed in advance.

Plenary sessions presented the wide variety of spectacular speakers, including Sergey Kravchenko, President, Boeing Russia/CIS, who talked about the reputational and motivational issues inside the company; Dmitry Zelenin, Founder of the Russian Managers Association, presenter of Business on RBC TV, touching the public role of the leader. Igor Ignatiev, President of Russian Association of Communications Directors and Corporate Publishing (AKMR), described and emphasized the role of self-effectiveness dimension, for which TOP-COMM rating was created, during his presentation.

Maria Zakharova, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, prepared the video interview especially fro the Baltic Weekend, in which she had shared the Ministry’s of Foreign Affairs position on the Internet and how they use social networks as a source for public communications.

Igor Pisarsky, Chairman of the Board, R.I.M Porter Novelli, had stated the question of the PR-field fate and Julia Gryaznova, Deputy Director of the Russian Public Relations Association, continuing his thought during the second day of the forum, presented the ‘Professional standard for the PR-specialist’ that should soon become an essential part of the everyday practice and could become the working mean for the communication with the educational institutions. 

Paul Holmes, Founder and CEO of The Holmes Report and the SABRE awards, tried to look into the future of the profession, while Ochir Mandzhikov, PR Director at Yandex, presented the outlook of the year 2014 in search queries.

The importance of audiovisual communications was showed by Christina Kahlert, Head of the Central European Office of TheNewsMarket, who finishing her presentation with the announcement of the newly signed official partnership of TheNewsMarket and SPN Communications agency.

Kirill Alyavdin, Corporate Communications Director at Tele2 Russia, had touched the topic of the PR in fundamental science and the need of its development. Sergei Novikov, Director of Communications Department at Rosatom, continued the theme, talking about Rosatom’s CSR projects, while Elena Kokhanovskaya, PR Director at MTS, shared the insight and talked about the passionarity as competitive advantage for the company.

During the two days of forum eight round tables were held, covering the most acute questions in the field.

MegaFone, the partner of the forum, had initiated the discussion ‘Kind PR: could charity be part of the communication program or not?’, where the issue of charity as a corporate and social norm was discussed.AKOS company raised the question of pricing and other basements for the clients and agency cooperation during the ‘We choose and we are chosen: an ideal partnership between a customer and communications agency’ round table.

Further to the NR2K results announcement during the plenary session, ‘Communication ratings: who, how and what is being counted?’ round table was conducted, while provocative topic ‘In a queue... Manipulating customer expectations and emotions when there are abundant proposals of the identical products and services ’ was discussed next door. The participants concluded that manipulation was not always the sign of the bad influence and could also serve the positive aims.

The problems of the creativity in Russia and possible ways of development were looked through during the ‘Native creative: problems of Russian creativity in advertising and PR ’ discussion.

Three other round tables were devoted to the newest instruments in communications, like digita (Utilization of digital-instruments in order to build reputation  ), corporate video(Corporate video as a most promising PR tool in the era of multimedia and the  domination of visual information ) and Public Engagement (From crowdsourcing to public Engagement: technologies of involvement in communications).

Next Baltic Weekend will be held in September 2015 and will be the 15th, jubilee forum. Organizing Committee will continue successful experiments, began this year, and discuss new topics, proposed by participants.