The IABC EMENA Leadership Institute – Unorthodox Approaches to Communication


Sitting quietly in the Baltic region of north-east Europe is Lithuania, stamped by its astounding capital city, Vilnius. Widely known for its beautiful, historical architecture and status as a thriving, up-and-coming tourist destination, Vilnius was the perfect site for great minds to gather for the IABC EMENA Leadership Institute 2018.

As attendees flew from cities in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the event’s hosts excitedly welcomed communications professionals for a two-day affair of talks, workshops and collaborative learning. Here’s my key take-aways.

The Principals of Persuasion

Inspired by the work of Robert Cialdini, Alex Malouf asked how we can redefine the concept of influence. According to the theory, understanding key shortcuts – reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking and consensus – can increase success.

Alex Malouf discussing unorthodox approaches to communication.

Chatting with Chat Bots

Jasna Suhadolc of Virtua PR brought attention to the successes of web chat bots. In customer service there is a noticeable spectrum of sophistication when it comes to chat bots, but they are here to stay and have the potential to shorten the duration of the sales cycle and can qualify leads.

The Demons of Deprofessionalisation

As marketing and internal communication industries begin to integrate and tap into one another’s successes, Mike Klein reminded the audience how important it is to retain a specialism. During the panel discussion, Mike’s stance was that blurred lines between one discipline and another are becoming a commonplace which may become the detriment of specialism in communications.

The Certainties of Certification

IABC director Michael Nord highlighted the necessity of recognition in the field of communication. In particular, how we need certification to ensure constant learning opportunities and the maintenance of industry standards.

The G-Spot of Europe

As part of a campaign to increase the visibility of Vilnius and reposition the destination as a millennial hotspot, Inga Romanovskienė used sex to sell, so to speak. “Once you find it, it’s amazing,” the campaign declares. Within just a few weeks in the public eye, Inga’s alternative approach to tourism marketing was one of the Leadership Institute’s most popular attractions.

Inga Romanovskienė, creator of the G-Spot of Europe campaign.

The Lure of Lore

Andrius Grigorjevas delivered an enlightening presentation on how to hook your audience using their natural intrigue. Like gamers collecting breadcrumbs to piece a story together, internal communication specialists must collaborate with their audience to effectively engage with them. In addition, the UX of gaming – such as menu design and interface – can be used as inspiration for the structure of ecommerce sites.

On Reflection

The IABC EMENA Leadership Institute was a complete eye-opener. It was expertly executed by the wonderful Vija Valentukonyte, IABC EMENA Board Member and allowed for an open forum for discussion on various issues we’re all facing.

It’s through listening to the unique perspectives of our peers that we can develop our practices further and refine our relationships with our audiences.