Al Arabiya English hosted communications veteran Lord Timothy Bell, Chairman of public relations firm Bell Pottinger, as part of a panel discussion on the PR industry last Thursday, March 10. The event was moderated by Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Al Arabiya English and attended by government representatives, public relations industry professionals and senior journalists, as part of an ongoing series – Al Arabiya News Global Discussions, an initiative created by Al Arabiya News during its relaunch in order to bolster understanding, encourage dialogue and find ways to bridge the communication gap between the MENA region and the rest of the world. Lord Bell offered his opinions on a number of topics, including Britain’s membership in the EU, the ‘war of words’ against ISIS as well as the rise of social media and how this has brought more opportunities to reach more specific audiences.
“The essence of public relations is to use third party endorsement to inform and persuade…none of that has changed,” says Lord Bell, referring to social and digital media and the PR process. “It’s the same skill and the art of it is to have an idea that you communicate with the same power to capture the imagination of the people you’re talking to, which makes them change the way they think and the way they behave.”