At the “PR Impact Awards” Conference – Special Focus on Crisis Communication, Event Program Announced


On June 7, the largest annual event for the communication community, “PR Impact Awards 2024,” will take place in Vilnius. Participants at the conference will hear presentations from Lithuanian and international experts, the best communication projects of the year will be presented, and the evening will conclude with awards for the best and the announcement of special nominations – “Test of Publicity” and “Opinion Leader”. We will also find out who won the titles of “Agency of the Year” and “Communicator of the Year”. The event organizers have announced the event program.

Tickets for the event can be purchased on the “PR Impact Awards” website. This year’s theme is “Crises Hit on Fridays: The Role of Communication in a World of Uncertainty”. The heads of the organizing associations – Chairman of the Board of the Lithuanian Communication Association (LTKA), Donatas Kuras, and Chairman of the Board of the Lithuanian Communication Industry (KIA), Vaidotas Vyšniauskas – discuss why special attention is given to the topic of crises this year.

How Has Crisis Communication Changed?

D. Kuras notes that the theme was chosen this year for a reason: “For some time now, the word that best describes the world we live in is uncertainty. We know how everything can change in just one day. The pandemic and the new phase of the war against Ukraine started by Russia a few years ago have proven this”.

He observes that understanding potential crises is not always straightforward even in the face of such events. “When it’s your business, your organization, some people begin to deny the threat. Those who ignore the situation or, in the case of war, try to ‘bypass’ sanctions face enormous public pressure. We’ve seen several such examples, and the current issues are reflected in this year’s conference theme,” explains the LTKA Board Chairman.

According to V. Vyšniauskas, crises of various levels occur constantly, but the increased number of communication channels and accessible tools have brought them much closer to every member of society. “Events that used to go unnoticed or were discussed in narrow circles often become the subject of broad discussions and escalate crises. Many communication professionals are used to such situations, so their situation hasn’t changed significantly, but for people, dealing with the increased wave of crises has become more difficult,” notes V. Vyšniauskas.

He continues, stating that crisis communication itself has changed over the past decades: “Previously, the internal life of organizations was a closed territory, but now people are increasingly interested in it and learning more about it. This means we can no longer rely on the closed nature of organizations and must always consider the worst-case scenario. If something is internal, it is likely to end up in the public sphere, as information can reach it through thousands of channels.”

Causes of Crises Lie in Actions

According to V. Vyšniauskas, organizational leaders should keep communication people as close to themselves as possible – appoint them to the board or other decision-making structures. “Often, communicators are the first to notice small ‘burns,’ the beginning of a smoldering crisis, and can then directly signal and advise the leader. This way, the crisis management team forms naturally, without any plans,” says the KIA Board Chairman, adding that this can often help prevent a crisis or stop it from becoming a catastrophe.

D. Kuras points out that changes in social media and the press sometimes lead to events being called crises that don’t deserve the label. “Sensationally formed media or influencer messages can create the image of a crisis. We live in times of constant rush, characterized by a thirst for ‘blood,’ quick lynch trials, which is a bad phenomenon not only for businesses but also for our society. Due to one sharp post, organizations might start thinking that the sky is falling, that a crisis has occurred. It’s important to think about how we look, but we need to remember that the causes of crises primarily lie in actions, not communication,” emphasizes the communication professional.

The Growing Importance of Sustainability Issues

Based on a study conducted by the media analysis company “Mediaskopas”, the most controversial topics were in the energy, trade, and waste management sectors. “Crises that arise in these areas are often closely related to social responsibility. It is clear that this and other sustainability issues – environmental protection, impact on the environment, working conditions, governance – are receiving more and more public attention. I see clearly that most crises arise from poor governance: non-compliance with requirements, lack of operational and business ethics, unmanaged risks, and inadequate prevention systems,” lists the communication and sustainability expert D. Kuras.

He believes that implementing sustainability helps organizations: “I think that attention to these topics will only grow. A part of sustainability is risk identification and assessment, which helps to anticipate critical points, and communication specialists can help prepare appropriate prevention plans. Unmanaged processes are clearly visible. They, along with arrogant tactics, can cause a reputational crisis, but this does not necessarily mean a business crisis. Furthermore, if a business behaves ethically, the risk of any crisis is significantly reduced.”

V. Vyšniauskas concludes that we often want each organization to operate like a mechanism, following simple rules, but an organization is an organism that can be affected by thousands of internal and external factors, changing the usual rhythm. For this reason, it is often impossible to apply a set of crisis management rules, which, generally, are very simple, so improvisation is necessary each time. “It often happens that decision-makers close themselves off and don’t want to do anything. Unfortunately, waiting it out is usually not enough, as even an internal crisis eventually becomes public and can become so serious that it has consequences for business continuity,” notes the KIA Board Chairman.

Presentation of the Latest Communication Market Research and Speeches

This year, at the “PR Impact Awards 2024” event, not only local professionals but also guests from abroad will speak about crisis communication and other relevant topics.

Independent risk, crisis, and critical situation communication consultant, author of the guide “Mastering Crisis Communications with ChatGPT”, and creator of the international crisis communication newsletter “Wag The Dog”, Philippe Borremans, will give a remote presentation on “New Crisis Communication Rules and the Role of AI”. Professor at the Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, chair of the “Digital Communication Awards” evaluation committee, and author and host of the podcast “Women in PR”, Dr. Ana Adi, will answer what competencies a communication specialist needs in the modern world in her remote presentation.

Marijus Briedis, Chief Technology Officer at “Nord Security”, will talk about how technology can cause a crisis, and Vilūnė Kairienė, Head of Data Solutions and Analysis at “Mediaskopas”, will discuss whether, based on data, it is better to remain silent or to speak during a crisis. Ignas Zokas, head of “Spinter Research”, will present the results of the annual communication market study. The event will also feature discussions about the importance of emotional resilience and the role of communication in wartime. Additionally, there will be a conversation with the finalists of the “Communicator of the Year” contest.

The “PR Impact Awards” traditionally consists of three parts: conference presentations and discussions, presentations of the best communication projects that made it to the finals, and the evening awards ceremony. During the ceremony, the best communication projects, as well as the “Agency of the Year” and “Communicator of the Year”, will be revealed. Winners of the special nominations – “Business Opinion Leader” and “Test of Publicity” – will also be announced. Tickets for the “PR Impact Awards 2024” can be purchased here.

The conference and best communication project awards “PR Impact Awards” are organized for the 11th time by the Lithuanian Communication Association (LTKA) together with the Communication Industry Association (KIA). The event partners are the media analysis company “Mediaskopas,” the marketing and communication news portal “M360”, and the sociological research company “Spinter Research”. More information at 

PR Impact Awards 2024