Bernays’ international scientific conference on “Living in crisis mode: Time to reconsider definition, meaning and practice” was attended by 200 participants this year.
Communication Management Forum 2017 was opened by Bernays’ President of Board of Governors Mario Petrović, who pointed out that Bernays in 2015, organizing its first international scientific conference, has positioned itself as the educational vertical in public relations and communication management and that it is now time to move the boundaries into new branches of science. This year’s Forum was also supported by Assistant Minister of Science, Assistant Professor Tomislav Sokol and Assistant Director of the Agency for Science and Higher Education MSc Sandra Bezjak, who welcomed the holding of scientific conferences of this kind and Bernays’ contribution to information and communication sciences. Bernays’ Dean, Damir Jugo, PhD stressed in his speech the responsibility that Bernays has at this moment, not only as a higher education institution educating future communication experts, but also as a scientific institution.
The first day of Communication Management Forum 2017 was marked by the presentations of experienced experts from public relations and crisis communication, Associate Professor Piet Verhoeven and Full Professor Ana Tkalac Verčič, the round table on the topic of “Reflection of a Crisis Situation on the Image of a Tourist Destination”. Assoc. Prof. Verhoeven emphasized in his presentation that, in crisis situations, media interest grows rapidly, however, a crisis, depending on how an organization approaches it, can also be an opportunity at the same time. Full Prof. Tkalac Verčič pointed out that crises in the time in which we live has become a “normal phenomenon”, and this claim has been supported by examples of recent events in Croatia. She noted that, in Croatia, information is often provided by spokespersons in times of crisis, when it should actually be given by the head of the organization.
In addition to the keynote speakers, the round table was attended by Katarina Miličević, PhD and G.L.A. Van der Meer, PhD, and the discussion was moderated by Romana Lekić, PhD and Ivan Pakozdi, MA. Ms Miličević, from the Institute for Tourism, emphasized that Croatia has the image of a safe country, and the great influence of social networks and the adequacy of choice of different channels opens the possibility of communication of “everything we want”. Speaking about Croatia’s image, Ms Miličević, also mentioned the research she carried out with her team, where they analysed 28,000 articles, in which they found that Scandinavian countries continue to associate us with the war period. Van der Meer, PhD pointed out in the example of the flood in the Netherlands that countries in the crisis should act as organizations and that it is always advisable to emphasize positive aspects in country-related crises.
As the only college in Croatia that provides full-fledged public relations education and communication management, with the organization of its, now, traditional scientific gathering, Bernays seeks to contribute to the further development of information and communication sciences. With the latest public relations and communication management research, Communication Management Forum 2017 also brings the results of interesting research in marketing, media, politics and related disciplines, and the value of the project has been recognized and supported by Atlantic Grupa, Lider, Zagreb Tourist Board, Blitz -CineStar, Croatian National Tourist Board, Millenium promocija (MPR +), Magis tim and Catering Kvatrić.