Marking 40 years, a community of professional communicators keeps pace with an increasingly complex landscape
Photo: IABC London chapter president, Andrew Kaszowski
IF YOU’RE OF a certain age you may remember what mass communication was like 40 years ago. There were at most two to three TV channels and a handful of radio stations. At a certain time of night, television went off the air (24-hour broadcasting started in 1988).
The Blackburn family had a strong grip on London’s local news feeds, including radio, television and the daily newspaper. There were no websites or social media, smartphones or tablets. And if you were a communications professional, your daily routine was much simpler than it is today.
But it was demanding enough that local communicators decided to establish a local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, installing Diny Dalby as the chapter’s first president.
“People are bombarded with a huge volume of information—how we break through the noise and resonate with our audiences is a fine art and science” —Andrew Kaszowski
“The definition of what professional communicators do in their day-to-day work has shifted and expanded greatly since our inception in October 1979,” says current chapter president, Andrew Kaszowski. “People are bombarded with a huge volume of information—how we break through the noise and resonate with our audiences is a fine art and science. We are constantly working to build our brands, to connect with audiences and to allow them to connect directly with us. We manage websites and social media profiles, build relationships with journalists and brand ambassadors and create relevance for our organizations among the overwhelming amount of messages that our audiences take in every day.”
To help its 150-plus members keep pace with industry trends and demands, the local IABC publishes a monthly e-newsletter, organizes ongoing professional development activities and offers opportunities for industry peers to connect and share information and best practices. At an international level, the IABC has established the Global Communication Certification Council through which professional communicators can also obtain Communication Management Professional (CMP) or the Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP) certification.
The London chapter draws members from across the region, east to Waterloo and west to Windsor, who typically work in marketing, PR, corporate communications, advertising, HR, external communications or government relations. Students in public relations and communications programs at Fanshawe and Western automatically become IABC members as part of their programs and are offered transitional memberships after graduation.
“They recognize the importance of being part of a professional organization, and it becomes part of their career evolution,” says Kaszowski. “The people you meet at IABC meetings become part of your circle.”
Just as communications to target audiences have shifted largely to digital platforms, so too has IABC’s communications to its membership—but not totally. “We have a very robust social media presence,” says Kaszowski, “but members also like to meet face to face. IABC London has maintained its relevance by fostering the connection between peers—that hasn’t changed in 40 years.”
On June 6, past and present members will gather to celebrate the chapter’s Ruby Jubilee. Dalby will be on hand for the event, and Kaszowski expects other past members will also come out to fete IABC London’s 40th anniversary.
“Last year, we grew our membership 23 per cent. We aspire to remain relevant to our membership for another 40 years and then some. The need for strategic, honest and relevant messages will only get more important to our audiences as the volume and speed of communication continues to increase.” Kym Wolfe