The IPA is listening

ipa I’ve always thought of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) as a bit of a disconnected professional body, one that’s not quite in step with the realities of what’s happening in the professional trenches, as it were, regarding social media.

I say this as non-advertising man not immersed in that profession. Nevertheless, that is my impression.

So reading Amelia Torode’s account of The future of advertising in a networked society, a professional development event at the IPA’s 44 Club in London a few days ago, focused on social media, I was expecting to shake my head in sympathy at Amelia’s words describing her impressions of what she experienced.

For instance:

[…] It was poor. I hate to bad-blog, but it really didn’t come across as imagainative or fresh or even very interesting. It was just dull. If "conversations" are at the heart of Social Media, then this just missed the mark. Was the objective of the research to scare agencies with guess-timations about where advertising revenue were to be found in the future? Was the research designed to bring to life the theory of crowd-dynamics? Was it designed to provide methodologies and case studies? I am not sure.

Amelia’s entire post is worth reading: it’s a critical assessment of an event and its organization that’s written from the heart in a wholly constructive way, one of the best bits of constructive criticism I’ve read in a long time.

That could have been the end of it as so many such critical blog posts often are: a resounding silence other than a comment here or blog post there from other professional bloggers making sympathetic noises.

But something interesting happened on Amelia’s post the day after she published it when the IPA came a-visiting:

Hi Amelia

Nigel from the IPA here. I’m on the case. We are listening and want to build on everyone’s feedback.

Maybe we weren’t clear enough that it was intended as accessible learning for advertising and marketing folk running businesses but not necessarily fully immersed in the subject.

Irrespective of that, we’re going to set something up to make this more participatory and more relevant to you and your peers.


“I’m on the case. We are listening.” A half dozen or so very powerful words. No defence of the indefensible. No blustering attack on Amelia’s words. Just “We are listening.”

Good for you, Nigel from the IPA. You just changed my whole view about your association.

Incidentally, note how Amelia’s post begins:

Just like Graeme I wasn’t going to blog about this, but there were so many tweets and emails flying around last night and this morning that I felt that I really ought to.

Twitter is such a word of mouth megaphone.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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