Another successful EACD regional meeting was held on 13 June in Deloitte’s headquarters in Warsaw. The expert group discussed fake news, related threats and ways of communicating in the post-truth era.

Changes in the public perception of authority figures, including the media, have been merciless. As shown by the trends presented by Natalia Hatalska, we trust institutions less and less and our knowledge depends on our emotions to an ever greater degree - essentially, we believe what we want to believe.  At the same time, studies show that the current world order is being less and less accepted, particularly by younger respondents.  As a consequence, the rapid political changes which surprised experts over recent months were welcomed by the young.

In his presentation, Krzysztof Najder focused on the internal conflict between human aspirations and needs and the consequences of those discrepancies for communication of brands, shaping their image and market position. The erosion of authority with a simultaneous growth in the importance of (mainly online) informal relations supports dissemination of unreal information and anecdotic evidence.

Next to Natalia Hatalska and Krzysztof Najder, the panel moderated by Małgorzata Bonikowska from THINKTANK Magazine was also attended by Michał Kobosko, Łukasz Lipiński, Tomasz Machała and Grzegorz Szczepański.

On the border of journalism, corporate communication and public opinion polls, it can clearly be seen how important the current change in the mentality of the public is. The educational system paradigms have not changed since the industrial revolution, despite the fact that competences specifying the individual’s place in the world are completely different. The arrival of the information society in which knowledge is the highest value requires the ability to think critically and an analytical approach to reality. Without that, it is difficult to evaluate the truthfulness of information and its sources. Mainstream media put a lot of effort into defending themselves against fake news which nevertheless spreads on social media with speed of light. 

At the same time, the ease and popularity of social media forces brands to be always-ready and have extensive anti-crisis strategies. One post (whether true or not) might undermine an image strategy which has been worked on for years. Although risk applies to everyone today, brands that are consistently socially present via CSR activities prove to be much more resistant to it.

The event's experts agreed on the sources of the changes but not on the ways of coping with them. It is clear that post-truth affects different companies in different ways and requires an individual and refined approach. We can still create effective communication, however we need to be aware of our specific circumstances and charactersitics of our target group. 

Ewa Rzeczkowska is Public Relations and Marketing Manager at Deloitte Poland. She is also the EACD Regional Coordinator for Poland