When you put a group of premier public relations experts in a room for three days, you never know what magic will happen. And this year’s conference was no exception. Our theme, “Turn it Up,” had multiple applications, including a colorful conversation of best/first concerts, and action-packed sessions on branding, social media, PR strategy, and lots more. The theme, how do we work together to “Turn it Up” for our clients, our individual firms, and most importantly, the incredible collective experience of PRConsultants Group, was prevalent throughout the jam-packed conference sessions.
Here are share some of my favorite highlights:
- Martin Waxman, APR @martinwaxman, shared “Beyond Google Maps: Navigating the PR Road Ahead” and illustrated emerging trends that marketers need to understand. The newsroom, he said, is changing, and the new “big 4” are Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Google/YouTube. He urged that PR practitioners to become “digital storytellers” and to use visuals and multimedia to amplify the message.
- Jim Garcia, a customer service expert, shared his concept of “Total Hospitality Management” in “Creating a Culture of Service Excellence.” This concept, that applies to all businesses, was readily absorbed by our group. “It’s not what you do, it’s what you do that’s extra,” Garcia said, adding that remarkable service is about passion, stories, friends, and word of mouth. Also, he said that some critical skills to master include listening, body language, telephone skills, and service with a smile.
- Steve McKee presented “Power Branding: Leveraging the Success of the World’s Best Brands.” This best-selling author of Power Branding and When Growth Stalls, said, “The brand and the business are inextricably intertwined.” McKee illustrated his concept with a pneumonic that included a free pack of CERTS to outline key tactics in brand building: Context, Expectations, Risks, Tradeoffs, and Shortcuts. Through colorful and powerful examples, McKee showed our group how the lines between journalism, advertising & entertainment are getting more and more blurred. McKee’s big idea, in my mind, one of his “Power Branding Principles,” was how important emotions are in business, that when you win the heart, the mind will follow.
- A DEVENEY case study from our PRConsultants Group incoming President John Deveney and a nationally renowned PR practitioner, showed members how to apply creativity, resources, and quick thinking to help clients prosper. Deveney also included inside media tips on how to secure collaborative thinking when stakeholders disagree.
- And our last session, “Trending: Digital Dish from the Real Social Media Mavens” welcomed Benson Hendrix, APR, Social Media Manager, University of New Mexico, to a panel of members including Leigh Fazzina, Fazzina & Co. Communications on Social Listening; Melissa Libby, Melissa Libby PR, Atlanta restaurant guru on Mastering Local Channels for the Win; and myself, Amy Smith, on Blogging Strategies for PR. Hendrix @desertronin talked about his experience with TEDxABQ and how second screen storytelling uses social & digital media to create a unique online experience. His tip: Create a V-VIP experience, as in VERY VIP experience!
Like what you hear? Follow PRCG on its public channels for more great ideas and resources on taking your campaign to the next level:
- And more to come…stay tuned for exciting announcements in the weeks ahead! Major advance hats off to Nicole Candler, who, along with her marketing committee, has spearheaded our group’s new website, which will be going live very soon…
Special thanks to this year’s Host Tom Garrity, the conference committee, our outgoing President Melanie McCraney, and our generous sponsors: BusinessWire, The 100 Companies, UpCity, The Garrity Group, and DEVENEY.
Amy Kossoff Smith, Founder/Editor of PRCG Powerlines and Founder/President of Write Ideas, Inc., has 20+ years’ experience in retail PR & promotions. She also publishes an online parenting magazine, The MomTini Lounge. Featured on The Today Show, in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and all local TV networks, she also publishes a national wire column. And for the record of this post, she ate (and thoroughly enjoyed) lots of spicy New Mexico food AND visited a honkey-tonk bar with her peers. Lots of boot kicking, foot stomping, incredible work fun!