Preparing for and Networking at Conferences

As the annual PRSA International and PRSSA National conferences approach, I’ve been getting a lot of questions (primarily from students) about how and what to do to network. I’ll be presenting/speaking about this at Southeast Missouri State University’s PRSSA chapter meeting tomorrow and wanted to share a round-up of articles I’ve found insightful over the years. Some of these are a few years old so you please ignore any geographic or time-specific references–the content itself provides valuable tips.

Recommended reading, in no particular order:

Have additional thoughts, tips, suggested reading? SHARE, please!

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Being the Hybrid PR Professional

New Pros Panel. Photo by Tressa Robbins.

New Pros Panel at PRSAICon. Photo by Tressa Robbins.

The most successful public relations campaigns are cohesive, tackling traditional PR and digital and social marketing and advertising to reach targeted audience. At a session at this year’s PRSA International Conference, three relatively new pros spoke about being the hybrid PR professional and spreading campaigns across multiple platforms.

Lauren Gray, Jonathan “JR” Rochester and Jess Noonan—all former national PRSSA officers, now members of the New Professionals PRSA section, discussed how today’s PR pro must be a hybrid and understand not only the the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, but when it’s appropriate to use which one. They talked about how the new PR pro’s skills must go beyond traditional PR and media relations to address the demand for integrated campaigns. NOTE: See my last post on the Clorox campaign as a great example of an integrated campaign.

PR, by definition, has changed in the past 30 years, as have the skills required to do the job. This “dream team” of young professionals talked about flexibility and handling change (seemingly effortlessly) as being critical characteristics of the new PR professional. They quoted Deirdre Breakenridge, an experienced public relations professional and author of several books on the intersection of technology and public relations, who said, “Public Relations is becoming more integrated with marketing and advertising. It’s important to embrace new technology to do justice to the brand. All areas should be working together.”

To further prove the point, they showed a recent job description (see image below)—pointing out that it’s not just writing press releases and pitching stories to the media, but the qualified job candidate will also need to have a basic understanding of business strategy, be able to perform thorough research and create proposals, have strong writing skills for content creation, ethical common sense, social media acumen, as well as being able to track key metrics and provide measurement tie-backs to KPIs.HybridPRslide

It seemed to me that the one constant is that things are constantly changing in this industry, and we are its perpetual students.

This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on October 29, 2014, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2014/10/being-the-hybrid-pr-professional and is cross-posted here with permission.

Don’t Cry Over Ick: How Bleachable Moments Changed the Clorox Conversation

Slide from presentation, Clorox and Ketchum

Slide from presentation, Clorox and Ketchum

One of the best sessions I attended at the PRSA 2014 International Conference was on how a 100+ year-old company launched a multi-media campaign to become relevant to Millennials. Rita Gorenberg, manager of public relations and social media at The Clorox Company and Leslie Schrader, partner and director of DC Brand Marketing Practice, consumer health and wellness, at Ketchum, explained the who, what, how, and how much (outcomes/measurement) of this campaign.

Research

The target audience is what they called “newly responsible” consumers. Research showed that young parents aren’t afraid to talk about life’s messy moments. Conversations and videos were already happening online about these messes but there was no conversation about where it goes next – the cleanup phase.

The key insights that were garnered from the research were:

  • Consumers gather information online
  • Market WITH Millennials, not AT them
  • Social media is embedded in the Millennials’ life – case in point, video on YouTube where kids make a mess with flour –mom’s first instinct was to grab video and share
  • Most conversations were about the “3 P’s”—pee, poop, puke
  • Content is NOT king with Millennials—context is

Strategy

The strategy was “See mess, hear mess, speak mess.”

  • See mess: “Talk to dirty to me”
  • Hear mess: Share all things messy via “bleachable moments”
  • Speak mess: Create a language of mess, based on the “ick-speriences” of the newly responsibles

Execution

They created the “Ick-tionary, your wiki for the icky.” To do this, they sought out “ick-sperts” (influencers) mommy bloggers, daddy bloggers, comedians, in order to use popular language (not Clorox’s terms) that resonates—such as poo-nami. Language had to be genuine and authentic or it wouldn’t work.

There were other demographics, such as millennials without kids, which were targeted. “Bleachable moments” was launched from Las Vegas with people on the street video interviews filling-in the blanks “I _____ my ______ in Vegas”. They used paid media such as digital billboards and taxi cab toppers, but the on-the-ground activation of these interviews pulled in earned media as it gave the media something to talk about.

This campaign had multiple components across multi-media platforms—from traditional PR and advertising to digital and web-based application, so Ketchum worked with other agencies to ensure Clorox was getting the best of the best in each area.

Measurement

So, did it work? Yes, both internally and externally—by posting Ick-tionary terms in office bathrooms, it re-empowered employees, giving them something new to talk about. It drove social interaction – it was #1 nationwide trending on Twitter (which would’ve been a $200,000 buy). Conversation around Clorox in conjunction with “messes” and “cleanup” rose 18 percent. Online connections between Clorox and general messes increased 142 percent. Conversations around all Clorox brands increased across the board. “Bleachable moments” conversation volume increased 200 percent. Activities resulted in nearly a million page views, 12 million Twitter impressions, and 63 million media impressions.

Finally, where it really counts, the brand perception shifted—a 10 percent increase in brand favorability and an 8 percent increase in purchase interest (5 percent was the goal). I’d call that a “clean” success!

This post by Tressa Robbins originally appeared on October 27, 2014, on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog at http://www.burrellesluce.com/freshideas/2014/10/dont-cry-over-ick-how-bleachable-moments-changed-the-clorox-conversation and is cross-posted here with permission.