Three members of the ReSoMe team were lucky enough to attend last night’s CPRS event “Dine and Discuss: A Taste of Conversation.” The evening took place over a delicious dinner at Fraser Cafe, and each table was able to spend an hour with three different speakers. The mix of experiences and outlooks each person brought to the table made for diverse, engaging conversation, and the informal setting allowed everyone to ask questions and add input. Dine & Discuss was a preview of what is to come at the 2013 CPRS Conference, “Change the Conversation,” and an opportunity for the speakers to gain feedback before their workshops in June. If our experience was any indication, the conference is going to be an insightful event you will not want to miss! If you haven’t yet, make sure to head over to the website and register: http://conversations2013.cprs.ca/
Track One: Attended by Ali and Chelsea
Kelly Rusk discussed social media monitoring and the untapped insight it can provide for brands. We spoke about the lack of validity in many of the existing monitoring programs and the challenge of collecting data. For example, how is a Klout score measured and what does it actually tell us? Can sentiment analysis really be done by a computer when even people disagree whether posts are positive or neutral? Kelly also touched on how we can better use monitoring tools to run successful campaigns and show that social media drives sales. Data can easily sit on an executive’s desk, so it is important to present data in a way that is clear, concise and actionable.
Howard Williamson introduced the World Café Process, which is a round-table discussion aimed at getting ideas flowing and conversations started in an informal, judgement-free environment. He also asked the question: how does one go from being a PR practitioner to a CEO? Many around Ali and Chelsea’s tables agreed that taking risks and getting to know all aspects of a company were crucial components, as well as knowing how your team best responds to leadership and what type of guidance leads them to produce their best work.
Mark Blevis introduced what he calls the Ghost in the Machine, which is the soul behind a campaign, photo or video; a thread of authenticity that people can relate and connect to. A photo of an oil plant is just a photo, but a photo of a duck covered in oil is a story people can share and support. We also chatted about his dislike of the word “viral” and the idea that we can purposefully create a campaign of such magnitude. At what point does something become viral and how much control do we really have?
Track Two: Attended by Chris
Derek Lothian was first up at my table, and spoke about the relevance of association membership in today’s digital world. He talked about people’s motivations for joining associations, as well as the benefits of being a part of one. One thing I took away from his talk is that motivation not only differs from person to person, but also changes through time. It’s important to continually identify people’s reasons for joining associations and cater your message to directly support them.
Fraser Likely gave a very concise and insightful talk about the standards and best practices in measurement. I believe in the business model that everything you do should be measured, so this was a great treat for me. We talked about a variety of models, as well as the changing landscape for PR professionals who wish to measure and report their work. The bottom line: everything you do should either engage or attract, and this should be reflected in the data!
Danielle Cote sat down with us to discuss how to get a seat at the big boys’ table. In other words, how do you create enough value for your company that you get an open invitation to senior management meetings? We talked about a number of principles, including offering value, accepting challenges, finding mentors and capitalizing on opportunity. The idea I took away, and a theme I noticed throughout the night, is that crisis management, aversion and problem solving should be seen as an occupational opportunity for professionals in communication.
All in all, a wonderful evening! Thank you to Victoria Procunier for organizing an engaging event at a fantastic venue – bravo!
And the food? It was clearly a huge hit…