Monday, July 23, 2012

PRSA Midwest District shines in Chicago

For two days in July, more than 150 public relations professionals and educators from nine states gathered in the Windy City for the 2012 Midwest District Conference.

Digital Megaphone, ConAgra Foods, Edelman Digital Discuss Bloggers
Hope Bertram of Digital Megaphone, Dan Skinner of ConAgra Foods and Caleb Gardner of Edelman Digital discuss blogger relations at the 2012 PRSA Midwest District Conference.
The conference, which was held at the Water Tower Campus of Loyola University, started out with a talk by Al Golin, founder of GolinHarris. Golin shared stories from his career, including the key to long-term relationships (keeping them current and not taking them for granted), the three Cs that he looks for in job candidates (current, creative and curious), and ethics (“In the good old days, ethics wasn’t different – people just didn’t get caught.”)

Next, attendees learned from two crisis communications experts:  Jack Yeo of MSLGROUP Americas and John R. Brooks, APR, of North Park University. They focused on eight laws of crisis communications:
  1. Protecting reputation is not about the crisis, but rather how you handle it;
  2. Be aware of the world around you;
  3. There is no excuse for not planning;
  4. A swift response is required;
  5. Understand the impact of today’s digital democracy;
  6. Always operate with transparency;
  7. Never stand alone; and
  8. Never forget to rebuild.
Yeo and Brooks offered numerous case studies along the way, and encouraged attendees to be among the 54 percent of companies that are prepared for a crisis.

Several breakout sessions throughout the day provided attendees with plenty of choices. Topics for the breakouts ranged from community engagement to personal brands to mentoring, measurement and more.

The afternoon closed out with a talk on transparency from Andy Shaw, president and CEO of Better Government Association, and a media panel with three journalists from Chicago. The media panel included strong opinions from Robert Feder of Time Out Chicago, who said, “Because of social media, we don’t need you, and you don’t need us.”

On the second day, Mary Henige of General Motors started out the morning with an overview of her company’s approach to social media. Breakout sessions followed on a variety of topics including:  mobile communications, social media, ethics and transparency, employee engagement, media relations, and blogger relations.

The second day closed with a power-packed panel featuring representatives from Google, Twitter, and Facebook discussing what’s new at their networks.

The conference was preceded by a Midwest District Leadership QuickStart. QuickStart attendees were treated to an intimate session with Cheryl Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA, who shared her insights on leadership and innovation.

PRSA Midwest District Conference attendees raved about the conference and shared their excitement for what the 2013 conference will have in store.
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