PRSA Portland Metro Chapter

Communicators Conference 2013: Takeaways


May 13


A few PRSA Portland Metro Chapter Board Members shared their thoughts on the 2013 Communicators Conference.

Barbara Kerr, APR

My favorite memory of the 2013 Communicators Conference was the honor of standing on the stage in the Governor Hotel ballroom and looking out to see the hundreds of communications professionals who had joined us.

They came from agencies. Businesses. Nonprofits. Government. Some support large organizations. Others work at small firms. That day, we were one community.

So, on behalf of that community, I was very proud when KGW NewsChannel 8 did a feature story on the conference. It’s an excellent piece.  If you missed it, check it out online.

My conference takeaways included:

  • Keynoter Shel Holtz: Today, every company must become a media company.
  • Keynoter Jim Endicott: Why should someone believe your messages if they don’t believe you?
  • Keynoter Lee Odden: Your goals and objectives are only as good as your ability to measure them.
  • Keynoter Brian David Johnson: Thinking about the future in a different way.

To everyone who supported the conference – the chairs, committees, boards, volunteers, sponsors and attendees – a heartfelt thank-you.

On Twitter, Robert Leary put it perfectly. This year’s conference was #BestYet.

David Thompson, APR

There were almost t too many takeaways in our one-day conference! Several resonated with me:

  • Shel Holtz proclaiming that communications strategy should be platform-independent: “You shouldn’t have a ‘Facebook strategy;’ you should have a comprehensive communications strategy that encompasses the Facebook platform, among others.” Shel pointed out that we’re in the business of nurturing our communities via consistent commitment, not building platform-specific audiences using serial, short-term (and unconnected) campaigns. Strategy, not tactic!
  • Lee Odden reminding us that content is the lynchpin of any communications strategy: “Content is the currency for building social relationships…” He also reminded us of how the world changed under our feet last year when the Internet upgraded to IPv6: Odden calls it “ubiquitous connectivity,” citing the prediction of 50 billion connected devices by 2020. This will change how we live in ways we can’t yet see. And he emphasized Holtz’s proclamation, challenging us to answer: What new skills are we developing to remain relevant in a world of unified communications strategies encompassing messaging, content marketing, social media, SEO, advertising, measurement, etc.?
  • Michael Pranikoff glibly, gamely trying to update his slides even as his room filled with people because his track workshop followed Odden’s keynote and Pranikoff was making some of the same points. “I don’t want to repeat!” he worried. My thought: “Damn! You’re BOTH good!” Pranikoff went on to move the needle—as usual—by providing specific, practical advice on what types of content work best at what stage of the ‘marketing funnel,’ even tossing in when and why specific kinds of content should or shouldn’t be gated.
  • A panel of experts led by Maxwell PR exec Jen Scott showcasing examples of how to build realistic communications strategies: Choose a particular target group; find a unique differentiation for your brand that resonates with that target group; build content around that. Sound familiar? And just a few slides later, the panel produced a concise table of when to use what content on what platform for what purpose…Darn! They’re ALL good!
  • And finally, Intel futurist Brian David Johnson echoed some of Odden’s statements earlier in the day. As chips get smaller even as they get more powerful, “computational power will become…ubiquitous!” He, too, left us with a challenge: How are we using our powers of communication to not just educate, inform, market and sell…but to do good?

The Communicators Conference continues to help us remain relevant, if not retain some sense of calm in the sea change of new technology that continues on all sides. We’ll work on that last part for next year.

Brad Hilliard

The great thing about Communicators Conference is that you come for the great key notes, but find your motivation in the track sessions. Ann Shatz was relevant, informative and moving. All of our work is meaningless unless it touches the heart of your audience.

The three I’s are now posted on my wall and front of mind:

  • Include – Make sure everyone on the team feels they have something to contribute.
  • Influence – Mentoring is a gift! Share it with others.
  • Inspire – Touch the heart, meet people where their passion lies.

Michael Riley, APR

The atmosphere was electric, as an over-capacity crowd squeezed into the Governor Hotel to open the event.  Speaker Lee Odden flooded the luncheon attendees with a fire hose of information about maximizing the impact of online communications.  The day was a veritable who’s whom of northwest communicators.

Julie Williams

notesThanks for sending us a picture of your notes Julie!


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