ASU PRSSA: What I learned at National Conference

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ASU PRSSAEditor’s Note:  HMA Public Relations was pleased to sponsor the ASU PRSSA chapter’s representatives at the international conference.  As part of our commitment, we asked Taylor Bishop to share her perspective on the conference.

The theme of the 2017 PRSA International Conference was “The Spirit of Revolution,” which was fitting in that attending the conference was revolutionary for the four members of the ASU PRSSA Chapter that had the opportunity to attend. We each brought with us different backgrounds and interests and were excited to hear from the renowned speakers, network with our peers and PR pros and get to explore the beautiful city of Boston.

I have been a member of ASU PRSSA since my freshman year of college and am now in my senior semester. This was my first time attending conference and I was excited to finally see what is was all about. Through PRSSA I have gained internships, mentors and of course, lifelong friends. Attending the PRSSA and PRSA National Conference helped me solidify my passion for public relations and gain better insight into the industry.ASU PRSSA

The PRSSA sessions began on Saturday with keynote speaker Jon Iwata, the Chief Branding Officer of IBM. One of my biggest takeaways from Iwata was that “creating content to be consumed is one thing, creating content to be shared is another.” He also noted the importance of measurement and set a precedent for the rest of the weekend with fascinating information on IBM Watson and how it can help the advertising and PR world.

My favorite sessions were with Judy Smith and Jay Baer (I couldn’t choose just one)! If you’ve ever watched a little show called Scandal, then you probably recognize the name Judy Smith. Smith, a press secretary for the Bush Administration and crisis management expert, was a celebrity in the PRSSA session. Hundreds of hands shot up as Smith chose the next question while each attendee tried to get a selfie with the inspiration for Olivia Pope. I could go on and on about her lessons, but my key takeaways were:

  • Ensure ethics by starting with your own personal ethics and knowing the facts
  • If you prepare, you have an 80% chance of recovering from a crisis better
  • Work has to be rooted in integrity so do a good job, always with values and ethics

Jay Baer was the final speaker of the PRSA general session. Baer is the founder of Convince & Convert and helps businesses gain and keep more customers through the intersection of technology, social media and customer service. The most profound idea Baer presented was the importance of talk triggers and how PR needs to be in the driver's seat of the conversation.

Talk triggers must be:

  • Remarkable
  • Repeatable
  • Realistic
  • Relevant

Talk triggers also need to be genuine and different. A perfect example of a talk trigger is the beagle used to return missing items on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. How could you not naturally talk about a beagle who delivers your lost headphones?!

I could go on and on about what I took away from National Conference and can’t wait to return as a PR pro next year. Thank you to my fellow ASU PRSSA members Alena Sanderson, Dani Ganley and Austin Miller for making this the best trip I could imagine.

We would like to give a huge thank you to HMA PR for their help getting us to conference as a sponsor! It was great seeing Rachel at the conference and getting to snap a picture with Jay Baer and Michelle Olson.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

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