Posts Tagged ‘#PRNEWS’

Do we have too many conferences?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Basta!  I had a pretty thick queue for speaking engagements this fall: PRSA’s employee communication section conference was scheduled for Sept. 10-11, but got moved to next year due to low registrations. I was planning to sponsor a speaker, introduce a couple of them, and generally boost my PRSA profile and meet some new folks. I decided not to attend the international conference in San Francisco because I was doing #prsaec.

No prob – the IABC Heritage Region Conference beckoned. I sponsored, and wound up facilitating a breakout session and speaking on the end of conference panel. Sweet! Plus, the IABC PRIME Global Strategic Communication & Measurement Conference was coming up Nov. 12-13 in NYC, and I was speaking on internal communication measurement. Now, that one is cancelled too. WTF?

If I were a baseball player, a .333 batting average would get me into the All-Star Game, but 1 for 3 on speaking engagements isn’t very good. Why is this happening?

It sure seems like there are a lot of conferences. IABC’s world shindig is in June (and in NYC ’13), and PRSA’s big dance is in October. Both the big shows alternate regions, but I know that if they’re in California, I typically pass due to time away from the office and expensive airfare. I like the Heritage Region conference (four years in a row) – it’s a great program and is close enough to drive. With both Heritage and PRSA virtually the same weekend (it was pretty interesting when IABC was in Philly and PRSA in DC), and budgets under pressure — maybe trying to do a September and November gig is a bad idea.

The smaller conferences that focus on a specific domain of knowledge or functional area should have a lower nut to crack on attendance – I’d think 75 attendees in NYC or Chicago should be doable. But IABC is also running a conference the first week of December on “strategic communication for executives.” Then there’s Ragan, PRNews, ALI, WOMMA, all the social media gigs…We’re conferring a lot. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised if some fetes are failing to fill.

The irritating part is booking myself into some things, and therefore missing others — the Conclave on social media standards, for one, and an Institute for PR Measurement Commission meeting, for another.  Plus, I’ve worked on planning several of these conferences, and it’s no picnic. You’d hope that PRSA and IABC would have their act together on how to market these effectively.

What’s the answer?

I have no idea.




Mastercard’s Locke Impresses at Measurement Conference

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Linda Locke showed the 200 or so attendees at PRNews’s Measurement Conference a sophisticated reputation measurement program filled with excellent strategy and intuitive, interesting metrics.

At the heart of the strategy is the statement, “behave well; communicate what matters.”

Locke, group head of reputation and issues management, identified three main influences to reputation: Stakeholder Experiences, corporate initiatives and messaging, and third party conversations. Mastercard’s measurement efforts concentrate in all three of these influences, drawing upon extent information in the media and direct research in other areas. The company’s “reputation framework” includes seven dimensions — leadership, performance, products/services, innovation, workplace, governance and citizenship — that contribute to four outcomes.

Feeling, esteem, admire and trust summarize the messages that the company transmits and evaluates among its stakeholders.

Specifically, Mastercard looks at issues specific to their industry, tracking the life cycle of each through 16 vehicles, breaking down specific types of media, academic research, talk radio, conferences and symposia, Web postings and chatter.

Because fear is such a potent driver of opinion, Mastercard attends to its potential presence in the vehicles it tracks — yet doesn’t overestimate the ability of public relations activity to manage through that fear. Instead, Locke says, Mastercard seeks to simply demonstrate its reputation through its organizational behavior, not simply its public relations behavior.

Locke summarized the reality of reputation management thus:

  • Messages in the media create a reaction
  • Absent first-hand experience, stakeholders modify their beliefs based on the information environment
  • Some outcomes of media coverage are predictable
  • The media itself is a rich source of market intelligence that can be mined
  • Third-party measurement is essential to bring objectivity to PR
  • Communications people are well-positioned to protect the company

One reason I saw such value on Locke’s presentation is that it embodied the ethical public relations framework that the largest percentage of those of us in the profession live by. Too many media stories about PR focus on the exact reverse — the “spin doctors and liars” frame. The presentation also demonstrated that measurement and evaluation are gaining influence in the profession — a necessary development as we move from tactical excellence to strategic imperative.


PR News Measurement Conference an Interesting Event

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

More to follow on this, but I had the fortune to join Ogilvy’s Michelle Rios and Tim Keefe of JP Morgan Chase Card Services on a panel on internal communication measurement yesterday.

The conference was filled with interesting information and hindered only slightly by fairly large panels that required individuals to spend just a few minutes speaking. Otherwise, it was terrific — I’ll report on a few of my favorite presentations in upcoming posts.

Meanwhile, thanks and kudos to my co-panelists, moderator Courtney Barnes (PR News Editor) and that august publication for putting on a great conference.

Here’s a thumbnail:
Angie Jeffrey — Institute for PR Measurement Commission colleague and VMS research and measurement maven — talked about a new way of looking at advertising effectiveness. Linda Locke of Mastercard showed off some very impressive metrics. Matt Gonring of Gagen MacDonald was his usual inspiring self as he called for integrating engagement metrics and other business data. There’s much more. See you later.