This blog originally appeared on Courtney Finkelstein's LinkedIn
As the newest member of AxiCom’s Austin team, I had the opportunity to attend the Public Relations Society of America’s PRSA 2018 International Conference here in Texas last week.
Among several interesting workshops and speeches, Dell’s SVP of Global Communications, Stella Low, delivered a noteworthy keynote address: Impactful Storytelling in a Converging World.
As a longtime client of AxiCom, Dell turned to AxiCom U.S. President, Emily Dunlop, to introduce Stella to the packed room. For PR professionals across the industry, the following takeaways learnt from the keynotes, can certainly benefit the practices implemented in day-to-day work.
In her opening, Emily shared the recipe for what defines a successful and lasting client/agency partnership. Key ingredients, which, she emphasized have been pivotal to our relationship with Dell, include:
- Flexibility – The plans that we build initially are not right forever. As partners, we should evolve together.
- Sharing Information Freely – There is no such thing as too much information. The smarter the agency is on a client’s business, priorities and personality, the better.
- Accountability – The agency and client should share accountability for the work we do. After all, we’re ultimately pursuing the same goals.
- Respect – Basic kindness and decency go a long way in making the work we do together great.
- Embracing & Encouraging Change – Communications is so much about change. In client/agency partnerships we must embrace that change, try new approaches to our work and disrupt ourselves.
This last point segued perfectly into Stella’s presentation, which offered insight into what we as communications professionals can do to remain agile and effective in the face of change, specifically changes in technology, the media landscape and social climate.
How do Stella, her team at Dell and we at AxiCom navigate this ever-changing world to tell powerful stories? I.M.P.A.C.T:
Campaigns that focus solely on journalists are outdated and ineffective. Employees, the community and other important stakeholders are also a key consideration -- and all are reached in different ways.
The barrage of information social media presents has reduced the average attention span. In order to break through the noise, campaign messaging needs to be distilled down to a couple of lines.
Social responsibility is no longer an optional practice for companies. Millennials and Gen Z want to work for and purchase from companies that are authentically caring and ethical.
Stories must be told audience-by-audience. AI-powered smart home devices and social media algorithms have made precisely-targeted and uniquely-curated content the norm.
Creativity has always been paramount in any successful campaign, but advances in technology have led to fierce competition for audience attention. In addition to being “snackable,” messaging and delivery also needs to be unique, rich and distinctive.
Being purpose-driven means nothing if it cannot be proved. If social responsibility efforts are not real and authentic, today’s audiences will see right through it.
With such thoughtful and well-informed perspectives on both communications and the successful relationships that bring campaigns to life, it’s no wonder that Emily and Stella both landed on the PRSA’s list of ten takeaways
from the conference. PR professionals at AxiCom and beyond can certainly benefit from implementing these best practices in day-to-day work.