PR Training

Welcome Back, Stanley

As you know, the 2008 PRSA International Conference is descending upon Motor City in a few weeks.  As a native Clevelander who moved to Detroit almost two years ago, I was pleasantly surprised about how much Detroit has to offer — shopping, restaurants, entertainment and sports.

Granted, it’s been an up and down year for Detroit sports.

It started with the Detroit Red Wings bringing the Stanley Cup home to Hockeytown after a six year stint. And, there is no reason not to think about a repeat performance next year. While you are here in October, try to get a glimpse of the Holy Grail.

The Tigers are a different story. I must confess that I’m still a Cleveland sports fan. With that said, I went to a game earlier this season between the rivals that ended with the Tigers clobbering the Tribe. A surprising feat given the Tigers’ pitching staff injuries and disappointing offense that has plagued a star-studded roster.

But a couple weeks ago, Detroit made a cameo at the XXIX Summer Olympics when Tayshaun Prince, who plays forward for the Detroit Pistons, helped slam dunk a gold medal for Team USA. (NOTE: Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James was also part of the Dream Team.)

So, what does this have to do with public relations? Besides trying to steal a glimpse of the Stanley Cup or score tickets to the Lions game while you are here in October, public relations operates like a sports team. Whether you are working in nonprofit, corporate or an agency, we must open the stadium gates and invite other teams to play on our turf.

Executing a traditional public relations campaign is not enough anymore. We must look at engaging new audiences — bloggers, brand evangelists, citizen journalists, YouTube celebrities — and leveraging new communications platforms, such as Ning, and even your own cell phone. You can hit a homerun by executing a traditional public relations campaign — but you can hit a grand slam when you merge with social media.

Mary L. Horvat is an account supervisor at Weber Shandwick. Her areas of specialty include consumer product marketing as well as social and traditional media relations. Currently, Mary works with General Motors by managing the traditional and social media program for GMnext, a dialogue-based campaign that focuses on the future of transportation and GM’s centennial. Prior, she worked at Marcus Thomas, a leading integrated communications agency. She is an active member of IABC and PRSA. Currently, she serves as a co-chair on the Hosting Committee for the 2008 PRSA International Conference. Mary received her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Kent State University.

Join Mary at the PRSA 2008 International Conference: The Point of Connection, Saturday, October 25-Tuesday, October 28, 2008, in Detroit, Michigan!

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Mary Horvat

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