PR Training

The Rookie Stripe

As a first timer at the PRSA 2008 International Conference, I wanted to give a quick shout out to PR professionals and even PRSSA students who aren’t at this event, have never been and are checking out the blogs from Detroit.

After I registered, I pulled out a “Newcomer” ribbon to attach to my badge. Cool, let’s point out the “newbies” and make them comfortable!

Here’s the bottom line: Be sure to put this conference on your 2009 calendar. I’ve worked in public relations for more than 10 years, and having never fit this into my schedule was a mistake.

So I’m paying it forward and urging anybody out there to invest the time to attend this conference. Honestly, you might think it is overwhelming as a first-timer… there is a tremendous amount of information, so many great presentations to choose from and if the figure I overheard is correct, more than 3,000 professionals and students roaming the Marriott here in downtown Detroit. But being in this business, we’re “people people,” so getting out there and immersed in the conference is a piece of cake.

The networking opportunities are amazing and the professional development seminars will help you do your job better.

Bonus Buy: The conference is San Diego next year.  Detroit might have an unfair reputation as a major metro, but there aren’t many better cities than San Diego.

It’s a no brainer, hope to see you in 2009!

Monday Morning Update

Nice job this morning by Joanne Puckett from Ketchum with her seminar “How to Derive ROI for Interactive Communications.”

I learned a few new things this morning, including what a “meme” (rhymes with “dream”) is. (OK, I knew what it was but wasn’t familiar with the term).

While Joanne admitted measurement is tricky (whew, isn’t that the truth, especially in the 2.0 World), she offered some great examples of monitoring tools like Chat Trax and Board Reader to help companies and brands measure what is happening out there.

She presented a great case study that was the brainchild of one of the Ketchum executives who is a huge Guns ‘N Roses fan.  For many years and numerous reasons, the band has been held up releasing its next album. Enter Dr. Pepper, who would offer a free soda to every person in the United States once the album was released. The brand (and the band!) has received positive media attention and surprising consumer interest. Joanne showed great examples of online consumer interaction – for instance,  non–soda drinkers promising to hoist a Dr. Pepper once the album is released and non–United States  residents hoping they could somehow take advantage of the offer.

Flashback to last week and the start of the World Series between my Phillies (let’s clinch it tonight, boys!) and the Rays. You know you’ve come up with a brilliant idea when someone copies it, as Taco Bell has done during the World Series. [Taco Bell] promised a free taco to every person in the United States if anyone stole a base during the World Series. With the Rays’ speed, it didn’t take long, as Jason Bartlett swiped a bag in Game 1. Now stealing a base during a potential seven game series doesn’t quite measure up to solving all the issues Guns ‘N Roses has had releasing their next album, but kudos to the agency and the brands for a great consumer and media play.

Even more interesting, Taco Bell will get to activate their promotion first, as the free taco offer comes this week while we await the official release of G ‘N R’s album. Maybe the folks from Ketchum and Dr. Pepper will get to learn a few things from Taco Bell’s “free taco” promotion.

Keith Green is vice president of marketing and communications for Synergy Events. Prior to Synergy Events, Keith was the director of public relations for the Richmond International Raceway, as well as assistant director of community relations for the Philadelphia 76ers.

For coverage on the PRSA 2008 International Conference: The Point of Connection, visit

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Keith Green

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