PRSA ICON: Innovation, inspiration and insight

By Mary B. Haban, APR

Six seconds. It’s the prime amount of time they learned they needed to engage with and keep the attention of their social media audience.

Nine months. That’s how long he had to endure endless rejection after cold calling hundreds of investors about his big idea only to be told, “no thanks.”

One year. It’s what they did during that historical moment in time that would win the hearts and devotion of millions of people around the world.


These were just some of the key takeaways from the first day of the 2017 PRSA International Conference in Boston, where thousands came to learn about the latest topics and trends influencing the public relations profession.


Award-winning filmmaker and TV host Morgan Spurlock kicked off the conference with a captivating keynote about never giving up on your big idea, he encouraged attendees to find people who believe in them. “You need people who believe in you and your vision,” he told the packed-room.  Sage advice from someone who after being told “no” countless times, believed in his own ability so much that it resulted in two award-winning films, Supersize Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.


Spurlock also parlayed his passion for filmmaking into 20 short documentary-style films in a series called We the Economy. In success, he said, “You have to own your derivative space. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Now is the best time in history to be a storyteller.”


Other notable sessions included the duo of Jason Maderer and Steven Norris, who drive the social and media relations’ efforts for Georgia Institute of Technology. Their presentation showcased the immense impact video can have on building and keeping your online audiences. These former TV reporters demonstrated the incredible results videos and live streaming can have on building your following. They encouraged us to “Think like a newsroom,” and to “Use video in a way that helps the media in your follow-up pitch.” They showed the power that six seconds of video can have on your social media audience and explained the success they had when they did it.


Making the space program cool again is what the team of rock star communicators did when they launched their historic A Year in Space campaign starring Astronaut Scott Kelly. They explained how they rushed to create an Instagram account for Kelly after President Obama mentioned he would be following his journey but the team learned Kelly didn’t have an account – yet.


This action-packed day ended with a reception to celebrate PRSA’s 70th Anniversary, where attendees dined on delicious food, connected with their peers and talked about all they had learned throughout their first day.

PRSA Tampa Bay will be bringing you updates from the 2017 PRSA International Conference in Boston, so stay tuned to Twitter, Facebook and our blog.

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