Ethics High On Agenda at PRSA International Conference

A group of some 3,000 PR practitioners descended on the Washington Hilton in D.C. this Sunday for the start of PRSA's 2010 International Conference. On Monday, Oct. 18, the presentations ran the gamut, from social media, measurement and media relations to the art of persuasion.

Monday's keynoters, online behavior expert Bill Tancer and Jeff Hayzlett, former top marketer at Kodak, spoke on the new strategies and tactics needed to succeed in PR. Tancer provided a behind-the-scenes look at the massive database of online data and ways to navigate Web sites and search for much-needed information.

Hayzlett offered sage advice on how an organization can grow and benefit from change, and how to implement an "adapt or die" communications philosophy.

Ethics was a hot topic at Monday's presentations. At a PRSA Counselors Academy session, Ann Subervi, president of Utopia Communications, said, "Whether we like it or not, we're holding ourselves up to ridicule," referring to PR's handling of the BP, Goldman Sachs and other crises. "Then we ask why we have trouble getting a seat at the table," she continued.

Ethics come down to establishing credibility, said John Deveney, president of Deveney Communications. Deveney offered several strategies to prove credibility, but it boils down to this: "The best work has to be research-based, with the goal of  completely understanding the audiences with whom you'll be working."