Outside Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, the air buzzed with talk about the previous night’s Vice Presidential Debate and the then-still-unapproved federal bailout bill (a situation that subsequently changed), but inside the halls of Ballroom D the focus was on one topic only: digital PR. The subject matter and its manifold uses set the stage for PR News’ inaugural Digital PR summit, which was held October 3, 2008.
Attracting more than 250 senior-level PR practitioners, the confab was jam-packed with informative dialogue and top-of-the line speakers. One highlight was the “Closing the Gap with the C-Suite” session, whose panel was comprised of Steve Cody (Managing Partner, Peppercom), Paul Philp, (dna13), Dale Durrett (Eastern Region Sales Manager, LinkedIn) and Jennifer Martin (Director of PR, CNN). Cody kicked off the first session of the day with a statistic that framed the corporate mindset surrounding digital: “More than 50% of PR professionals feel that digital leadership from the C-suite is either non-existent or skeptical and slow to respond.”
Another session was “Building Community & Reputation Online with Social Media Tools.” The speakers, who included Sue Bohle, president of The Bohle Company, Tyler Pennock, director of interactive media, healthcare for Weber Shandwick and George Wright, marketing director for Blendtec, discussed everything from widgets to viral/word-of-mouth strategies. “You don’t have to have a huge budget to make a huge impact on social media,” said Wright. “If you create content that’s awesome, people will watch it.”
Wright, whose company became a YouTube sensation thanks to its clever (and frugal) video series–Will It Blend?–showing the ability of its product to blend anything from an IPod to soldier dolls, hosted his own “Will It Blend” demonstration by shredding a garden rake for the audience.
For more coverage of the day’s sessions, see the upcoming issue of PR News, as well as additional items that will appear on www.prnewsonline.com.
By Iris Dorbian