Friday, September 30, 2011

PRSA Chair Rosanna Fiske to Host Hispanic PR Chat

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, will co-host Hispanic PR Chat (#hprchat) at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 5. Fiske will lead a discussion on diversity in the public relations industry and steps public relations and marketing professionals can take to introduce greater diversity within their campaigns and outreach programs.

Topics of the Oct. 5 #hprchat include:
  • Talent diversity in public relations.
  • The state of the Hispanic PR sector.
  • The role of social media and SEO in diverse communities.
  • Blogger outreach and compensation.
  • PRSA’s 2011 and future initiatives.
To participate, it is recommended chatters use a Web application, such as, and enter the hashtag #hprchat.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Get Out of the Spiral

As I write this, a 6½-ton satellite 100 miles or so above my head orbits lower and lower. Its death spiral will end when the school bus-sized object encounters air thick enough to slow it below minimum orbital speed. It will be quite a show coming down, unless you stand where some red-hot surviving piece hits. NASA invested millions in what will become scrap.

Unfortunately, many in PR become locked in death spirals of technique that go around and around until careers flame out. We do the same ol’ – same ol’ over and over. The problem confronts communicators in other fields, as Matt Hermann, vice president and director of strategy at BBDO’s San Francisco office observed in a recent blog.

“I know I might sound like a curmudgeon who doesn't understand the post-modern culture of remixing and appropriation, but I would submit that (ad) agencies have become far too comfortable making excuses for each other's lack of genuinely new ideas,” Hermann writes. I agree. Watch a few minutes of TV and the commercials blur together – smart, hip, twentysomethings banter some cute quips, there’s a flash of the product logo, then back to the program. Or more likely, several more spots just like it. What creativity? I’m glad my remote has a mute button.

I suggest PR faces the same problem. I pitched a prospective client awhile back, a financial institution, that proudly announced in our meeting that 900 of its 9,000 customers had friended the institution’s Facebook page! That’s great, I replied, but how do you reach the 90% of your customers who haven’t been to Facebook? Silence. I went on to propose such ideas as focus groups, open houses, mailing stuffers, etc., that could broaden customer dialogue. I didn’t get the job. I think the slightly wounded PR director hadn’t put a lot of thought into the problem until then.

This is a creative profession… so we must create. What makes this client different? How do the publics we want to influence gather information? What’s the real message, and what will make it memorable and bring change? Every project will be unique and each will require a unique strategy for success. We always should strive to find it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

TEDx Coming (Back) to San Antonio

Saturday, October 15 could be just another ordinary day. Or, you could:

· Escape from the killing fields of Cambodia.
· Feel the beat of Tejano music and understand the soul of Xicano.
· Fuel your entrepreneurial fires by hearing how one man started a company, that became San Antonio's largest homegrown defense contractor, from his garage.
· Be inspired by how one woman is changing the lives of disadvantaged women, one suit at a time.
· Scam your way to the top of iTunes or master the ultimate card cheat.

And so much more.

These are just a few of the innovative topics that will be featured at TEDxSanAntonio 2011 with speakers: Sichan Siv, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Juan Tejeda, instructor of Music & Mexican Studies at Palo Alto College; Guvinder P. “G.P.” Singh, CEO, Paras Capital Management; Pamela Taylor, co-founder and executive director of Dress for Success San Antonio; and Brian Brushwood, award-winning magician and star of Scam School.

TEDxSanAntonio currently is accepting applications for those who want to participate. The goal of the event is to spur the kind of discussions that lead to action. Visit the TEDxSanAntonio website to apply today. The application closes on September 15, 2011, so don’t delay.

At its core, TED brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. The goal is to inspire people to change the world. Past speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Branson, Isabel Allende and many other thought leaders, and idea pioneers. TEDx was created so communities could create their own localized versions of TED events. At TEDxSanAntonio, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

It's not often we have an opportunity to participate in an event like this one, so don't miss this opportunity!

(Full disclosure: Jennifer Milikien serves as the public relations committee chair for TEDxSanAntonio 2011. This is a volunteer/unpaid position.)