“I couldn’t think of a clever title, so this is it…” [PRSSAIC 2019 Session Recap]

Will Collie speaking with Conference attendees.

Sitting in a room bubbling with the eagerness of PRSSA students from around the world, enters Will Collie; husband, father and PR pro from Edelman Southern California – here to deliver the first keynote of the fun-filled weekend.

Collie admits that, twenty years ago, he was where we are. After showing us a few amazing case studies from Edelman, such as WFH (Work from Hawaii) and Sonos NASDAQ Bell Redesign, he started into his four-part presentation on:

  1. WHAT PR IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T
  2. TRUST, HOW IMPORTANT IT IS
  3. DATA, W/ THE ROLE IT PLAYS
  4. CAREER GROWTH, HOW TO DO THAT IN YOUR FIRST PHASE OF CAREER

At his keynote, Collie helped PRSSA members understand WHAT PR IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T. As public relations professionals, Collie says, we are called to evolve, promote and protect the brands we serve. Collie shares how we complete these goals; three of the most common ways being creative-led earned media, owned content and paid media. When strategizing about which channel to deliver this content, Collie urges students to pay special attention to data and insights from their target audience and industrial sector.

In the next part of his presentation, Collie talks about the importance of TRUST. During a 2018 study on trust, Edelman found that while 81% of consumers want to trust a brand to do what is right, only 34% of those consumers trust most of the brands they buy or use. Collie says the best way to build this trust is to provide an authentic purpose, like brands such as Dove Men and Care, who recognizes paternity leave is important, and Heinikein, who redesigns bars to discourage drunk driving.

To build trust and drive purpose, we need more than just the basics; we need DATA. We must provide our clients with certainty our pitch will pay off. To do this, Collie says to show them the data (research, trends, customer trends, etc.) that backs up our key insights and ideas.

Lastly, Collie shares advice on how college students can set themselves up for career growth in IN THEIR FIRST PHASE OF THEIR CAREER. To do so, he shares five simple steps:

  1. Be awesome at the job you’ve been hired to do.
  2. Observe what people around you need and think about how to be more useful to them.
  3. Have a clear goal of your career over the next three to five year and build objectives that map against them.
  4. Understand what is required to do the job you want next and watch those doing it.
  5. And, ultimately, don’t rush. Average retirement age is 62, which means you have a LONG time to get it right and make it.

Jessica Rutkowski is a soon-to-be graduate of Ohio University, where she is currently studying strategic communication and marketing. As a lover of people and their stories, Jessica intends to use her experience with brands such as the Knights of Columbus, With Purpose, and the National Student Leadership Conferences to beyond to maximize the amount of good in the world. Jessica has brought her passion for leadership and communication to Scripps PRSSA for the past four years and hopes to continue her service to the industry by getting involved in PRSA post-graduation. When she’s not running across the bricks to her next meeting, Jessica can be found reading autobiographies on her porch or people watching in an airport while waiting to depart on her next adventure.

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