Inside PR 2.55: The value of Counselors Academy

Gini, Joe and Martin are back at PRSA’s Counselors Academy Conference in Lake Las Vegas for the second of our two shows.

For those who may not be familiar with the conference, Martin tells us the annual conference is all about the business of PR and invites PR agency leaders across the globe to join the conversation.

Joe says if you run an agency, there are many great reasons to attend and then turns the mic over to some of our colleagues in attendance for their perspectives.

Lisa Gerber says she got into PR with no clue about the business and Counselors helped her raise the bar on her own performance.

Johna Burke finds value because it helps people evolve beyond tactics like managing accounts. This shift is what’s going to propel the profession forward.

Tom Garrity enjoys peer to peer conversation and gaining business insights.

Jean Walcher came first to learn, but this year wants to be reinvigorated by the open and intelligent conversations.

Joe mentions that 3-am feeling when you’re thinking about your agency, you can’t sleep and wonder what you’re going to do next. You may be facing one of those difficult situations where it’s tough to talk to the team. Counselors can be a remarkable source of advice. Meet other smart people who freely share their learnings.

Martin says that when he started at Counselors, there were a lot more multinational agencies but now the organization is geared to independents and entrepreneurs.  He references first learning about social media from Giovanni Rodriguez at Counselors at a session both he and Joe attended. But they didn’t get to know each other until a year or so later when both realized how much of a seminal moment that was.

Gini talks about the networking and how you can have open conversations with your competitors and discuss issues like profitability and margins and other things PR folks don’t learn in school.

At this point, Jean poses a question: Do you reward employees for bringing in new business?

Gini says she’s tried many types of incentives. She recently hired someone by incenting them to create their own job; the person is responsible for developing proposals, closing the business and she has goals based on profitability.

Joe attended a CA session led by Rob Adler on motivating employees and says the same question came up.  One agency gives 5 per cent of a new client’s fee revenue to the staff person that brought it in – for as long as they have the client.

Martin says it can be difficult to figure out the right kind of incentive, because if new business is being generated by the agency leadership and you’re not paying it out, the incentive becomes like an empty promise.

That brings us to an end for this show. Counselors Academy’s next conference is May 6 to 8, 2012 in New Orleans. Disclosure: Martin is conference chair.  You may want to check out the website for an overview of the other programs they offer throughout the year.

Do you have an idea for a topic you would like us to discuss? Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 2.54: Live from Counselors Academy – talking about a PR imbroglio

We’re on the road and face to face at Counselors Academy’s annual conference for PR leaders, where we’ll be doing the next two shows.

Joe leads off this week’s discussion with: the Burson-Marsteller / Facebook imbroglio.

Gini recaps her blog post and sets the scene.  BM had been working with media and bloggers to create a whisper campaign against Google and its social media platform.  The PR firm did not disclose the client.  After much speculation, Facebook admitted they were behind the program. BM issued a statement saying the initiative contravened its policies but did not come out and apologize. PRSA was quoted in a story saying that since only 14 people in the agency are members, they’re the only ones who can be held responsible for the ethics breach.

The story reminds Martin of a classic ‘50s film, The Sweet Smell of Success, with Tony Curtis as a less than honest press agent who conducts a whisper campaign of his own.

Joe says this is a challenge any firm faces. The story affects all PR and communications employees as well as the image of PR as a whole. What he finds most disturbing about BM’s response, is that they use misdirection to colour the perception of who’s responsible for the information.

Tom Garrity discusses the issue of reporters who jump over to PR. He suggests this is a good reminder to re-analyse how we look at and respond to social media in the marketplace. He references a survey his firm conducted in New Mexico that ranks PR and journalist as the lowest trusted professions.

Johna Burke asks what this invokes for agency proprietors as we create partnerships with clients and knowingly or unknowingly get caught up in the 24/7 news cycle.  What can we do internally to resolve and manage situations like this?

Joe responds that an ethics code is not good enough. Ethics should be job one, the core of an agency’s culture, how we treat ourselves and how we treat the outside world.

Martin tries to look at it from the other side: how a call from a high profile client could colour a firm’s perceptions of the assignment, and that it’s important to hold onto your ethics and beliefs and not get caught with stars in your eyes.

Gini wonders when your defences come up and you realize something like this is a lot like Watergate.

Lisa Gerber references the point at which a crisis is inflamed or diffused and how a minority can make the majority look bad. She thinks PRSA should come out with a stronger stand and not simply focus on its members.

Gini would like to see our profession held accountable like other industries.  Martin talks about how an industry-wide code of ethics that all organizations could sign would help establish professional standards… then gets off his high horse.

And that’s where this week’s podcast ends. We’d love to hear your comments on our topic, or any questions you may have.

Please send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 2.53: A Reflection On the Year that Was

It’s been a year with Martin Waxman, Joe Thornley, and Gini Dietrich hosting Inside PR and we’re looking forward to our contract negotiations. We’d all like 100 percent raises. Too much?

What a fun look back and, it seems, our Magic 8 Balls are working.

Some of the underlying things we’ve chatted about during the past year and highlight in today’s anniversary episode:

– Comments: Dead or not?
– Billable hours: What’s the solution?
– Privacy: Sony, Apple, and responsibility.
– Tracking and measurement: Sysomos, Radian6, Salesforce, and more.
– Trends: Video, search, location, mobile payments, social media policies, and the tablet.
– eBooks: Are they changing the way we’re reading?
– All three of us have had big transitions in the past year: Martin merged his agency to become energi PR, Joe created Corum Research, and I launched Spin Sucks Pro!

Next week we’re doing a live recording from Lake Las Vegas for Counselors Academy. If you’re going to be at the conference, be sure to come by and see us! You might even get a guest appearance on next week’s show!

Do you have an idea for a topic you would like us to discuss? Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 2.52: The launch of Spin Sucks Pro

It has been a busy week in the news – Prince William and Kate’s wedding, President Barack Obama announces the death of U.S. most wanted man Osama Bin Laden, and Canadians re-elect Stephen Harper as Prime Minister and give him a majority government. But none of this news is as exciting as the launch of Spin Sucks Pro.

So this week on Inside PR Gini’s wonderful voice guides Joe, Martin and our listeners through the ins and outs of Spin Sucks Pro.

As the tag line says, Spin Sucks Pro is professional development for PR and marketing pros. Spin Sucks Pro is an easy way to further your professional development while learning from the best PR and marketing minds.

The five categories of professional development fall under:

– Business

– Strategy

– Planning

– Content

– Social media

Right now you can get access to recommended resources, for example suggested blogs PR and marketing professionals should follow. Or check out the section where PR and marketing professionals are talking about issues in the public relations, marketing, social media and business worlds.

As Spin Sucks Pro grows you will eventually be able to measure and show off the work you have done on Spin Sucks Pro. For example, the leadership board, collecting badges, getting trophies and more.

Because Spin Sucks Pro is only in Beta, the registration package to have access to all the content is only $50/month.

Next week Inside PR celebrates their anniversary. So if you have an idea for a topic you would like us to discuss send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.