Program

 AGENDA

Sunday, Sept. 24 

Registration - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

SPRF Board Meeting - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

Student Sessions (1-3 p.m.) 

"I Need Experience to Get a Job?!" .. Singing the Job Search Blues: Sadie D. Wilks, APR, Mary Klemonok, Josie Bonnette, Kevin Miner

Learn how to make the most of your college days by building a resume that's a medley of education and experience. When do I need to get my first internship? Does volunteer work count? Can I list student organziations as work experience? In addition to answering some of the most common questions, this sessions features three students whose resumes are in perfect rhythm with potential employers' needs.

Educators Round Table: Curriculum Conversations: Discussion Leader is Brigitta R. Brunner, Ph.D., Professor; Editor, Journal of Public Interest Communications; President, PRCA-East Alabama Chapter; School of Communication & Journalism at Auburn University

This session is open to educators and practitioners. Topics include those noted below and others selected by the discussion leader and participants:
    •    What does current PR curricula look like?
    •    What do practitioners think recent graduates are missing in their studies?
    •    How do book-based and current practice-based approaches align?
    •    How can educators and practitioners share expectations and current trends to better prepare students?

Pre Conference Option (1:30 to 4 p.m.) **Additional fee to participate** 

"Good Guys" tell great stories: Unleash the Power of Storytelling: - Cory Cart 

Storytelling builds trust with target audiences and creates emotional bonds between an organization and its intended audience.  This session is designed to showcase proven techniques used to develop successful PR campaigns for national and global brands.  More often than not, PR practitioners complicate the process resulting in fragmented stories, but this session cuts through the clutter and offers a simple process suited for any PR or marketing professional. In this session, you will discover:

 

  • The science behind why storytelling works.
  • Where to look so you can uncover stories that matter.
  • Key elements of story and plot structure for successful brand storytelling.
  • When and where to use storytelling to create emotional bonds with target audiences.

 

You will benefit from hands-on activities that encourage you to dig deep and leave with an outline of your brand’s core story …if not the entire edited story ready to share.

 

Opening Reception (5 to 6:30 p.m.): Enjoy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails at the Birthplace of the King of Rock and Roll to kickoff the 2017 conference. Casual attire is expected. Meet with your peers from across the region, and make some new friends during this fun opening event. 

 

 

Monday, Sept. 25 

Registration - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

General Session and Breakfast (8:30-10:15 a.m.)

    “Leading From The Inside Out” - Darienne Mobley

All of us want to be considered effective leaders. We have read the books and attended workshops - but are we the best we can be? Darienne's life experience has taught her that leadership starts from the inside out. She believes you can't lead others effectively until you have done the personal development work first.

 

Breakout A (10:45 to 11:45 a.m.)

 

    • Branding -

The Buzz, the Brand and the Beauty of Success Linda Orrison, past president of the National BBQ & Grilling Association and Marketing Director of The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint - 10 tips on building a brand from the ground up through grassroots PR and marketing  

 

    • SEO 2.0 - Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Tips/Online Influencers - Bridget Castle, Fluxfish

Employing a smart SEO strategy in your online communications is a key to success. Learn what you can do as communicators in today’s modern business environment to improve your writing for and rankings on search engines.

    •  The Evolution of Accreditation - What interested candidates and current APRs need to Know - Caron Blanton, APR, PRAM

The APR is recognzied internationally as a valuable standard that distinguishes your skills, leadership and knowledge in a wide variety of fields. For those interested in becoming accredited and current APRs who help candidates get ready, you won't want to miss this session about the new Panel Presentation and other chagnes to the steps of Accreditation.

Hall of Fame Lunch (12 - 1:15) 

  • SPRF Business Meeting
  • Honor New APRs 
  • Honor SPRF Senior Practitioners

 

  Breakout B (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.) 

    • Branding -

The Buzz, the Brand and the Beauty of SuccessLinda Orrison, past president of the National BBQ & Grilling Association and Marketing Director of The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint - 10 tips on building a brand from the ground up through grassroots PR and marketing

    • When A “String” Breaks During A Performance – Mastering a Social Media Crisis - Lauren Hannaford, Director of Client Services, and Whitney Albert, Account Manager, Obsidian Public Relations

A carefully crafted social media strategy is like a masterful string quartet hitting every note and beat perfectly. But, what happens when things become out of tune or when a string suddenly breaks during a performance? Chaos and cacophony, of course! Similarly, what happens when an offline issue becomes an online social media crisis? The proverbial curtains are pulled back, leaving companies and their brands quite exposed and vulnerable to audience ridicule. The pros at Obsidian PR will guide you through case studies and tips on how to ensure what begins as a small issue, stays that way and how to handle if it jumps to social media.  We know that practice makes perfect.

    • CASE STUDY - PRCA Best of Show Winner: Haint Blue Campaign, Jennifer Jenkins, APR, JJPR

Haint Blue Brewing Compan is a new microbrewery and taproom in Mobile, Alabama, the city's first since Prohibition. Having secured production space at the historic 1927 Crystal Ice House with plans to begin distribution by Mardi Gras 2017, Haint Blue began seeking community support and investment in the fall of 2016 to help establish the brewery and fund remaining equipment. Hear how JJPR implemented public relations strategies to raise community awareness and support for Haint Blue's crowdfunding campaign to fund the brewery's Taproom project and position Haint Blue as the signature brewery of Mobile, as well as the beer of choice for front porches, by connecting with community members and inviting them to take ownership in the brewery.

 Breakout C (2:45 - 3:45 pm) 

    •  When A “String” Breaks During A Performance – Mastering a Social Media Crisis - Laura Hannaford, Director of Client Services, and Whitney Albert, Account Manager, Obsidian Public Relations

A carefully crafted social media strategy is like a masterful string quartet hitting every note and beat perfectly. But, what happens when things become out of tune or when a string suddenly breaks during a performance? Chaos and cacophony, of course! Similarly, what happens when an offline issue becomes an online social media crisis? The proverbial curtains are pulled back, leaving companies and their brands quite exposed and vulnerable to audience ridicule. The pros at Obsidian PR will guide you through case studies and tips on how to ensure what begins as a small issue, stays that way and how to handle if it jumps to social media.  We know that practice makes perfect.

    • SEO 2.0 - Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Tips/Online Influencers, Bridget Castle, Fluxfish

Employing a smart SEO strategy in your online communications is a key to success. Learn what you can do as communicators in today’s modern business environment to improve your writing for and rankings on search engines.

    •  CASE STUDY - The 420-pound Tiger in the Room and How to Be His Spokesperson- Ginger Guttner, APR, Director of Public Relations, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine

      In 2010, LSU created a Facebook page for Mike VI, LSU’s live tiger mascot, but there was no plan as to how it should be managed. Ginger will discuss the challenges with handling a social media account for an animal that cannot express itself, how Mike’s social media identity evolved, the epiphany moment where everything changed, and how his social media pages are managed now. Mike VI has more than 160,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and using social media was an important messaging tool in the summer of 2016 when Mike VI was diagnosed with and treated for cancer. Ginger will discuss the evolution of Mike’s social media presence and how she worked with his veterinarian, the LSU administration and the PR staff at a human hospital to coordinate the entire messaging campaign related to Mike’s cancer diagnosis and treatment at the human hospital. This unique case study will cover communicating for an entity that cannot speak for itself, collaborating and coordinating messaging with both inside and outside entities (including news releases, press conferences and social media), and lessons learned dealing with hundreds of memorial gifts (both physical cards, gifts and letters and monetary gifts) and how to handle messaging related to both, as well as handling the physical gifts themselves.

 

 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Wine Downtown ending at the rooftop of Park Heights

Get ready to explore Downtown Tupelo during the 2017 SPRF Conference Wine Downtown event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Stop by the Tupelo CVB booth to pic up your special tasting glass to use as you visit participating businesses in Downtown Tupelo for wine, light refreshments and special discounts.

The Wine Downtown will also include a Shopping Competition. Lucky shoppers can win cash prizes in the following categories: most psent, most unique purchase and most items purchased.

6 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Park Heights Rooftop Reception - Light hors d'oeuvres and refreshments

Get your Wine Downtown card stamped at every particpating business and join other conference attendees on the rooftop of Park Heights Restaurant for a reception where shopping contest winners will be announced and one lucky participants will win a complimentary registration for the 2018 Conference in Louisiana. Both events are included in conference registration and attendees will be able to register a guest online.

 Dinner on your own 

  

Tuesday, Sept. 26

 

Registration - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 5 to 6 p.m. (for Lantern Award Dinner only attendees)

 Industry Roundtables 9 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

 

 10 – 11 a.m. –General Session -Gordon Absher, VP of Corporate Communications, MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL

 

"ANTICIPATING CRISIS" – Every communicator has a crisis plan; something they hope they will never need but expect will serve them well in times of unanticipated urgency. But a skilled PR practitioner must be able to detect challenges before they arrive. Are you doing all you can to prepare your clients for these potentially worst of times? Some issues may be impossible to avoid, but diverting a head-on collision into a glancing blow can lessen the duration and severity. MGM Resorts International’s Vice President of Public Affairs will share some of his experiences from 18 years in the hospitality industry and share how he and his team do their best to work ahead of urgent issues facing some of the best-known brands in the hotel industry.

  Lunch (11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.) - Chapter of Distinction Awards; Speaker, Gary Hahn, VP, Marketing and Media for Elvis Presley Enterprises

Breakout D (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.)

    • Obsidian’s Symphony No. 11 – A Content Marketing Masterpiece - Taylor Jolley, Account Specialist, and Christina Babu, Account Executive, Obsidian Public Relations

       

      From creating content that strikes a chord with your audiences to orchestrating multiple avenues for publishing and promoting your content, Obsidian Public Relations will lead audiences through the ins and outs of promoting yourself, your product or your business through creative, original content. Just as each instrument produces a unique sound played in unison with the rest of an orchestra, there are a number of avenues for publishing great content, and the harmonious management of those resources, in tandem with masterpiece material, can score greater awareness for any organization.

       

    • A Community in Crisis - Trey Williams

A quiet, sunny Sunday morning in July 2016 would turn into one of the darkest days in Baton Rouge’s history, as six police officers were gunned down, placing the city on the front pages of newspapers across the nation. The community, still trying to recover from that tragedy, was faced with another crisis just 25 days later when rains hit, flooding more than 280,000 homes in the area and dropping more than 7 trillion gallons of water on the state.  Serving as the only certified trauma center in the Baton Rouge region, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge was at the forefront for both events.  In a matter of hours after the shootings, local and national media had converged on the hospital, where five of the six officers shot were brought.  Just weeks later, with a third of its team members directly impacted by the flooding, the hospital activated its crisis communications plan once again. Using the case study from last summer, Trey will share his first-hand experience in responding to those incidents, the lessons learned and the fundamental steps of an effective response plan when crisis strikes. 

 

    • Stepping It Up: Your Ultimate Professional Toolbox - Echelle Lane Rutschman, APR , Senior VP of Communications and Public Relations and Kimberly Speros Rossie, APR

Join APRs Echelle Jobe Rutschman and Kim Speros Rossie to get equipped with the ultimate professional toolbox that will help you take your career to the next level. Learn the tools and tips to help you grow into a communications strategist respected for the vital counsel you provide rather than functioning simply as an order taker.

  

 

Breakout E (2:45 to 3:45 p.m.)

 

    • Obsidian’s Symphony No. 11 – A Content Marketing Masterpiece - Taylor Jolley, Account Specialist, and Christina Babu, Account Executive, Obsidian Public Relations

From creating content that strikes a chord with your audiences to orchestrating multiple avenues for publishing and promoting your content, Obsidian Public Relations will lead audiences through the ins and outs of promoting yourself, your product or your business through creative, original content. Just as each instrument produces a unique sound played in unison with the rest of an orchestra, there are a number of avenues for publishing great content, and the harmonious management of those resources, in tandem with masterpiece material, can score greater awareness for any organization.

 

    • CASE STUDY - PRAM Best of Show Winner: MS State We Ring True - Checky Herrington, APR, Fellow PRSA

When people speak yoru name, what comes to their minds? Changes are they think about what you look like, the kind of clothes you wear, the car you drive, or where you work. Truth is, all of us have brands that identify and differentiate us from others. It's the same for organizations and corporations, which battle daily for loyalty and new business. To succeed, we must understand the needs and wants of our target audiences while delivering and integrating our brand strategies at every point of contact. In this session, get a step-by-step look at the 2017 PRAM Prism Awards Bset of Show winning public relations plan and campaign. Learn firsthand how Mississippi State University is employing the power of brand to move from limited recognition to an awareness that is positively influencing experiences and perceptions.

 

    • Stepping It Up: Your Ultimate Professional Toolbox - Echelle Lane Rutschman, APR , Senior VP of Communications and Public Relations and Kimberly Speros Rossie, APR

Join APRs Echelle Jobe Rutschman and Kim Speros Rossie to get equipped with the ultimate professional toolbox that will help you take your career to the next level. Learn the tools and tips to help you grow into a communications strategist respected for the vital counsel you provide rather than functioning simply as an order taker.

 

 

 

Lantern Awards Reception (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.) 

Lantern Awards & Professional Achievement Award Dinner (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.)

BancorpSouth Conference Center: Emcee Matt Laubhan, WTVA Tupelo Chief Meterologist