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.) 

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.

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

At this year’s Public Relations Council of Alabama’s (PRCA) Medallion Awards, JJPR took home a total of five awards, including Best of Show from for its community relations and media relations for Haint Blue Brewing Company.

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 - Kerri Guyton, Director of Brand Content, 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 - 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.

 Breakout C (2:45 - 3:45 pm) 

    •  When A “String” Breaks During A Performance – Mastering a Social Media Crisis - Kerri Guyton, Director of Brand Content, 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.

    •   APR

 

 

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

 

Take a wine stroll through downtown Tupelo and compete for prizes in SPRF’s first-ever shopping competition. Stop by the Tupelo CVB booth to register and pick up your wine glass and map. Visit participating retailers for a glass of wine, light refreshments and special discounts. Prizes will be awarded in several categories including most money spent, most unique purchase and most items purchased. All attendees that visit each participating store and have their shopping card stamped, will be entered into a drawing to receive a complimentary registration to the 2018 SPRF Conference to be held in Louisiana.

 

 

 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.

Breakout D (10 a.m. - 11 a.m.)

    • APR  - What you need to know about Accreditation – Getting Your APR

      Ken Hair, APR, ECPRO, SPRF APR Chair

    • Influencers Panel

 

    • CASE STUDY - PRAM Best of Show - PRAM Best of Show Winner: MSU “We Ring True”   Mississippi State University’s Office of Public Affairs “We Ring True” branding initiative garnered seven awards, including Best of Show, during the 2017 PRAM Prism Awards competition. The initiative promotes Mississippi State’s standing as a premier research university by employing a variety of broad-based, multimedia communications platforms and strategies. 

 

 

 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 and Lunch - SPEAKER: Gordon Absher, VP of Corporate Communications, MGM Resorts International

 

 

 

Breakout E (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.)

 

    • Obsidian’s Symphony No. 11 – A Content Marketing Masterpiece - Kerri       Guyton, Director of Brand Content, 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.

 

    • Crisis Communications - Trey Williams

 

    • CASE STUDY: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital - Echelle Lane Rutschman, APR , Senior VP of Communications and Public Relations

Echelle’s team is on the hospital side, promoting  science and medicine. She will share St. Jude’s efforts to establish a “science brand” alongside its very strong fundraising brand. It is a case study in reaching a niche audience with a message very different from your overall brand.

 

 

 

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

 

    • Obsidian’s Symphony No. 11 – A Content Marketing Masterpiece - Kerri       Guyton, Director of Brand Content, 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.

    • Crisis Communications - Trey Williams

 

    • CASE STUDY: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital - Echelle Lane Rutschman, APR , Senior VP of Communications and Public Relations

Echelle’s team is on the hospital side, promoting  science and medicine. She will share St. Jude’s efforts to establish a “science brand” alongside its very strong fundraising brand. It is a case study in reaching a niche audience with a message very different from your overall brand.

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

 

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