Table Talk: Trending Topics in PR

February 25, 2016
Joanna Williams

The CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Program met on Jan. 25, 2016 to discuss current trends in PR. This “reverse mentoring” event was an opportunity for mentees to take the lead and facilitate discussions.

The evening began with three short mentor presentations. Each mentorship session begins with several mentors explaining their “typical” PR day. Mentees heard from Mark Gregory, managing partner at LocomotionPR; Janine Ivings, APR, marketing supervisor at the Town of Oakville; and Cynthia Janzen, APR, manager, stakeholder relations at Hamilton Health Sciences.

Roundtable discussions focused on different PR issues of the day. Mentees helped develop a series of questions ahead of time, and three mentees were responsible for guiding a discussion among mentors and mentees. Special thank you to our mentee facilitators: Karima El Bilali, Katherine Perrin, and Laura Vertucci.

Here’s a summary of the most engaging topics of discussion:

Mentors and mentees had an opportunity to discuss a variety of PR issues.

What are some tips for someone starting out in PR?

The top response was: networking. Other suggestions included the ability to be adaptable, curious and flexible; have a career plan and follow PR industry news. Mentees appreciated learning career tips.

How does one maintain a client if a competitor says that he/she can do a better job?

Relationships matter. It’s important to maintain a relationship with clients, however, if they are ready to move on, you can’t take it too personally.

In a dynamic and ever-changing environment, how can PR practitioners balance the need for proper measurement with the need to act quickly and operate within a tight budget?

An issue that resonates with many is measurement. It’s important to have a plan with measurable objectives, and then evaluate at all stages.

What are some of the social media techniques and strategies Justin Trudeau and his team employed in the fall election to generate interest and excitement for his brand?

There was an interesting spectrum of opinions for this question because some thought Justin Trudeau did well on social media, while others did not. The consensus agreed he was successful in reaching millennials.

How has the death of traditional journalism affected PR?

Traditional media needs to be revamped. It’s still credible, in particular in the health and financial sectors. There is a big change in communication because everyone’s a reporter now, a “citizen journalist”, and brands are more engaged directly with customers.

How can PR students, who will soon be entering the field, properly prepare to work across the functional areas of PR, Marketing and Advertising and be effective contributors to such integrated communication efforts?

Practitioners can’t be specialized anymore. They need to have a broad knowledge to work with other teams and to know the industry lingo. It’s important to understand the difference between PR, Marketing and Advertising, and have a broad knowledge of each.

Discussions focused on different PR issues of the day.

The overview and wrap up were led by mentee, Alexandra Sehl. One real advantage of this type of event is the opportunity to have an open discussion and hear a variety of opinions. Within our Mentorship Program, mentors represent a wide range of industries and have a range of diverse experience. It’s always refreshing for mentees to see multiple sides of a story and to hear different perspectives.

A special thank you to The Hamilton Spectator and Jane Allison, APR FCPRS, manager community partnerships, for being our venue sponsor. In appreciation of their generosity (for both the October and January events), the CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Program made a donation to SpecKids Camp, a cause that is near and dear to Jane’s heart and gives back to the Hamilton community.