PRSA Boston Blog

This is a blog written by the PRSA Boston president (Tom Nutile for 2008) about events and activities involving PRSA Boston

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Crowning the Champion

Last night, 50+ PR professionals came together for the 1st PRSA Boston/PR Newswire Charity Poker Tournament. Based on the comments I recevied from the people that were there is was a great event. (I know I had a great time, despite not making it to the final table).

It was great to see so many new faces, and so many different agencies represented. There was a strong contingent from Schwartz Communications (the agency for which I work), With Racepoint, Topaz, Text 100, LP&P, Schneider, EmergePR, Horn Group and other agencies and independent practitioners well represented. We had relatively few corporate players.

The food was plentiful, the drinks were good and the poker was fast and furious. It was a great chance to network and have fun.

The event started at 6:45 and wrapped up by 10:30. We had people come back from the brink numerous times, a staight flush, first time poker players making it to the top twenty and lots of laughs.

Most importantly, due to this event, the PRSA Boston Scholarship can now be $2,000 for a deserving college student. Thank you for all you support - and special thanks to our sponsor - PR Newswire, they do a great job. Without their support, the event would not have been possible. Thanks to the Waltham Elks for letting us have the event there as well.

Following are some images from the event:

The final table

Bottom left and going around clockwise: Patrick Richardson (Schneider), Joe Pacheco (Schwartz), Jess Fiorelli (Schwartz), Tim Whitman (Schwartz), Davd Weiner (PR Newswire) Chris Poisson (Schwartz), George DeTorres (MultiVu), Mystery man (sorry), Peter (the dealer), Jon Siegal (Schwartz), Darlene Hollywood (HollywoodPR)

The Winner and his winning hand: (Jon Siegal, Schwartz)

The award ceremony:

Left to Right: Dan Evans (PR Newswire)

George DeTores (Best Corporate Player, MultiVu)

Jon Siegal (Champion, Schwartz Communications)

Tim Whitman (Best Agency Player, Schwartz Communications)

Mark W. McClennan, APR (President PRSA Boston, Schwartz Communications)

Thanks everyone for turning up, share your comments on the event.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Future is Bright

This past Friday, I had the honor of being a keynote speaker at the S.I. Newhouse School's New Media Series. (Thankfully Steve Rubel didn't speak on the same day as me) at Syracuse University.

When I first found out my scheduled speaking time, I was filled with some dread - as Friday afternoon's are not usually the best time for speakers at a college campus. I was told to expect about 40 students.

To my pleasant surprise, there were more than 110 students and five faculty packed into the auditorium to hear me speak about practical advice for social media. (The presentation was title: Social Media: Tales from a Converted Skeptic).

That type of attendance shows that professionals that are about to enter the PR workforce realize the power and importance of social media. They asked a number of insightful questions and I had a great discussion with a few of the students after the session.

The Syracuse students are not alone. As PRSA Boston president, I have had a chance to meet with students from many of the PRSSA chapters in the area. Their drive, intelligence and passion are evident in every interaction.

When you see a PRSSA student at a PRSA event, please take the time to talk with them. Your mentoring and advice will be appreciated, and you will come away re-energized, for the future is bright.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What Dora the Explorer can Teach us about PR

I realize the blog hasn't contained as much though-provoking content as some would like, so I decided to rectify that...

When people think of fonts of PR Wisdom, they often think of senior practitioners, educators, authors, APRs and Edward Bernays. If you casually suggested that Dora the Explorer is a font of PR Wisdom—at best people would conclude that you spend too much time watching television with your children.

While that may be correct, the architecture of the show really does live the essential values of a great PR campaign and provides guidance on what PR professionals can do to motivate their teams to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Now I don’t really believe the creators of the show set out to create a roadmap for PR success. But they have. (Either that, or I really have been watching too much TV).

Following are 10 fundamental PR lessons Dora not only expounds, but lives. If we incorporate them into our daily practice, we will be better practitioners.

Planning is essential—Before Dora sets out, she establishes a clear plan with a concrete final objective. There are measurable steps along the way. Sound familiar? Having a quantifiable and concrete goal and determining the best way to get there is the essential element for conducting a strategic, results-oriented PR campaign.

Ask questions—Anyone who has watched one episode of Dora can tell you the most common question on the show is “Where are we going?” Well, PR pros need to ask the same question before developing or implementing any campaign. If we don’t have a clear understanding of the desired end result, the odds are we won’t accomplish what we want.

Make a Map—Just because you know your plan doesn’t mean everyone else does. Create a clear “map” that everyone can follow so all constituencies understand the plan, the direction, potential obstacles and the final objective.

Reiterate objectives so you don’t lose sight of your goal—Dora doesn’t just set a goal and hopes she achieves it. She reiterates the key steps along the way and solicits input from her key publics (friends and you). By regularly reminding our teams, agencies and company management where we are going, you can be sure the PR campaign does not become distracted by “nice to haves.”

Never start a campaign without your backpack—PR professionals need the right tools to do the job. While the specific tools may vary – focus groups, releases, events, thought leadership campaigns, etc.,—as PR pros we have a number of tools in our backpack – and it is essential to pick the right tool for the task. By being prepared and knowing what we have, we can overcome obstacles we are likely to face and advance the campaign towards our end objective. Dora has different tools in her backpack each episode. This shows that one size does not fit all. We need to look at each situation and bring the right tools to the table.

The power of friends—A company won’t realize its PR goals or objectives without help. Enlist friends to spot distractions and help you reach your end goal. The big mountain may be too big for Dora to climb, but Tiko in his car can zip right up over it. The same goes for reaching skeptical consumers. The CEO or VP of Marketing may not be the right person, but an author or analyst may just be the friend you need.

Fighting Communications Noise—You don’t always want to say “Watch Out!” sometimes you need to say “Cuidado” (to save Tiko the squirrel). Just because you think your messaging is clear, doesn’t mean that it is. You need to understand how your target audience communicates and adapt your communications and message to meet their needs and interests.

Beware of Swiper—With any good PR program, there are always competitors or new situations that will try to sidetrack you into reacting to them. Don’t be distracted. Focus on your goal! If you suffer a setback, quickly figure out how to fix it and get back on track.

Praise is an Essential Motivator—At every milestone you need to reinforce that success. Dora does it in two distinct ways—with the Fiesta Trio after each challenge is overcome and with a great, loud “We did it” when the overall objective is reached.

We can apply the same methodology to campaign execution. Publicly praise people when small, but important tasks are done. This gives them a feeling of accomplishment and keeps them motivated to reach the final goal. The little things matter.

When the goal is reached – don’t just note it and move on – celebrate the work the team has done. If you do this, people will be willing to go the extra mile for you in the future.

Always Review—At the end of each episode Dora always asks people to share their favorite part of the story. As PR pros we need to review each campaign to find out what worked, what didn’t and what resonated the most. We can then improve our execution for the next campaign.

What do you think? Are there other lessons we can learn from Dora? What else do you see as PR inspiration?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

What do you want?

I was reading the brohaha re: PRSA and O'Dwyer's over the weekend, and also had an editor forward me their blog post decrying poor PR people. (Thankfully she indicated the agency I work for is not in the mix). You can read about it here. I encourage everyone to share their thoughts.

One of the core elements I want to come from my presidency is to have PRSA Boston serve its members with the programming and networking that they desire and need. We will be unveiling the "free" programming shortly (We just need to nail down a few dates).

But while most of our monthly programs are set for the year, we still have some room to adjust our schedule. What topics are of most interest to you? What do you want to see us discussing? We are here for PRSA Boston members, and value your input. So chime in by emailing me or posting some comments.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Time is running out

And I don't mean for my beloved Orangemen who were shown no respect on Selection Sunday...

The PRSA Boston/PR Newswire Charity Poker Tourney (being held at our March event) is only a bit more than two weeks away. The slots are selling out fast, so if you haven't yet registered please email our Chapter Administrator ASAP at bbwrites@verizon.net

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


There was an unfortunate hiccup in our event registration system. (It's nicer than saying it failed catastrophically since I don't have all the details).

If you registered for the Poker Tourney via the Opinionpower link I had on this site, we did not get it. We are sorry and are doing what we can to fix it as quickly as possible, but we are unlikely to recover the registrations we lost (Which included mine!!!)

We want to see you at poker, though, so if you registered - please reregister by emailing the PRSA Boston Chapter Administrator, Beth Bryant, at bbwrites@verizon.net


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Are you the best?

Are you the best? Do you want to help a good cause and find out? Do you want to have some fun networking? Well on March 28, Boston PR professionals get the chance to find out at PRSA Boston's regular meeting.

What am I talking about? At the regular meeting, we will be having the first ever PRSA Boston/PR Newswire Poker Tournament to find out who is the best PR poker player in Boston. (All proceeds benefit the PRSA Scholarship fund, which has given out close to $10,000 to date).

Trophies (courtesy of PR Newswire) will be awarded to:
The Best Player
The Best Agency Player
The Best Corporate Player

Note: No cash prizes will be awarded, just bragging rights for the year and the chance to help a good cause.

This tournament is being held in conjunction with our meeting and is appropriate for people with even just a basic knowledge of No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. If you haven’t played in years, that is no excuse. All you need to win is a chip and a chair!

For more details, go here.

Rumor has it, one PR agency (not Schwartz) has already claimed they will win best overall and best agency. Are you going to let them?

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