Invaluable Reminders, Courtesy of PRWeek: Part Two

Last time, we dug into three invaluable, big-picture takeaways from last month’s annual PRWeek Conference, all relating to culture. Now let’s take a look at three practice-oriented learnings that emerged from the conference, all ready-to-use:

- “Player-Coach” is the new model for senior agency leadership
- Marrying content with the right social and digital channels to optimize it is part art, part science
- Multi-platform content delivery is moving from innovation to expectation

Former Chief-of-Staff to Hillary Clinton (during her White House years), and current EVP of Marketing and Communications for Travelers, Lisa Caputo, revealed what she looks for in senior staff-people and agency personnel: “Player-Coaches.” In other words, strong mentors and business leaders who also stay involved in the day-to-day work. Things simply move too fast today, and are too complex, Caputo explained, to ever disengage, rendering decision making an ongoing process. Big cheers from the gallery at 360, where a roll-up-your sleeves work ethic is a longtime operating principle.

Dusty Tucker Jenkins, Target’s VP of Communications, gave insights from her company’s uber-successful social media experience. “At Target, content is queen,” and is used to build engagement, traffic and love, Jenkins shared, blazing an affinity-building path paved by storytelling. The foodie in me loved her way of looking at channels – “Twitter is a bite, Facebook is a snack, your website is a meal” – echoing Marshall McLuhan’s seminal, and still entirely relevant observation that medium is message.

A refreshingly (and often, hilariously) candid John Skipper, President of ESPN described his network’s leadership in multi-platform distribution, arguing that great content can, and must, find a home wherever the consumer wants it. His network pioneered numerous ways to satisfy ravenous sports’ fans hunger for sports programming, starting nearly two decades ago on the desktop, then mobile, and more recently becoming one the first networks to introduce a “watch anywhere” tablet app.

Asked with all those distribution channels why ESPN didn’t land the London Olympics, he brought the crowd – and his own rhetoric – right back down to earth. “Oh, that’s easy,” Skipper quipped. “NBC outbid us by a dollar.” Reminding us all that nowhere does money talk louder than in big time sports rights.