NYC or Bust – for Digital PR Talks & Awards

I’m headed to New York for the Digital PR Next Practices Summit and Digital PR Awards (brought to you by PR News) tomorrow.  I’ve got a special place in my heart for NYC – my wife and I lived there 2001-2005 when she was going to graduate school, we have many friends there, and our daughter was born there – so it’s always nice to go back.  I haven’t been back in over a year.  Anyway, we’ve (our Dallas office) been selected as a finalist for 4 different awards (Influencer Communications, Social Networking Campaign, Digital Marketing Campaign, and New Website) and I’m the representative to attend.

Awards are a funny thing – they are a tangible piece of recognition for doing great work and for that reason alone, I think they are purposeful.  (I believe strongly in recognition!  But it doesn’t have to be an award).  But if someone/groups/companies are driven by winning awards, then I have questions.  In my opinion, awards shouldn’t be the purpose that drives ideas and solutions.  It’s not whether or not this idea or that idea is “award-winning,” it’s whether or not this idea or that idea achieves the predetermined goals/objectives and ultimately impacts the client’s business.  And sometimes, things just play out in a way that a random judging committee thinks they are “award worthy.”  Such is the case here.  I’m grateful and excited and I think it would be awesome for our group and our clients to be recognized for all of our work.

More than the awards, I’m excited to attend the conference.  I’m new to the “PR” world, but not new to the digital and social strategy/development world.  So, it will be interesting to hear perspectives from different PR/communications leaders through my digital experience filter.  There is a solid lineup from brands to agencies to entrepreneurs.  I like the set-up, too – it’s a 1-day conference filled with 7 different sessions.  The only option is whether or not to go.

It’s going to be insightful because these sessions are centered around what I’m faced with every day, much more than what Out-of-Home component makes sense for a particular initiative.  It’s crisis management and “emerging” online social tools and measurement and influencers – look at the agenda and you’ll get a snapshot of the issues I think about on a typical day.  These are components that impact who, why, and how we communicate on a daily basis.  This is the real driver of our solutions, not any particular channel, like OOH or mobile.  But this is one of the things that I get so excited about with OOH, especially Interactive Out-of-Home – by touching people where they’re out and about, on the places and things around them, we have an opportunity to be more relevant and effective communicators.  Every touch point is a chance to strengthen or weaken a relationship.  The goal, though, is to touch the “right” people in the right way at the right time (how many times have you heard that?).

So, tomorrow, I’ll get a chance to peak inside other people’s heads, which is generally a good thing.  These are talented practitioners, so by and large, it should be a good thing.  We’ll see.  I’ll be blogging the entire day – stay tuned in if you’re interested.

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