PR Summit Day 1, Afternoon Sessions

Day one of the 8th annual Public Relations & Communications Summit concluded with a series of breakouts and roundtable discussions.

[Disclosure: summaries are my own interpretations based on notes taken during the session, not to be taken as verbatim quotes. Notes and opinions provided, as always on this blog, are my own and not necessarily my employers’.]

The two tracks offered were Corporate Communications and Product Communications. I attended two corporate and one product.

“The Power of Personalization: The Integration of Social Media and Search” by Katherine Watier, Ketchum.

She provided a concise overview of the history of search including why and how it changed. She addressed how search was again changing as it is becoming more personalized and discussed the power of Google+ for search.

“Dealing with Drug and Device Recall Situations” was a panel discussion featuring Samina Bari, Ikaria, Donna Cary, Sanofi Pasteur, and David Albaugh, Millenium.

Cary made a very good point, a recall is never a 100% surprise, there are always indicators.

The group agreed and emphasized the to having a plan, having individuals with experience, and working through details before an event occurs.

As much as companies are concerned with recalls, the point was also made that recalls happen and they are not as big a media event as they once were domestically. The big impact, however, is what may happens to the product in other countries as their regulatory bodies will be watching closely.

The final break-out I attended was “Connecting with Consumers and Employees through Advocacy Organizations” by Tierney Saccavino, Acordia Therapeutics.

Noted that they conducted unbranded programs within the community their products treat, and the purpose is not about product sales, but instead it is about the philanthropy of the company.

She noted that in the very early days of the company they asked what they wanted the company to become and to this day they go back to the answers they created in the beginning.

To reinforce what they do in the community, there are photos, quotes and images of people in the patient community infused throughout the facility as a reminder of why they all come to work each day.

They regularly bring members of the community into the office to speak about their condition, good and bad, and what the product has meant to them.

They have employees attend public community events.

Over time they’ve been able to drive down the costs of engaging the community by being more efficient.

Today they have a portal, which includes parameters of what will be considered and what will not, to manage sponsorship requests.

The area that they have struggled with is to raise awareness about their work in the community moving forward. Companies can’t be afraid to promote the good work they do in addition to making life changing products.


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