By Rachel Colonna

The time on my phone switched from 6:59 a.m. to 7 a.m. right as the elevator doors opened to the 16th floor of Lewis Towers. A sweet woman by the name of Judy Voss, the event’s coordinator and PRSA Director of Professional Development, assigned me to check in registrants. For the next two hours, I found myself greeting professionals somehow linked to the PR world, all ready for the Strategic Collaboration Conference. I had no idea about the wealth of knowledge and experience I was about to tap into.

At 1:40 p.m., The founder and CEO of Wax Marketing, Bonnie Harris, declared into the microphone, “Demographics don’t work anymore.” Demographics don’t work? What was she talking about? How else were we supposed to determine target audiences? She further explained that people are able to curate how they receive information. Therefore, people within the same demographics get their information in different ways, making a specific demographic very difficult to reach. Her genius alternative was to focus on consumer behavior.

The second speaker that struck me was Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing CEO. He spoke on content co-creation, which he perfectly illustrated by saying, “If you want to be in the media, become the media.” An example of content co-creation would be to reach out to a food blogger to promote a food brand. Everything he said made absolute sense. Partnering with another person creates authenticity, improves quality of content if an expert is used and increases the consumer interactions with the content.

By the conclusion of this two-day conference, I walked away with excitement. Such excitement bubbled from opposing ideas to similar concepts. Ideas taught in my college classrooms, ideas that much of the PR world followed as guidelines to the industry, were challenged. That variability proved this world is open to adapt toward efficiency. It is not a world stuck in routine outlines but a world constantly trying to break the boundaries and do something great that has never been done before.

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