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 CURRENTS 2012 :: June 10-12, 2012

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Activating Sponsorships - The Who and Why

Brent Barootes
Partnership Group - Sponsorship Specialists™

This session will focus on activation, what it is and how it leverages and enhances the sponsorship investment. The session will review how both sponsors and properties (those that buy and sell sponsorship) can participate in this process and its critical role in delivering ROI using national and regional examples of successful activation. It is targeted to all delegates at the 2012 Canadian Public Relations Conference. It will be critical for those communicators assigned the task of delivering the corporate brand and message through the investment made by their SME or corporation in sponsorship. It will be an important session for communicators and PR leaders from non-profits, charities and member associations which are engaged in supporting the sale of sponsorships. It will also be vital for agency and PR firm delegates to further understand their role in their clients’ partnerships in the new world.

Who should attend: All

Say what? An interactive panel on decoding Gen Y

Jeremy Berry, APR, Associate Professor, Faculty of Communication Studies, Mount Royal University
Julie Geller, Director, Social Media, Cision Canada
Derek Lothian, Manager, National Communications, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Last year, Canada's oldest baby boomers turned 65, marking the first time in our nation’s history that more workers left the labour force than entered it. For many seasoned PR practitioners, it's a milestone approached with mixed trepidation and excitement – one that signals an unofficial changing of the guard, and ushers in a new era of GenY communicators. But who exactly are these up-and-comers? What do they stand for?

This interactive panel discussion features three guests with very unique perspectives – an educator, a social media strategist and a recent graduate. We'll examine the challenges and opportunities facing today’s organizations and building GenY communities online. Sure, The Beatles revolutionized music; but this is a Justin Bieber world now.

Who should attend: All

Crisis Communications: Then and Now

Linda Bilben
Partner & Creative Director

Over the past five years, crisis communications has evolved considerably. Communicators are no longer able to control the message and must be prepared to deal with attacks and misinformation on all fronts—including social media. From British Petroleum to Domino's, social media has created a new challenge (and opportunity) for communicators during a crisis situation. Every crisis planner must consider, understand, appreciate and be ready to engage in social media during troublesome times. Without the right tools and processes in place, even a small crisis can damage an organization’s reputation and negatively affect its bottom line.

This presentation will compare real-life examples of two of Vancouver's most visible crises — the roof deflation at BC Place and a construction death at Canada Place — in order to demonstrate how crisis communications has changed in the past five years. Participants will learn what common elements are included in crisis communications plans, how social media has impacted crisis communications planning and execution, and strategies that can be immediately implemented within their organizations.

Communications professionals must be on top of industry best practices to assist them in responding to a crisis quickly, accurately and compassionately, giving their company the ability to use crisis situations to protect and build its reputation.

Who should attend: All

The Art of Media: Generating news coverage in traditional and digital/online media

William (Bill) Carney, Consultant and author, In the News: The Practice of Media Relations in Canada
Mark Hunter LaVigne APR, FCPRS, President, Hunter LaVigne Communications Inc.

Working with news media is the most challenging form of PR, since you do not control the means of communications but rely on a third party intervener: news media. In a constantly changing news media environment, how do you reach your audience using traditional and digital/social media? Understand how media work so you can work with them to achieve your corporate goals. What is a strategic approach in this news environment? What are media looking for? How do you reach them and how do you help them get their messages out? How do you realistically evaluate your media relations efforts? Is it worth it all in the end, given the inherent risk and the wide range of alternative communications tools at your disposal? After attending this session, practitioners will be able to bring a more strategic sense of media relations to their organization, one that will help it achieve its strategic goals.

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level

Reach for higher ground!

Carleen Carroll, APR
Director of Strategic Communications
Halton Region

Take your career to the next level and join the ranks of the APR professionals - you owe it to yourself and to our shared profession to be the best practitioner you can be! Learn what it takes to succeed in this rigorous, but rewarding, three-step process. Having your APR tells others that you're serious about your chosen profession and denotes a base of knowledge, skill and competency that is recognized by your professional society. Join Carleen Carroll, APR, CPRS Regional Examiner, Ontario and Marie Rochon, APR 2012 to learn about the process and the experience!

Who should attend: Senior-level

Building Reputation Through Thought Leadership

Michael Davis
Partner and Managing Director

This session explores how an organization can build its reputation and identity by developing an engaging thought leadership position on a particular issue or cause.

Learn expert and creative approaches to communication issues by discussing real-world case studies relevant to organizations of all sizes and in various industry sectors, such as consulting, public, private (B2B and B2C) and not-for-profit.

Participants will be able to position their organization as experts for certain issues or causes after learning the best methods of engaging the public and how traditional media, social media and advocacy can be used to build thought leadership. Through thought leadership, an organization can reach out to key stakeholders and build a reputation that stands out from the crowd.

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level

MRP: Canada's PR Measurement Standard

Rachel Douglas
Manager, Brand PR
Kellogg Canada Inc.

MRP is the Canadian public relations industry standard for measuring editorial coverage. Developed for the PR industry by the PR industry, it's a consistent, customizable and affordable reporting standard for Canadian PR practitioners. In this session, Rachel will give an overview of MRP and demonstrate how the system allows users to analyze and score media coverage, attach clips and produce comprehensive and professional reports to show the value of a media relations campaign.

Who should attend: All

Barcelona: Turning Principles into Results

Pierre Gince, APR
Direction Communications stratégiques

Established in 2009, the Barcelona Principles are a declaration of standards and practices to guide measurement and evaluation of public relations. But should the Barcelona Principles be considered dogma, and an end unto themselves? Or are they actually more a vehicle or framework designed to guide PR professionals?

In this workshop, the Barcelona Principles and their role in promoting greater recognition of the field of public relations will be discussed. There will be an emphasis on the importance of evaluation in public relations, particularly through press analysis.

The Barcelona Principles are based on theory, and as such require a flexible approach to implementation in order to gain respect from decision-makers and business people. Professionals will be able to make better-informed decisions about analyzing (either themselves or hiring out) their press coverage, and be able to identify the best approach for their situations or organizations.

Who should attend: All

Communicating to a Brave, New, Fragmented World

Panel Moderator:
Joshua Guilar, Professor, Royal Roads University
Panel members:
Lisa Read, IT Instructor
Robyn Quinn, APR, Communications Manager
Phil Saunders, Principal, Narrative Devices Communications
Jennifer Walinga, Performance Consultant, Integrated Focus Consulting

This session will focus on the theme, Communicating to a Brave, New, Fragmented World. This is a panel presentation featuring faculty from Royal Roads University. Participants will learn what makes for successful public relations in a world that is full of information; why stakeholders such as employees or investors have difficulty buying in to messages; and how to distinguish a particular message so it gets through to the intended audience. PR professionals work in an environment that often is fragmented; discovering the reasons for this fragmentation and the way to successfully navigate and provide value is crucial to professionals. This presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer period with the audience.

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level

Marketing with Video

Cody Graham
Media One Multimedia Inc.

Online video has become an effective means of communicating for businesses, both to customers/clients, and to staff/employees.  Video is on the upswing, and it's common use has only begun to expand – understand video and it's uses, and you are ahead of the curve in a rapidly growing marketing sector.

Corporately, online video may be used to showcase a product or service, highlight company endeavours or offer insight into business operations, fundamental methods and ideals.

In preparing for publishing the video process can be broken down into three steps, pre-production, production, and post-production.  This session will focus on the pre-production phase where the communications professional can save their client time and money by being an asset to the process, and understanding how to plan to create better video.

Some aspects that will be covered in detail are:

  • Production Planning - creating a video outline & budget
  • Publishing Plan – where will your video go?
  • Viral Video Campaigns, what makes these successful?
  • Using your video for Traditional Media (TV) b-roll
  • Simple Tips for better video


Who should attend: All

Signs of Success: Charting the Course for a better tomorrow

Ginny Jones, APR
Acuity Options

This session will focus on "Signs of Success," a powerful focusing exercise that allows communicators to motivate, engage and energize their team and stakeholders. Throughout this session, participants will be encouraged to think of a larger and more strategic definition of communications management and will return to work with this new philosophy. Participants will be inspired to consider the next evolution of communications management - relationship management - for their organizations. The presentation will also touch on a groundbreaking measurement tool that is used by the City of Guelph to improve the quality of key stakeholder relationships.

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level

Marking a Milestone: Celebrating 75 years of great Canadian books

Joanne Larocque-Poirier
Head, Endowments and Prizes
Canada Council for the Arts

How do you leverage a major anniversary milestone to intensify engagement, raise awareness and instill pride in Canadians? How do you differentiate your award from other high-profile awards? This session will walk you through a successful integrated communications campaign for the 75th anniversary of the Governor General's Literary Awards — a campaign that includes wide-ranging strategic partnerships, web and social media tools, public engagement and media relations activities.

This workshop will demonstrate how wide-ranging strategic partnerships and successful cross-divisional projects can enhance an organization's reach and capacity. PR professionals will learn how to develop a strategic approach to communications, liaise with key stakeholders and reinforce an organization's brand positioning and public profile. Participants will have a better understanding of audience-driven, goal-oriented processes, as well as planning models.

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level

Grader Training - CPRS Needs You!
Pay it Forward by being part of the Accreditation grading process.

Kathy Malley, APR
Chief Examiner, CPRS
Vice-President, Malley Industries Inc.

There are more than 45 candidates pursuing accreditation in 2012. That's the largest number in recent years, and it's presenting both a challenge and an opportunity. The process really needs more graders!

Becoming an Accreditation Grader is a great way to advance your knowledge while helping the public relations profession maintain high standards of ethical and competent practice through our APR designation. Chief Examiner Kathy Malley, APR will provide insights into each phase of the APR grading process. Even if you've graded in the past, you should take in this session to ensure that your grading is in sync with recent process changes and how incoming graders are being advised.

Open to current graders, APRs accredited in 2008 or earlier, regional examiners and accreditation chairs.

Who should attend: Senior-level

From Crisis Communications to Deliberate Planning

Major Brian Martin
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Canadian Forces — National Defence Public Affairs Office Pacific Region

This presentation will give insight as to how the North American Aerospace Defence Command and the United States Northern Command are utilizing social media. From the first hesitant steps into this new arena in 2008 to a comprehensive social media policy for the commands and its members, this presentation will provide the audience with a better understanding on how the Canadian and U.S. militaries have evolved in this area in order to better communicate with its publics.

Participants will gain some insights, strategies, tips and will learn how to avoid pitfalls in order to effectively utilize social media with this rare insight into how the Canadian and U.S. militaries use this form of communication.

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level

Managing Culture Shift — @HaltonParents: implementing a social media strategy in a culture of caution

Andrea Montgomery
Communications Specialist
Halton Region

@HaltonParents is a multiple award-winning social media initiative. Entering the fluid environment of social media was a significant culture shift for the HaltonParents' nurses bound by strict standards, stringent documentation and report writing. This interactive presentation will focus on overcoming the barriers of a cautious environment, keeping momentum when social media feels like "another thing to do" and demonstrating success when it's not about profit margins.

Social media has changed how audiences/consumers interact with organizations — whether they are for-profit businesses, not-for-profit agencies or government organizations. The @HaltonParents social media initiative will better equip PR professionals to help lead organizations through the changing landscape. This dynamic presentation will provide tools to better engage all staff in embracing change and implementing strategies that will make a positive impact in the long run.

Who should attend: All

How to overcome the disclosure dilemma — a framework for building trust and managing expectations in times of uncertainty

Panel Moderator:
Heather Pullen, APR, Manager, Public Relations and Communications, Hamilton Health Sciences
Panel members:
Josh Greenberg, Associate Professor & Undergraduate Supervisor, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University
Jeff Vallentin MBA, APR, Vice-President, Communications, Stakeholder Relations and Corporate Services, Hamilton Health Sciences
Terence (Terry) Flynn, PhD, APR, FCPRS, Assistant Professor, Communications Management, McMaster University

In the fall of 2011, an investigation revealed that thousands of patients were exposed to hepatitis and HIV at a private Ottawa clinic. Ottawa Public Health went public, but in the first few days would not say what clinic, what procedure or what doctor(s) were involved. Using this case study as the starting point, this session will discuss the principles of disclosure and how to maintain strong relationships with stakeholders while recognizing the media's and public's right to know. Social media and the 24-hour news cycle have changed the considerations that must be made in situations like this. More than ever, trust, transparency and providing timely information are vital. Participants will hear from four experts and will leave the session equipped with new knowledge of managing disclosures and will be inspired to make preparations for this type of situation in their organization.

Who should attend: Senior-level

Stories from the Trenches: How we integrated social media, digital services and "traditional" PR and lived to tell the tale

Terry Rachwalski
President, Amplified Services
Tartan Group

The Tartan Group made a strategic decision to include social media implementation and products in its suite of communications services. This workshop will walk through why and what the company did, what worked, and what didn’t. The presentation will conclude with an interactive session to help other firms and PR professionals assess whether "going digital" is right for them.

Independent communications professionals and communications firms who provide social media and digital services will benefit from attending this workshop. After being presented with client examples, case studies and hearing general digital insights, PR professionals will be able to more effectively create and implement an integrated communications and marketing plan. Attendees will also learn to develop ROI measures specific to digital campaigns. Participants can expand their knowledge in this area of communications and learn what questions to ask and what needs to be done to step up digital activities.

Who should attend: All

Why we have two ears and one mouth: The strategic value of listening in the social space

Eli Singer, Founder and President, Entrinsic
Sheldon Levine, Community Manager, Sysomos

Effectively listening in the social space allows one to quickly see what's happening, why it's happening and who's driving the conversations online. Use the information from this session throughout your strategic communications process. Participants will learn how to conduct in-depth research and analysis of social conversations and maximize the value of a social media budget. Learn how to share this information internally in a relevant and understandable manner by communicating the importance of social media to c-suite executives. The presentation will help PR professionals define their role in social media when working in organizations and businesses that have marketing, digital and/or advertising departments.

Who should attend: Senior-level

Stayin' Alive: Engaging Employees

Brenda Sweeney, APR
Kennedy Jones & Sweeney Inc.

Repetitive messaging year-after-year can turn the most committed employee into a cynical one. Stayin' Alive, Kennedy Jones and Sweeney's campaign for Oakville Hydro's new Occupational Health & Safety Management System, overcame this apathy by applying the best practices of internal communications including research, analysis, communications planning and measurement. This disciplined approach yielded compelling events, exciting collateral and complete management buy-in. Come and see what made employees, managers, executives – and even suppliers – take notice and change how they looked at workplace health and safety.

Get the most out of internal communications by learning industry best practices, how to research and plan an effective employee engagement campaign, and how to turn your research into an idea generator for branding and visual materials. Eliminate the pre-conception about how “boring” internal communications can be!

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level

Global trends in PR: Canada's chance to lead?

Daniel Tisch APR, FCPRS
CEO, Argyle Communications
Chair, Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management

What are the hottest global trends in public relations and communication management? What are the imperatives for Canadians in a world of blurred boundaries? Join us for an interactive workshop led by Daniel Tisch, APR, FCPRS, Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management -- the confederation of the world's major PR industry associations. In addition to sharing international survey research, Dan will outline a new opportunity for Canadians to get involved in a global dialogue about the value of public relations to organizations – and to society.

Who should attend: All

How Do You Rank Your Skills in Sustainable Development and CSR Communications?

Solange Tremblay, APR

The most recent studies show that communications are still scarce in terms of sustainable development and social responsibility. Communication professionals involved in issues management, risk and crisis communications, social responsibility and sustainable development will be interested in this interactive presentation that will explore the challenges and most promising trends for communication on these issues. Participants will learn how to better define their accompaniment role within organizations on sustainable development and social responsibility issues in their dealings with numerous social stakeholders affected by their activities. The importance of responsible communications is needed now more than ever.

Who should attend: Mid to Senior-level