Sunday, June 14, 2009

The community, the people: Counselors Academy 2009

I recently returned from Counselors Academy’s annual conference for agency leaders, my PR highlight of the year. I always come back from these gatherings with new friends/colleagues, fresh ideas I want to try and a renewed energy for the profession.


I first learned about social media and its PR potential from Giovanni Rodriguez at CA2005 and decided right then and there to start a blog (though it took nearly two years of research and listening before jumping in).


This year in addition to insightful and entertaining sessions, attendees contributed a rich and active twitter stream that offered a fresh dimension to the conference; check out #CA2009.


It wasn’t unusual for a table to have three or four people listening, tweeting and commenting on their colleagues’ tweets. My very good friends Gini Dietrich and Scott Farrell were my regular twitners (twitter partners), with special nods to my traveling buddy Joe Thornley and Abbie Fink. In fact, Gini Dietrich highlights a number of Counselors Academy thinker-tweeters here.


Here are a few of my most memorable highlights (via Twitter notes-better than Coles notes by far):

Tom Gable: There are three rules for succeeding in a recession. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.


Shanny Morgenstern: It’s not billable hours that matter, it’s the hours billed. (There’s a subtle distinction there, but an important one.)


Monty Hagler: 5 Rs drive new business: relationships, referrals, reputation, radar screen, RfP


Jason Baer: Listen on behalf of your clients; make sure you have a social media crisis plan in place and respond at the flashpoint (where it started).


Steve McKee (author of When Growth Stalls): Factors that contribute to a stalled business include: lack of consensus, loss of focus, loss of nerve, inconsistency.


Steve McKee: A business is more likely to be successful if it pursues a commitment to excellence.


Robert Stephens (founder of Geek Squad and the ultimate nerd): Think of your company as the plot of a great movie.


Robert Stephens: Hire for curiosity, ethics and drive.


I think the key to Counselors is that it’s a true community in every sense of the word – PR agency leaders, entrepreneurs, people with a common interest and goal. We come together in the spirit of meeting, learning, sharing and friendship. And it’s both inspiring and humbling to be around so many smart folks in one place.


In retail it’s location, location, location. At Counselors, while no one could complain about the location (a lovely resort in Palm Springs), it’s really people, people, people.


The next meeting is in May 2010 in Ashville, North Carolina. Hope to see you there.


P.S. You can also listen to episode 166 of Inside PR for some CA mini interviews.

4 comments:

Gini Dietrich said...

Martin, what a great idea to blog about your favorite tweets from the conference...not just because I make a special appearance. This is really smart. And you're right, the people are really what it's all about. Well, the people, Consoler's Academy, #themesong, and riding 40 miles into the mountains (and missing the breakfast I paid for).

Scott Farrell said...

Great post, Martin. You managed to condense 2-1/2 days of great meetings, smart people and provocative conversation into one quick read. And the podcast was excellent. No one should miss it.

Martin Waxman said...

Thanks Gini & Scott! Maybe we should call ourselves condensers & consolers (a new type of communications professional).

Counselors (consolers) wouldn't have been the same without the two of you.

Louise said...

Although I was very sad to miss CA this year, I appreciate your Twitterific attempt to summarize it. Sounds like I missed some great presenters. I'm really interested in learning more about When Growth Stalls. Can you share more?