From PRville: PR and Passion Rule the Gator Nation

June 29th, 2009
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PR and Passion in the Gator NationHaving just returned from PRville (the PRSA Sunshine District conference in Jacksonville, Florida of which BurrellesLuce was a sponsor), I thought I’d share some tidbits from one of the sessions that I attended. 

First, let me say that Peter Shankman and Dayna Steele were the two keynote speakers and, expectedly, put on great shows along with their speeches. They are both an inspiration to all!

Not being from Florida, and not being a huge college sports fan, I didn’t have high expectations of the “PR and Passion Rule the Gator Nation” session led by Joe Hice, APR. But I was pleasantly surprised and am so very glad I chose that session to attend. 

The key takeaways from “using passion in your public relations campaign,” according to Hice you must:

  • Have Passion for the institution/brand…
  • To create Disciples for your brand…
  • By Connecting to your audience…
  • And Imprinting the experience in their minds.
  • You must also Engender Trust and Preference.
  • Connect and Converse – talk to your audience…
  • Demonstrate Creativity – the Wow Factor
  • Consistency, consistency, consistency

Hice provided lots of supporting information and I’ll attempt to re-cap thate as well He said:

  • The Passion must begin with you – love what you do.
  • Brand disciples are made through a relationship of mutual respect. To build trust and preference, you must connect with your audience. Hice gave the example of Harley-Davidson executives (including himself in a past life) participating in Harley rides.
  • An emotional connection is required to imprint the experience in their minds.
  • You must be consistent in your communications – one voice, one message – across all platforms (advertising, public relations, media relations, promotions, etc.).
  • And, finally, the “wow factor” comes from demonstrating creativity and differentiation from others in your space. For example, mix external and internal public relations with advertising, social networks (such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter), interactive media (such as YouTube and Hulu) and the “unexpected” such as outdoor billboards, airport banners, greeting cards, license plates, credit cards, and more.

My favorite example is the billboard he showed that read “University of Florida – the Foundation for The Gator Nation,” as if Gator Nation is the real brand and UF is secondary!  With 30,000 people per day (yes, that’s nearly 11 million a year) visiting InsideTheGatorNation.com or one of the UF news sites, I’ll say it, Joe – “The Gator Nation is Everywhere.”

Do you have a passion PR story to tell, or want to comment on this one?  We’d like to hear from you.

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