The Future of Communications Conference

Nov. 5–6, 2019 • Chicago

An event for forward-thinking PR, internal communications and social media pros!

#RaganFuture

Meet us in Chicago as we bring together hundreds of leaders at the intersection of communications, technology and branding success to reveal new research and takeaways, share fresh ideas, network with peers and discuss practical ways to embrace the most important trends and technologies.

The future of communications starts here.

What you’ll learn:

  • Current market trends, research, tools and more that can help communicators obtain buy-in and grab a seat at the table
  • Ways to protect your organization’s reputation in an era of misinformation and distrust
  • Best practices for working with reporters and influencers to drive mentions and clicks
  • How to tell stories across generations through video and beyond
  • How to capture the attention of employees who are bombarded with information
  • Secrets for harnessing relevant data—and measurement that matters
  • Ideas for handling crises that can go viral within hours—or minutes
  • Practical ways to take advantage of current innovations and new technology
  • Essential skills PR pros must have in today’s ever-changing media landscape

Presented by:
Presenters
PRSA
Don't miss this unique opportunity!

AGENDA
Pre-Conference Workshops
Tuesday, Nov. 5
8:45–10:15 a.m.
Foresight is 2020: Effective strategies for employee engagement in the new year

How can you shift your mindset—and your communications environment—to communicate with employees, and not just to them? Rebuilding your intranet isn’t just about switching platforms and introducing a new design: If your employees can’t use it for what they need and want, your efforts can quickly be wasted. Building the technical and editorial environment for two-way communication is just the beginning. Kristina Goel, director of employee communications and engagement, and Catherine Williams, manager of communications planning for the American Medical Association, will share key takeaways from the AMA’s journey to create an award-winning employee resource and how they used that digital transformation to empower, connect and activate AMA's employees. Through an interactive planning session, they'll walk you through how you can do the same.

You’ll learn:

  • What questions to ask now to create an extraordinary plan for 2020
  • How to assess your intranet and build a strategy to evolve it to meet your objectives and your employees needs.
  • Ways to marry design, content and governance for maximum adoption
  • The most important elements to creating effective employee engagement strategies
  • How to connect, empower and equip employees as front-line communicators—and redefine your company culture

 

 

Director of employee communications and engagement
American Medical Association
Read bio
Manager of communications planning
American Medical Association
Read bio
10:30 a.m.–noon
The future of crisis response: How to protect your organization with comprehensive communications

Part one: Nebraska Medicine’s comprehensive crisis response to the Ebola outbreak
Nebraska Medicine’s Biocontainment Unit is one of three facilities in the United States equipped to handle a crisis involving highly contagious and deadly outbreaks, including Ebola, SARS, smallpox, plague and MERS. The hospital’s communications plans, specialized training and crisis drills were put to work after being one of three units chosen to care for U.S. citizens evacuated from Africa with the Ebola virus. Paul Baltes, director of communications for Nebraska Medicine, will share how careful preparation that focused on engaging with crucial stakeholders led to success, the changes they’ve made in the years since—and how you can translate your plans into action when crises hit.

Part two: Brainstorm responses to a real-time crisis scenario
You’ve crafted and practiced your comprehensive crisis strategy, but surprises can turn that response upside down in a matter of minutes. In this interactive exercise, an unforeseen situation has suddenly made your crisis more complicated. With the minutes ticking down and your organization’s reputation on the line, you’ll work with a team of industry peers to quickly craft and deploy your messages across channels, effectively relaying information to the proper audiences before the crisis intensifies. What will you do next? Using a mock crisis scenario based on real events that happened to communications experts at Nebraska Medicine during the Ebola crisis, you’ll brainstorm with your team how to develop and execute your response.

You’ll learn:  

  • How to adjust your strategy and respond to additional complications and information
  • Ideas for distributing your messages across channels and audiences without delay
  • Ways to get your entire team on board and align your responses with your organization’s core values
  • Responses designed to build trust with reporters and help you get ahead of the quickly moving narrative
Communications director
Nebraska Medicine
Read bio
Nick Lanyi
Media relations and crisis communications expert
Ragan Consulting Group
Read bio
Noon–1:30 p.m.
Lunch and registration

Lunch is on your own.

Main Conference
Tuesday, Nov. 5
1:30–2:15 p.m.
Opening keynote
The future of marketing: Creating a ‘clean slate’ moment

Marketing is changing at a dizzying pace and marketers must take advantage of any opportunity to adapt and improve their function. Once you learn to recognize them, “clean slate” moments—whether they’re organizational changes or emerging trends—have the potential to revamp and reinvigorate your marketing.

Join Aimee Schuster, chief marketing officer of Miller Heiman Group, and Dave Parro, partner and senior vice president of client services at Walker Sands, for an in-depth look at how they took advantage of the ultimate “clean slate” moment to transform an outdated, ineffective marketing department into a digital-first, results-driven organization. In her first nine months on the job, Schuster rebranded the 40-year-old Miller Heiman Group, rebuilt its marketing technology stack, implemented a new lead-flow process and closed-loop reporting, launched a new global website in six languages and introduced a new SaaS platform to market. She did this all with a skeleton marketing team and a new marketing agency that started on the same day she did. Schuster and Parro will give an insider’s look into the transformation process, along with providing tips and takeaways on how you can create your own “clean slate” moments to implement change in your organization.

Partner and senior vice president of client services and strategy
Walker Sands
Read bio
Chief marketing officer
Miller Heiman Group
Read bio
2:25–2:50 p.m.
The future of social media, part one: Tying social media strategies to holistic metrics that boost and prove value

Social media has driven communications strategies to become an integral (and sometimes first) part of a campaign to reach audiences and persuade them to act. However, digital-focused communicators have to validate their efforts more than ever and show that their work to increase engagement is building trust as well as generating traffic and leads. Bruce Kennedy, social media manager for Transamerica, will show you how to effectively and accurately evaluate the performance of your social media posts and digital content.

You’ll learn:

  • How to show tangible results from your social media campaigns
  • “Off social” metrics to gather, including Google Analytics and Salesforce data
  • Ways to connect to your organization’s website team and better understand online traffic numbers
  • Tools you can harness to prove your value, both on and off social media platforms
Social media manager
Transamerica
Read bio
2:55–3:20 p.m.
The future of social media, part two: How The Onion remains relevant in an era of ‘fake news’ and digital disruption

Many people are surprised to learn that “America’s Finest News Source” has been around for over three decades. The longevity and success of The Onion, the original satirical news source, is due to the digital media company's agility in innovating, experimenting and evolving with the times. With more than 7 million monthly unique website visitors, 6.5 million Facebook fans and 11 million Twitter followers, The Onion is a more influential and important satirical force than ever. Ryan Shattuck, senior social and digital media manager for The Onion and ClickHole, will part the curtain to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at what brings the publications’ content and voice to life, and how The Onion survives and remains relevant in this era of ‘fake news’ and digital disruption.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to train, not trick, your audience
  • The importance of brand voice in and out of the social media ecosystem
  • How to respect your audience with the content you share
  • Ideas for infusing humor into your social media engagement
Senior social and digital media manager
The Onion and Clickhole
Read bio
3:30–4:10 p.m.
Fireside
The future of ROI: Proving PR’s worth and earning a seat at the table

As communicators continue struggling to measure and report on their business impact, they are also increasingly asked to take part in strategic decisions that drive sales, safeguard organizations from reputational disaster and boost brands in ways that also strengthen relationships and solidify trust—and do all of it with a fraction of the budget given to marketing and advertising. In this fireside discussion with Lee Gordon, director of marine communications and public relations for Brunswick Corporation, Amy Patti, communications director for the Museum of Science and Industry and Eric Benderoff, senior vice president of brand solutions at Burson Cohn & Wolfe, you’ll glean takeaways for how savvy communicators can turn traditional communications strategies on their heads and prove the value of what they do for organizations’ bottom lines.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to reinvent traditional tactics and strategies, including media relations and corporate communications
  • How to report your wins in ways that appeal to executives and clients and prove your bottom-line impact
  • Ways you can change perceptions for your organization, your role and the industry at large
  • Why and how PR pros can’t be communicators in business situations, but rather business people who know how to communicate
Senior vice president of brand solutions
Burson Cohn & Wolfe
Read bio
Communications director
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Read bio
Director of marine public relations and communications
Brunswick Corporation
Read bio
4:15–5 p.m.
Closing keynote
The future of communications lies in data trends and measurement insights

PR, marketing, social media and internal communicators are being tasked with reaching and engaging target audiences in new ways across channels—and show how their work is hitting both “soft” and “hard” metrics along with business goals. Brandi Boatner, social and influencer communications lead for global markets at IBM Corporate Communications, will share how you can come to the boardroom table armed with fresh insights and trends—along with a keen understanding of your audiences—to create content and stories that get people talking and clicking for more.

Through social listening and other data sources, you’ll learn how to read and understand what the numbers say to help you better target audiences, measure your campaigns and position yourself as a strategic business expert with the ability to create communications strategies that inform your audiences instead of just reacting to events.

Brandi Boatner, IBM
Social and influencer communications lead for global markets
IBM
Read bio
5-7 p.m.
Cocktail party
Networking cocktail party

Join us after our first day's closing keynote to network with industry peers, share insights and enjoy delicious snacks and drinks.

Wednesday, Nov. 6
7:30-8:15 a.m.
Bonus breakfast
Insights from 465 million messages: How to write emails employees will actually read

Email remains the essential communications tool for business, but email overload and negative employee experiences present real challenges. With nearly 150 email messages hitting our inboxes every day, it is no surprise many important internal communications are left unopened or unread. Being an effective communicator means knowing how to carefully craft a corporate email broadcast that not only reaches its intended audience but gets read and understood. Michael DesRoschers, founder and managing partner of PoliteMail, will share results from its 2019 communications survey, revealing the challenges communicators face and what strategies they have adopted to improve employees' email experience.

You'll learn:

  • Email best practices, key insights and the latest trends in mobile email access
  • How distribution and timing can boost engagement
  • Crucial mistakes to avoid when creating and sending email
  • How much is too much when it comes to email
  • How employees' email habits have changed and ways to adapt your strategy to remain effective
Founder and managing director
PoliteMail Software
Read bio
8:30–9:10 a.m.
Opening fireside
The future of the PR pro: How to succeed in an era of misinformation and distrust

The media landscape is changing, and so are communicators’ roles and responsibilities. How can you adjust to ensure your message and content reach the right people at the right time on the right channels (including digital, video, audio and print)? Moreover, how can you increase trust in an era of cluttered social media platforms, shrinking newsrooms and misinformation that can quickly spread?

Join Jill Davison, vice president of corporate and brand communications for the Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.), and Diane Schwartz, chief executive officer for Ragan Communications, for a discussion about the role of the modern communicator and the industry’s outlook—along with secrets for success that you can use to boost your organization’s reputation and trust as well as sharpen your skills to take on innovative ideas, top trends and the reins of ROI.

CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
Jill Davison Intel
Vice president of corporate communications
Meredith Corporation (formerly Time, Inc.)
Read bio
9:20–9:50 a.m.
The future of media relations: Ensure your narrative cuts through the noise

With shrinking newsrooms and a glut of messages bombarding consumers, it’s more important than ever to employ savvy pitching strategies and flex storytelling muscles to bend journalists’ ears—and capture the eyes of their readers. Tamra Johnson, national spokesperson and PR manager for AAA, will show you how to grab headlines and get your news out there through a combination of media relations prowess and self-publishing mastery.

You’ll learn:

  • How to act like a PR pro but think like a journalist
  • Ways to capture current trends and specific publications’ angles in your pitches
  • How to build an interesting online newsroom and thriving content distribution strategy that supports media relations efforts
  • Why visuals and videos are essential to storytelling efforts—and how to include them in your pitches and more
Tamra Johnson
National spokesperson
AAA
Read bio
10–10:30 a.m.
The future of change communications: Building trust from the inside out

When Sun Country Airlines went from an airline that competed against large companies such as Delta to a low-cost carrier, it had the tough job of communicating the new value proposition to its loyal customers and employees, as well as journalists and prospective customers in new markets. The principles are the same, whether your leadership lineup is transformed or your organization’s business model is overhauled. Kirsten Wenker, senior manager of communications at Sun Country Airlines, will share how the airline harnessed PR best practices and relationships to play on emotions, build upon existing brand sentiments and set a successful narrative moving forward during a time of immense change—and how you can do the same when facing transformations.

You’ll learn:

  • How to gather and implement employee feedback
  • Ways to effectively communicate organizational changes in ways that builds stakeholder trust
  • Tips for building an internal ambassador program to champion your most important messages
  • How to stay ahead of the narrative during a transformation, and throughout the life of your brand
Senior manager of communications
Sun Country Airlines
Read bio
10:40–11:10 a.m.
The future of reputation management: How culture affects your workforce and your bottom line

Crafting and distributing key messages to your organization’s most important audiences is the foundation of successful internal and corporate communications, but without values to back up your messages and a solid brand voice to match, you’ll have unhappy employees and be vulnerable to outside PR crises. Leslie Krohn, chief communications officer for Argonne National Laboratory, will share takeaways from reshaping and rolling out a set of core values and behaviors driving a thriving culture—and show what that means for organizations’ reputations now and to come.

You’ll learn:

  • Why culture is crucial to an organization’s success—and how communications can lead the charge for change
  • Steps for gaining buy-in and increasing adoption of core values and behaviors across stakeholders in your organization
  • Insights into innovative tactics that engage employees on the culture change journey
  • What your organization stands to gain from actively addressing culture change
Chief communications officer
Argonne National Laboratory
Read bio
11:20–noon
Awards showcase
The future of communications campaigns: Takeaways from award-winning efforts

Join us for a showcase of communications campaigns that employed best practices and current trends to innovate ways to increase online engagement, grab media coverage and get employees involved.

Emily Kirchner, manager of communications for Whirlpool’s North American region, will share how the company used immersive and experiential tactics to better help its workforce connect with Whirlpool’s mission and imperatives, including such efforts as a rock concert, escape room and more. “gNARLY 2018: Unlock Our Potential” won the internal event strategy for employee experience in Ragan’s 2018 Employee Communications Awards.

Jason Benning, social marketing program manager at Premier Health, will share how thought leadership in the local health care space leveraged trending headlines, drove buzz and boosted online engagement for the health care network through value-laden blog content with its Premier Health Now program. Premier Health Now was a winner of a Modern Healthcare Marketing Impact Award, received an honorable mention in Ragan’s 2019 Digital Marketing & Social Media Awards and was a two-time winner of the American Marketing Association Pinnacle Award.

Amy Rohn, partner, senior vice president and director of public relations at Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, will share how the agency was able to highlight Briggs & Stratton’s value proposition through a brand ambassador campaign, telling an emotional and authentic story that grabbed both attention and media coverage and showing that your next spokesperson can be found in the most unlikely of places. “You.Powered.” was the winner in the “use of a celebrity or personality” category in Ragan’s 2018 Media Relations Awards.

Social marketing program manager
Premier Health
Read bio
Partner, senior vice president and director of public relations
Lindsay, Stone & Briggs
Read bio
Manager of communications for the North American region
Whirlpool
Read bio
Noon–1 p.m.
Lunch
12:35-1 p.m.
Bonus lunch session
The future of engagement: Unlocking business value through integrated communications

It’s no longer good enough to have great content or outstanding storytelling skills: You must reach audiences where they reside with what they want to hear, when and how they want to hear it. During this lunchtime presentation, Brett Lutz, vice president of communications for Archer Daniels Midland, will share how SocialChorus helped deliver on the company’s strategy all the way down to content and connection points in ways that reached, engaged and inspired both employees and external stakeholders.

Vice president of global communications
Archer Daniels Midland
Read bio
1-1:30 p.m.
The future of digital content: How podcasting can boost your online presence, brand and more

Podcasts are rapidly rising in popularity—and the long-form content that’s easily consumed by audiences of all stripes offers up a huge opportunity for organizations across industries to provide value and increase engagement. However, making a successful podcast isn’t as simple as entering a studio and hitting record. Natan Edelsburg, chief operating officer of Muck Rack, will share lessons from outstanding podcasting efforts, along with ways that your organization can embrace the trend in authentic and interesting ways.

You’ll learn:

  • Tips and tools to help you from script writing to editing
  • Ways to find your niche and make your podcast stand out from the sea of options
  • Takeaways for outstanding content that captivates listeners
  • How to grow your audience—and downloads
Chief operating officer
Muck Rack, The Shorty Awards
Read bio
1:40–2:20 p.m.
Fireside
The future of strategic communications: Why and how diversity, CSR and values-driven communications boost the bottom line

As more consumers than ever before are looking to organizations to make a difference in the world—and as more employees are looking for that mission in their workforce culture—corporate social responsibility efforts, along with diversity and inclusion goals, have become huge factors in building trust and boosting organizations’ ROI. Glean insights and inspiration for values-first communications efforts in this fireside chat between Pamela Morris, senior manager of corporate social responsibility communications for Walgreens, Soon Mee Kim, executive vice president and global diversity and inclusion leader at Porter Novelli, and Danielle Veira, director of communications and engagement at A Better Chicago.

You’ll learn:

  • How communicating values is no longer a “nice thing to have,” but rather a crucial component of stakeholder trust
  • Why PR pros must understand and assert themselves as business professionals to get a seat at the table
  • Ways to make your internal and external messages more inclusive, diverse and values-driven
  • How communicators can better connect people throughout the organization to achieve corporate social responsibility aims as well as diversity and inclusion goals
Senior manager of corporate social responsibility communications
Walgreens
Read bio
Director of communications and engagement
A Better Chicago
Read bio
Executive vice president and global diversity and inclusion leader
Porter Novelli
Read bio
2:25-2:35 p.m.
Lightning talk
A generational shift in communication: From rock-and-roll to hip-hop

Like music, the media landscape has gone through a generational shift and is now fundamentally different in at least six ways. Attention is scarce and the audience chooses the channels. It’s mobile-first and most. Channels are now feeds (is anyone addicted to websites?) and content is snackable, image-centric and data-driven. Linda Holliday, founder and CEO at Citia, will show you how companies like MasterCard and GE are making the change-over, dramatically improving engagement inside and out—and having fun doing it.

You’ll learn:

  • How you can still tell your big stories in small pieces, across social media and in text
  • How to liberate your team to make multi-channel digital content in real time with no IT
  • How to effortlessly turn metrics into meaning and shape future content
  • How to think about attention like a stock market and make it work for you
2:35–2:55 p.m.
Networking break
2:55–3:25 p.m.
The future of employee content: How storytelling can cut through a cluttered landscape

Storytelling isn’t only for consumers and external stakeholders. It can drive purpose and engagement through internal content that’s actually interesting. Michelle Lyons, director of global communications at MetLife, will share how implementing a newsroom mentality and journalism mindset to employee communications and internal content can quickly cut through the overwhelming amount of messages bombarding employees both inside and outside of work. She’ll also share how you can harness storytelling to deliver important messages in ways that resonate with your workforce.

You’ll learn:

  • How to create more snackable content
  • Ways to deliver executive directives and requests using your expertise while ensuring internal communications success
  • How to move away from jargon-filled corporate content that reads like an instruction manual to compelling content that captures attention and engagement
  • Steps for better understanding your employees and pinpoint what’s in it for them in every message you send
Director of global communications
MetLife
Read bio
3:35–4:05 p.m.
Panel
The future of technology and communications: Outstanding tools to power your efforts

Communicators of all stripes have tall orders to accomplish on often limited time and resources. Though creativity, smarts and innovation can go a long way, you also can harness technology to make your efforts sing. In this panel, Bruce Kennedy, social media manager at Transamerica, Emily Kirchner, manager of communications for the North America region at Whirlpool, and Emily Washcovick, business outreach manager at Yelp, will answer questions and share insights and tools to employ for your next campaign or push, no matter your department, industry or audience.

You’ll learn:

  • Tools for social media listening and measurement
  • Ways to harness the power of online reviews and feedback
  • Tips for better reaching and interacting with employees
  • Resources and features to help you excel at social media, PR and internal communications strategies
Senior business outreach manager
Yelp
Read bio
Manager of communications for the North American region
Whirlpool
Read bio
Social media manager
Transamerica
Read bio
4:15–5 p.m.
Closing keynote
The future of storytelling: How to use video to reach and engage audiences

The way we watch is changing, and today’s viewers, not networks, are in control. Consumers choose what, where and when to watch, and they’re creating their own personal primetimes based on what is most relevant to them at their moments of need. Karen Budell, head of digital customer experience strategy for YouTube Ads Marketing at Google, will reveal new research that shows what makes a viewer tune in today. With these changing viewer behaviors, learn how to adopt new rules of engagement to better reach your audience and drive results.

You’ll learn:

  • The four rules of engagement to reach audiences with video
  • Insights into consumer content choices and behaviors
  • Ways you can capture and hold attention with videos
  • How to apply these rules to your content strategies and campaigns
Head of digital customer experience strategy for YouTube Ads Marketing
Google
Read bio
Webcast
Tuesday, Nov. 5
1:30–2:15 p.m. Central time
Opening keynote
The future of marketing: Creating a ‘clean slate’ moment

Marketing is changing at a dizzying pace and marketers must take advantage of any opportunity to adapt and improve their function. Once you learn to recognize them, “clean slate” moments—whether they’re organizational changes or emerging trends—have the potential to revamp and reinvigorate your marketing.

Join Aimee Schuster, chief marketing officer of Miller Heiman Group, and Dave Parro, partner and senior vice president of client services at Walker Sands, for an in-depth look at how they took advantage of the ultimate “clean slate” moment to transform an outdated, ineffective marketing department into a digital-first, results-driven organization. In her first nine months on the job, Schuster rebranded the 40-year-old Miller Heiman Group, rebuilt its marketing technology stack, implemented a new lead-flow process and closed-loop reporting, launched a new global website in six languages and introduced a new SaaS platform to market. She did this all with a skeleton marketing team and a new marketing agency that started on the same day she did. Schuster and Parro will give an insider’s look into the transformation process, along with providing tips and takeaways on how you can create your own “clean slate” moments to implement change in your organization.

Partner and senior vice president of client services and strategy
Walker Sands
Read bio
Chief marketing officer
Miller Heiman Group
Read bio
2:25–2:50 p.m. Central time
The future of social media, part one: Tying social media strategies to holistic metrics that boost and prove value

Social media has driven communications strategies to become an integral (and sometimes first) part of a campaign to reach audiences and persuade them to act. However, digital-focused communicators have to validate their efforts more than ever and show that their work to increase engagement is building trust as well as generating traffic and leads. Bruce Kennedy, social media manager for Transamerica, will show you how to effectively and accurately evaluate the performance of your social media posts and digital content.

You’ll learn:

  • How to show tangible results from your social media campaigns
  • “Off social” metrics to gather, including Google Analytics and Salesforce data
  • Ways to connect to your organization’s website team and better understand online traffic numbers
  • Tools you can harness to prove your value, both on and off social media platforms
Social media manager
Transamerica
Read bio
2:55–3:20 p.m. Central time
The future of social media, part two: How The Onion remains relevant in an era of ‘fake news’ and digital disruption

Many people are surprised to learn that “America’s Finest News Source” has been around for over three decades. The longevity and success of The Onion, the original satirical news source, is due to the digital media company's agility in innovating, experimenting and evolving with the times. With more than 7 million monthly unique website visitors, 6.5 million Facebook fans and 11 million Twitter followers, The Onion is a more influential and important satirical force than ever. Ryan Shattuck, senior social and digital media manager for The Onion and ClickHole, will part the curtain to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at what brings the publications’ content and voice to life, and how The Onion survives and remains relevant in this era of ‘fake news’ and digital disruption.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to train, not trick, your audience
  • The importance of brand voice in and out of the social media ecosystem
  • How to respect your audience with the content you share
  • Ideas for infusing humor into your social media engagement
Senior social and digital media manager
The Onion and Clickhole
Read bio
3:30–4:10 p.m. Central time
Fireside
The future of ROI: Proving PR’s worth and earning a seat at the table

As communicators continue struggling to measure and report on their business impact, they are also increasingly asked to take part in strategic decisions that drive sales, safeguard organizations from reputational disaster and boost brands in ways that also strengthen relationships and solidify trust—and do all of it with a fraction of the budget given to marketing and advertising. In this fireside discussion with Lee Gordon, director of marine communications and public relations for Brunswick Corporation, Amy Patti, communications director for the Museum of Science and Industry and Eric Benderoff, senior vice president of brand solutions at Burson Cohn & Wolfe, you’ll glean takeaways for how savvy communicators can turn traditional communications strategies on their heads and prove the value of what they do for organizations’ bottom lines.

You’ll learn:

  • Ways to reinvent traditional tactics and strategies, including media relations and corporate communications
  • How to report your wins in ways that appeal to executives and clients and prove your bottom-line impact
  • Ways you can change perceptions for your organization, your role and the industry at large
  • Why and how PR pros can’t be communicators in business situations, but rather business people who know how to communicate
Senior vice president of brand solutions
Burson Cohn & Wolfe
Read bio
Communications director
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Read bio
Director of marine public relations and communications
Brunswick Corporation
Read bio
4:15–5 p.m. Central time
Closing keynote
The future of communications lies in data trends and measurement insights

PR, marketing, social media and internal communicators are being tasked with reaching and engaging target audiences in new ways across channels—and show how their work is hitting both “soft” and “hard” metrics along with business goals. Brandi Boatner, social and influencer communications lead for global markets at IBM Corporate Communications, will share how you can come to the boardroom table armed with fresh insights and trends—along with a keen understanding of your audiences—to create content and stories that get people talking and clicking for more.

Through social listening and other data sources, you’ll learn how to read and understand what the numbers say to help you better target audiences, measure your campaigns and position yourself as a strategic business expert with the ability to create communications strategies that inform your audiences instead of just reacting to events.

Brandi Boatner, IBM
Social and influencer communications lead for global markets
IBM
Read bio
Wednesday, Nov. 6
7:30-8:15 a.m. Central time
Bonus breakfast
Insights from 465 million messages: How to write emails employees will actually read

Email remains the essential communications tool for business, but email overload and negative employee experiences present real challenges. With nearly 150 email messages hitting our inboxes every day, it is no surprise many important internal communications are left unopened or unread. Being an effective communicator means knowing how to carefully craft a corporate email broadcast that not only reaches its intended audience but gets read and understood. Michael DesRoschers, founder and managing partner of PoliteMail, will share results from its 2019 communications survey, revealing the challenges communicators face and what strategies they have adopted to improve employees' email experience.

You'll learn:

  • Email best practices, key insights and the latest trends in mobile email access
  • How distribution and timing can boost engagement
  • Crucial mistakes to avoid when creating and sending email
  • How much is too much when it comes to email
  • How employees' email habits have changed and ways to adapt your strategy to remain effective
Founder and managing director
PoliteMail Software
Read bio
8:30–9:10 a.m. Central time
Opening fireside
The future of the PR pro: How to succeed in an era of misinformation and distrust

The media landscape is changing, and so are communicators’ roles and responsibilities. How can you adjust to ensure your message and content reach the right people at the right time on the right channels (including digital, video, audio and print)? Moreover, how can you increase trust in an era of cluttered social media platforms, shrinking newsrooms and misinformation that can quickly spread?

Join Jill Davison, vice president of corporate and brand communications for the Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.), and Diane Schwartz, chief executive officer for Ragan Communications, for a discussion about the role of the modern communicator and the industry’s outlook—along with secrets for success that you can use to boost your organization’s reputation and trust as well as sharpen your skills to take on innovative ideas, top trends and the reins of ROI.

CEO
Ragan Communications
Read bio
Jill Davison Intel
Vice president of corporate communications
Meredith Corporation (formerly Time, Inc.)
Read bio
9:20–9:50 a.m. Central time
The future of media relations: Ensure your narrative cuts through the noise

With shrinking newsrooms and a glut of messages bombarding consumers, it’s more important than ever to employ savvy pitching strategies and flex storytelling muscles to bend journalists’ ears—and capture the eyes of their readers. Tamra Johnson, national spokesperson and PR manager for AAA, will show you how to grab headlines and get your news out there through a combination of media relations prowess and self-publishing mastery.

You’ll learn:

  • How to act like a PR pro but think like a journalist
  • Ways to capture current trends and specific publications’ angles in your pitches
  • How to build an interesting online newsroom and thriving content distribution strategy that supports media relations efforts
  • Why visuals and videos are essential to storytelling efforts—and how to include them in your pitches and more
Tamra Johnson
National spokesperson
AAA
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10–10:30 a.m. Central time
The future of change communications: Building trust from the inside out

When Sun Country Airlines went from an airline that competed against large companies such as Delta to a low-cost carrier, it had the tough job of communicating the new value proposition to its loyal customers and employees, as well as journalists and prospective customers in new markets. The principles are the same, whether your leadership lineup is transformed or your organization’s business model is overhauled. Kirsten Wenker, senior manager of communications at Sun Country Airlines, will share how the airline harnessed PR best practices and relationships to play on emotions, build upon existing brand sentiments and set a successful narrative moving forward during a time of immense change—and how you can do the same when facing transformations.

You’ll learn:

  • How to gather and implement employee feedback
  • Ways to effectively communicate organizational changes in ways that builds stakeholder trust
  • Tips for building an internal ambassador program to champion your most important messages
  • How to stay ahead of the narrative during a transformation, and throughout the life of your brand
Senior manager of communications
Sun Country Airlines
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10:40–11:10 a.m. Central time
The future of reputation management: How culture affects your workforce and your bottom line

Crafting and distributing key messages to your organization’s most important audiences is the foundation of successful internal and corporate communications, but without values to back up your messages and a solid brand voice to match, you’ll have unhappy employees and be vulnerable to outside PR crises. Leslie Krohn, chief communications officer for Argonne National Laboratory, will share takeaways from reshaping and rolling out a set of core values and behaviors driving a thriving culture—and show what that means for organizations’ reputations now and to come.

You’ll learn:

  • Why culture is crucial to an organization’s success—and how communications can lead the charge for change
  • Steps for gaining buy-in and increasing adoption of core values and behaviors across stakeholders in your organization
  • Insights into innovative tactics that engage employees on the culture change journey
  • What your organization stands to gain from actively addressing culture change
Chief communications officer
Argonne National Laboratory
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11:20–noon Central time
Awards showcase
The future of communications campaigns: Takeaways from award-winning efforts

Join us for a showcase of communications campaigns that employed best practices and current trends to innovate ways to increase online engagement, grab media coverage and get employees involved.

Emily Kirchner, manager of communications for Whirlpool’s North American region, will share how the company used immersive and experiential tactics to better help its workforce connect with Whirlpool’s mission and imperatives, including such efforts as a rock concert, escape room and more. “gNARLY 2018: Unlock Our Potential” won the internal event strategy for employee experience in Ragan’s 2018 Employee Communications Awards.

Jason Benning, social marketing program manager at Premier Health, will share how thought leadership in the local health care space leveraged trending headlines, drove buzz and boosted online engagement for the health care network through value-laden blog content with its Premier Health Now program. Premier Health Now was a winner of a Modern Healthcare Marketing Impact Award, received an honorable mention in Ragan’s 2019 Digital Marketing & Social Media Awards and was a two-time winner of the American Marketing Association Pinnacle Award.

Amy Rohn, partner, senior vice president and director of public relations at Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, will share how the agency was able to highlight Briggs & Stratton’s value proposition through a brand ambassador campaign, telling an emotional and authentic story that grabbed both attention and media coverage and showing that your next spokesperson can be found in the most unlikely of places. “You.Powered.” was the winner in the “use of a celebrity or personality” category in Ragan’s 2018 Media Relations Awards.

Social marketing program manager
Premier Health
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Partner, senior vice president and director of public relations
Lindsay, Stone & Briggs
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Manager of communications for the North American region
Whirlpool
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1:40–2:20 p.m. Central time
Fireside
The future of strategic communications: Why and how diversity, CSR and values-driven communications boost the bottom line

As more consumers than ever before are looking to organizations to make a difference in the world—and as more employees are looking for that mission in their workforce culture—corporate social responsibility efforts, along with diversity and inclusion goals, have become huge factors in building trust and boosting organizations’ ROI. Glean insights and inspiration for values-first communications efforts in this fireside chat between Pamela Morris, senior manager of corporate social responsibility communications for Walgreens, Soon Mee Kim, executive vice president and global diversity and inclusion leader at Porter Novelli, and Danielle Veira, director of communications and engagement at A Better Chicago.

You’ll learn:

  • How communicating values is no longer a “nice thing to have,” but rather a crucial component of stakeholder trust
  • Why PR pros must understand and assert themselves as business professionals to get a seat at the table
  • Ways to make your internal and external messages more inclusive, diverse and values-driven
  • How communicators can better connect people throughout the organization to achieve corporate social responsibility aims as well as diversity and inclusion goals
Senior manager of corporate social responsibility communications
Walgreens
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Director of communications and engagement
A Better Chicago
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Executive vice president and global diversity and inclusion leader
Porter Novelli
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2:55–3:25 p.m. Central time
The future of employee content: How storytelling can cut through a cluttered landscape

Storytelling isn’t only for consumers and external stakeholders. It can drive purpose and engagement through internal content that’s actually interesting. Michelle Lyons, director of global communications at MetLife, will share how implementing a newsroom mentality and journalism mindset to employee communications and internal content can quickly cut through the overwhelming amount of messages bombarding employees both inside and outside of work. She’ll also share how you can harness storytelling to deliver important messages in ways that resonate with your workforce.

You’ll learn:

  • How to create more snackable content
  • Ways to deliver executive directives and requests using your expertise while ensuring internal communications success
  • How to move away from jargon-filled corporate content that reads like an instruction manual to compelling content that captures attention and engagement
  • Steps for better understanding your employees and pinpoint what’s in it for them in every message you send
Director of global communications
MetLife
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3:35–4:05 p.m. Central time
Panel
The future of technology and communications: Outstanding tools to power your efforts

Communicators of all stripes have tall orders to accomplish on often limited time and resources. Though creativity, smarts and innovation can go a long way, you also can harness technology to make your efforts sing. In this panel, Bruce Kennedy, social media manager at Transamerica, Emily Kirchner, manager of communications for the North America region at Whirlpool, and Emily Washcovick, business outreach manager at Yelp, will answer questions and share insights and tools to employ for your next campaign or push, no matter your department, industry or audience.

You’ll learn:

  • Tools for social media listening and measurement
  • Ways to harness the power of online reviews and feedback
  • Tips for better reaching and interacting with employees
  • Resources and features to help you excel at social media, PR and internal communications strategies
Senior business outreach manager
Yelp
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Manager of communications for the North American region
Whirlpool
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Social media manager
Transamerica
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4:15–5 p.m. Central time
Closing keynote
The future of storytelling: How to use video to reach and engage audiences

The way we watch is changing, and today’s viewers, not networks, are in control. Consumers choose what, where and when to watch, and they’re creating their own personal primetimes based on what is most relevant to them at their moments of need. Karen Budell, head of digital customer experience strategy for YouTube Ads Marketing at Google, will reveal new research that shows what makes a viewer tune in today. With these changing viewer behaviors, learn how to adopt new rules of engagement to better reach your audience and drive results.

You’ll learn:

  • The four rules of engagement to reach audiences with video
  • Insights into consumer content choices and behaviors
  • Ways you can capture and hold attention with videos
  • How to apply these rules to your content strategies and campaigns
Head of digital customer experience strategy for YouTube Ads Marketing
Google
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SPEAKERS
Executive vice president and global diversity and inclusion leader
Porter Novelli
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Senior social and digital media manager
The Onion and Clickhole
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Jill Davison Intel
Vice president of corporate communications
Meredith Corporation (formerly Time, Inc.)
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Head of digital customer experience strategy for YouTube Ads Marketing
Google
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Communications director
Nebraska Medicine
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Senior vice president of brand solutions
Burson Cohn & Wolfe
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Social marketing program manager
Premier Health
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Brandi Boatner, IBM
Social and influencer communications lead for global markets
IBM
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Founder and managing director
PoliteMail Software
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Chief operating officer
Muck Rack, The Shorty Awards
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Director of employee communications and engagement
American Medical Association
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Director of marine public relations and communications
Brunswick Corporation
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Tamra Johnson
National spokesperson
AAA
Read bio
Social media manager
Transamerica
Read bio
Manager of communications for the North American region
Whirlpool
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Chief communications officer
Argonne National Laboratory
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Nick Lanyi
Media relations and crisis communications expert
Ragan Consulting Group
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Vice president of global communications
Archer Daniels Midland
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Director of global communications
MetLife
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Senior manager of corporate social responsibility communications
Walgreens
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Partner and senior vice president of client services and strategy
Walker Sands
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Communications director
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
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Partner, senior vice president and director of public relations
Lindsay, Stone & Briggs
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Chief marketing officer
Miller Heiman Group
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CEO
Ragan Communications
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Director of communications and engagement
A Better Chicago
Read bio
Senior business outreach manager
Yelp
Read bio
Senior manager of communications
Sun Country Airlines
Read bio
Manager of communications planning
American Medical Association
Read bio

REGISTER NOW

Ragan event attendees include:

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Join us if you work in:

PR • Digital marketing • Corporate communications • Media relations • Employee engagement • Social media • Digital content • Change management • Employer branding • Strategic communications • Reputation management • B2B or B2C marketing • Influencer marketing • Diversity and inclusion communications • Executive communications

REGISTER NOW

LOCATION
Chicago

Conference Venue:

Franklin Conference Center
222 W Adams Street, 2nd Floor
Chicago IL 60606

Suggested Hotels:

W Chicago - City Center | 172 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603

Kimpton Gray Hotel | 122 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Chicago Downtown | 1 S Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60606

NEED TO CONVINCE THE BOSS?

Here are a few excellent takeaways you’ll bring back:

  • Ways to maintain brand safety and reputation while preparing for crisis communications
  • Top tools and resources to power campaigns, stretch budgets and boost ROI
  • The future of work and the workplace—and how your internal communications stack up
  • Crucial elements of outstanding content and social media best practices to help you stand out from the crowd
  • How to become an empowered communicator in an era of fake news and real uncertainty

REGISTER NOW

Thank you to our current sponsors and partners

Join us as an event sponsor and meet your target audience, showcase your products, present thought leadership, generate leads and boost your brand.

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