Thursday, May 29, 2008

Front End of Innovation Boston - Day 2 - Boldness in PR

PR pros often face choices of intrepidness. How bold is too bold? How assertive is too assertive? Often, the choice is not as clear as one would think.

At the recent Front End of Innovation conference in Boston, presented by the Product Management & Development Association and the Institute for International Research, I faced such a choice. I spotted an editor of a top-tier pub for Topaz's attending client, Sagentia, sitting with a group of people at a large table. A few casual circa-perambulations of the table revealed the group deep was in discussion about the topic of innovation, which was at the heart of the event. I determined that the conversation was loose, not a briefing or a serious dialog, but I didn’t want to interrupt.

As time ticked on, I passed the table a few more times and was dispirited to find each time the same people seated in the same seats engaged in the same conversation. It was great to see them discussing the theme of the event, but I was never presented with an opening to introduce myself and my client and set up a briefing.

Knowing I had to do something, I told our client's top executive in attendance (who was manning his company's booth at the time) to expect a briefing with the editor shortly. I believe that stating something will happen will often make it happen--visualization theory, right? In high school, I told my friends I was going to be an editor of a national paper. It happened. (I wish I told them I was going to replace Ron Wood in the Rolling Stones.)

So, knowing I was certainly being a tad beyond bold, I walked over the editor, interrupted the conversation, introduced myself, spoke about my client and said there was a window of fifteen minutes at this very moment during which they could chat. He responded "absolutely," and we walked over to the booth. A briefing ensued, followed by a happy client and an interested editor. Intrepidness, when executed properly and balanced with a good dose of luck, is a strong PR weapon.

So let me echo my team member Adam Zand's Day 1 post from Front End of Innovation and our client's reference to Star Trek and say, Be bold in PR!

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