Three of the Valley’s top public relations professionals gathered to discuss how to be successful in a “fast-changing media world” at the Walter Cronkite School’s last Must See Monday event of the semester.
Doug MacKenzie, director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brent Diggins, director of Allison & Partners Phoenix, and Ray Artigue, founder and principal of the Artigue Agency, discussed the benefits of social media interaction with clients and customers.
“Social media is a great way to build relationships and Twitter can be a great way to formulate relationships with people,” Diggins said.
While Facebook and Twitter are prevalent social media outlets in the United States, Diggins reminded students to be “conscious of local cultures and technologies, which may be different altogether” in foreign countries.
The panel — moderated by the Cronkite School’s Public Relations Lab Director Fran Matera – also discussed the atmosphere of working within the tourism and sports industries in Phoenix.
Matera presented “Phoenix Phacts” about why consumers are drawn to the Valley of the Sun, including the weather, public transportation and presence of heritage and culture due to destinations like the Heard Museum.
Artigue, who formerly worked as the marketing executive for the Phoenix Suns, said international fans are easily drawn to sporting events because “sports is an international language that everyone can speak.”
Visitors are also attracted by the “cowboy culture” and the prospect of outdoor adventures in natural spectacles like the Grand Canyon, MacKenzie said.
MacKenzie, who spent 10 years working in advance public relations for the White House before joining the Greater Phoenix Convention Visitors Bureau, shared the challenges of finding success in the tourism industry in a post-9/11 world.
“People were reluctant to travel and the industry was severely impacted,” he said. “You have to build their trust back quickly.”
The panelists agreed with MacKenzie that providing “compelling, unique and truthful” content drives successful public relations and that it is vital that public relations be studied within the Cronkite School because of the constant need for stories to be told.
MacKenzie encouraged students to find their passion whether it is in arts, animals, travel or another area of interest. Rather than choosing careers based on whether the company is corporate or nonprofit, students should find an area of interest where they will enjoy the storytelling process.
Cassidy Olson, a public relations senior working in the Cronkite Public Relations Lab, said she felt encouraged to study public relations as it is “thriving” compared to other aspects of the journalism industry.
Olson said she agreed with MacKenzie about the importance of developing a passion for a cause, product or service.
“If you are in the industry based on income then you are in it for the wrong reasons,” she said.
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