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Takeaways From the MNPRSA Event Featuring Steve Barrett

As I headed to the MNPRSA event at Carmichael Lynch Spong last week, the lights of the nearby towers hadn’t been turned on yet.  A 7 a.m. Breakfast Roundtable would have been a tough sell for me without the likes of speaker Steve Barrett, editor-in-chief of PRWeek.

Overdressed and clutching a hot coffee with both hands, I was welcomed by a marketing director from Carmichael Lynch Spong, who recognized a “first-timer” right away. After I introduced myself as a representative from Brandpoint, I got ready to explain our company: I wanted to make sure to do it justice. This was my first networking event since starting a few months ago in our content marketing division. I was relieved to hear her say they’ve done a number of mat releases with Brandpoint and she was happy the company sent someone. I was glad she was doing most of the talking.  Being brand new to the field and still in training, I was a bit nervous, but she seemed to handle the one-sided conversation well.

When Steve Barrett got to the podium, he had a confession for the audience: He had never been to Minneapolis before, and only knew a couple of things about it: that it was one of the locations for Fargo, the Coen Brothers’ movie, and it was Prince’s hometown.  Ouch.  Steve, with a charm and melody in his British accent, recovered with grace pointing out the disproportionate number of fortune 500 headquarters and PR elite based in our state.

Steve opened his discussion with an idea that is familiar to us at Brandpoint: the future of building brands is content marketing.  Steve’s point reinvigorated my beliefs in online content marketing. Steve made it clear that brands must strengthen communications through social media or they will forfeit their market shares to competitors.

Steve surveyed more or less the entire landscape of PR. His discussion of the expansion of the PR field and the industry-leading companies flirting with a billion dollar annual revenue was a shock. Despite economic uncertainties record growth is happening in PR.

It was an interactive event with lots of audience questions. Much of the discussion referenced his recent blogs as well as the cover story of the May edition of PRWeek. More resources to add to my ever-growing toolkit!

Networking with industry leaders was ambitious at that early hour, and at such an early point in my career, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to hear from an industry authority willing to share his knowledge and perspective.  It reaffirmed that I made a wise career choice by joining a company so immersed in an emerging and powerful industry.