The PRSA Maryland chapter held its inaugural “Coffee With” series on April 5, beginning with a visit to imre, the Hunt Valley headquarters of the national consumer marketing agency.

Chapter members heard from Kristi Volke, senior account executive, left, and Christine Pierpoint, senior VP financial services, right, who shared case studies from clients including Guardian Life, John Deere, Dickies, Dogfish Head Brewery and STIHL. Agency founder Dave Imre welcomed the group and provided an overview of the agency that now has 84 employees with offices in Hunt Valley, NYC, LA and Raleigh.

Their message centered on how to move past simply counting impressions to an emphasis on building trust and protecting reputation through a fresh approach to PR.

They said that to succeed in the new PR, which tactically has shifted to an emphasis on images, video and real-life authentic engagement, today’s communicators will see better results with an emphasis on:

  • Identifying shared values between consumers, the brands and the publishers;
  • Finding commonalities and developing authentic stories and experiences that will resonate with the audience;
  • Seeking the best places to deliver those stories: it could be a combination of paid and earned media. Also, exploring new spaces and “gray spaces” (such as events or native advertising) if that’s where the audience is;
  • Planning for a mix of paid, owned and earned media opportunities to deliver those stories;
  • Considering brand journalism to tell your own stories and explore new publishing models; and,
  • Making sure you drive the audience to a location for lead generation or a place where they can find more information and further connect with the brand.

The chapter’s new “Coffee With” series is a casual gathering and networking opportunity where Maryland PR firms will host a discussion about what their agency is doing that will lead into a bigger group discussion about the PR industry. Check the chapter’s website for the next event.

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