Not long ago, successful public relations campaigns told the best story and were measured by “media hits”. But in today’s world, a brand can make a lot of noise without being heard, and tell the truth without being believed. The strongest indicators of success have shifted to engagement and interactions from influencers and customers who are writing their own autobiographies. PR success means becoming part of someone else’s story.

This will be one of the many conversation about the changes communications and media are facing on June 10 at the PR Summit DC. This panel session will cover winning public relations efforts with social media at their heart. In this new era of public relations: Washington DC’s #WeDC campaign outperformed global brands at South by Southwest Interactive by sparking thousands of real people to include its brand in their selfies. NASA grows and maintains millions of subscribers across various social media, skipping the news media and going directly to the consumer. Honda utilizes Twitter to not only share information about the company’s investment and presence in the US, but also to engage the government relations community. The American Hospital Association finds and engages healthcare professionals using data and targeting that were unavailable a few short years ago. And in-house marketers and consultants alike must shift their focus from telling a great story to become part of someone else’s.

The Panel

Anthony Shop, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Social Driver (moderator)

Shop is a pioneer in the field of digital media and online advocacy. A former journalist and press secretary, he is the first new media professional elected to the prestigious National Press Club’s Board of Governors. He founded the Club’s popular “Get It Online” digital media series, which has hosted luminaries from USA Today, NASA and The White House to discuss media trends with the national opinion leaders and influencers. Starting from a deep belief that the future is bright and people come before technology, Shop co-founded the digital innovation agency Social Driver with his husband Thomas in 2009. Social Driver has since been named the 7th fastest-growing agency in the United States by The Agency 100. As Chief Strategy Officer, he has sparked innovative campaigns for a portfolio of industry-leading clients. Shop earned his MBA from The George Washington University School of Business, where he now teaches as an adjunct lecturer.

Emily Gustafson, Director of Digital Media, American Hospital Association

Gustafson is director of digital media at the American Hospital Association (AHA). She is responsible for developing and executing of AHA’s digital media strategies to promote the association’s policy and advocacy goals. Most recently, she is spearheading AHA’s digital campaign Advancing Health in America, which is aimed at telling the hospital story to a consumer audience. She also is responsible for cultivating AHA’s social media communities to increase engagement and discussion around America’s hospitals and health systems. Prior to joining the AHA, she served as associate director of new media and special projects for the National Health Council (NHC), a nonprofit representing the nation’s leading patient advocacy organizations. At NHC, she was instrumental in concept design and building a web research database that served over 100,000 researchers and health funders. She developed effective strategies to administer the organization’s numerous websites, in addition to being responsible for digital strategies related to social media and grassroots advocacy. she graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in political science.

Jason Townsend, deputy social media manager at NASA

Townsend is NASA’s deputy social media manager where he helps oversee and coordinate over 500 social media accounts covering NASA’s people, missions, and programs. He coordinates between internal social media users and NASA’s external community of fans and followers to tell NASA’s story using tools such as the agency’s flagship Twitter account, @NASA, and pages on Facebook and Google+. Additionally, Townsend provides guidance to agency leadership on social media best practices, policy, and upcoming social media activities. He also plans and supports successful NASA Socials (formerly Tweetups) events that take online engagement with fans and followers to the next level through behind-the-scenes, in-person experiences.

Julie Weber, director of marketing & communications, Washington DC Economic Partnership

Weber joined the Washington, DC Economic Partnership as its director of marketing in 2014. Her role includes leading the evaluation, development, management, and execution of WDCEP’s marketing and communications strategies to position Washington, DC as the best place to do business. Before joining WDCEP, Weber served as the director of client relations at MBOX Communications, a D.C.-based marketing agency for seven years. She previously worked as the Director of Marketing at the Georgetown Business Improvement District. Her extensive marketing and public relations background brings a wealth of communications and marketing expertise in creating and executing marketing, brand, communications, and media strategies to capture attention, generate awareness, and shape consumer behavior. Originally from Kentucky, Weber is a District resident, avid reader, world traveler, foodie, arts enthusiast, and lover of music. She serves as a communications volunteer for several art events and organizations including FIGMENT DC. She holds a degree from George Mason University in English, Creative Writing.

Briana Washington, public affairs specialist, Honda North America, Inc.

Washington is responsible for working with Honda’s state and federal affairs teams on their communication efforts. While this role includes many tasks, such as overseeing legislative outreach, developing communication resources and sharing legislative matters with Honda’s internal audience, she also oversees the @HondainAmerica Twitter account. The account complements Honda’s product handles (@Honda and @Acura) by featuring content about Honda’s presence in the Unites States, as well as public policy issues. Washington has also successfully utilized the platform to engage with the government relations community around topics including company news and events held by Honda.

For more information visit PR Summit DC.

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