I was fortunate enough to represent Vehr Communications at IPREX’s 2016 Global Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, PA (February 25-27). For those of you unfamiliar with the organization, IPREX is a $250 million network of communication agencies from more than 30 countries with 1,800 staff members and 115 offices worldwide. Nick Vehr, president of Vehr Communications, serves as president of IPREX’s Americas network.

Our congregation of international partners focused discussions on Catching New Waves in 2016 – maximizing opportunities across all channels and platforms. From harnessing the power of creative steals to thoughts on how to maximize international business opportunities, creating a path to the C-suite, the influence of proactive professional development and an interactive session focusing on the “new school” of leaders and their practices by Mr. Ken Jacobs, I had several key takeaways. Here are some of my favorites:

Don’t be afraid to take your campaign offline. Rightfully so, much of our creative and strategic counsel to clients revolves around tactics focused on the digital/mobile online movement. Don’t forget, however, to revisit how potential target audiences can interact and engage with your clients in everyday situations away from their smartphones and mobile devices.

Think beyond the RFP. Most of us in the strategic communications arena hold a special place in our hearts for RFPs. While they are often times a necessary evil on the road to winning new business, don’t limit yourself too much when responding. Expand ideas, timelines and creative past “the ask” – there’s a fine line between giving away free ideas and expressing your creativity, expertise and strategy to its full potential. You may be RFP cautious, but don’t limit your thinking when putting together a comprehensive response.

“Change PR from Public Relations to Publishing and Relationships,” –Steven Shapiro, @CSG_PR. Depending on who you talk to, the definition of traditional PR is either dead, going away or here to stay forever. What can’t be argued, however, is that PR and strategic communications will always be founded on solid content creation and relationship management. Our ability to clearly articulate clients’ stories, manage reputations and create foundations of success throu
gh calculated initiatives is what separates us from other creative vocations.

Big Data is here to stay. Measurement and ROI is the number one hot button among worldwide agencies in PR and strategic communications. The more you can communicate with your clients to define clear objectives and measurable up-front, the better. Set the right expectations and continue to educate yourself on new programs that can help aid your efforts to show success through data streams.

Learn to take a leap. Learn to let go. It’s stressful and nerve-racking to take risks – going after that big client you’ve had your eye on, or (for the owners reading) starting your own agency. Once you’ve gotten that client or created that successful business, however, don’t be afraid to delegate work to those around you. You’ve hired great talent for a reason, and part of their career growth and professional development is contingent on getting client opportunities to challenge and harness that growth. Often times we get caught up “owning” our work to the detriment of those around us. Learn to let go, but never stop learning, mentoring and teaching to ensure the next risk you take becomes a success, too.

Special thanks again to our host agency, Anne Klein Communications Group.