I’m still unpacking all I heard at last week’s inaugural Fuel Lines New Business Conference for advertising, digital, media and PR agencies. The conference, which drew people from more than 60 cities—including a few from outside the U.S.—was held at Nashville’s snazzy new Music City Center. It was organized by my friend and colleague Michael Gass.
Because there were concurrent breakout sessions, it wasn’t possible to attend everything over the two-day period. But, I learned plenty from the sessions I was able to make. Here are 10 observations that struck me as particularly noteworthy from some of the thought leaders who spoke (though they only scratch the surface):
- Nothing is more powerful than a human insight (Peter Levitan)
- Chemistry is the key factor in new business presentations (Peter Levitan)
- Create personas of prospective clients to prepare customized new business presentations (Bob Sanders)
- We have grossly exaggerated the importance of brands to consumers; most of what we call brand loyalty comes from habit and convenience (Bob Hoffman)
- The key factors for international agency business are trust, proximity, special skills/expertise, process and global reach (Julian Boulding)
- Don’t be afraid to specialize in what you do best (Stephanie Holland)
- Write RFPs with simple words and phrases, and eliminate unnecessary words; a confused mind always say no (Jody Sutter)
- Give RFP prospects something extra of value (Jody Sutter)
- Pick a niche and own it; don’t be afraid to say no to opportunities outside your niche (John Sonnhalter)
- Positioning is foundational for new business; an agency should have a specific target and strong point of differentiation (Michael Gass)
In my breakout session, “How to Craft an Agency PR plan that Drives New Business,” I discussed the building blocks of creating a performance-based public relations plan for one’s agency. I also explained how the strategic use of PR can enhance awareness and credibility; distinguish an agency from competitors; and make it easier for agencies to be found by decision makers.
My three most important points:
- Consistency is vital for successful agency PR
- Becoming a trusted source is the quickest way to increase awareness and gain credibility
- A successful PR plan is strategic with a clear focus, target and purpose
I sure hope Michael will have a second annual conference next year. This not only was a great learning and networking experience, but also a lot of fun.