By: A.J. Petix
Sometimes exploring outside of your own box can lead to some incredible inspiration and motivation.
I attended Central Michigan University’s PRSSA event PR Boot Camp on Friday with fellow Ferris State PR member Chris Hull. The event started at 9 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m., though I had to leave a half hour early to be back in Big Rapids for work at 5 p.m. From beginning to end, everyone was friendly, professional, and welcoming. I showed up a bit early and the people organizing the event were very kind. They greeted me with a smile and set me up with my “camp gear” for the rest of the conference, which included a name tag, a program, a pen for notes and a little note to keep my eyes on the hashtag #PRBootCamp throughout the event.
Seven guest speakers gave five presentations discussing specialized divisions of PR, providing a well-rounded perspective of the field. Topics discussed included social media, media relations, agency versus corporate PR, and crisis communications. At the end of each presentation, there was time for questions and the mix of students from multiple schools had no issue picking out questions that were well thought-out and unique to each speakers’ subject matters.
The presentation that stood out to me was the big finale: Chris Brandon & Tim McIntyre of Dominos Pizza explained their PR journey to greatness. From the company’s humble beginnings in Ann Arbor, Michigan to the global corporation they are today, they covered the history of the company. The main feature of the presentation, however, was two different case studies. The first of which regarded the first corporate social media crisis communication anyone ever accomplished. The story of Brandon and McIntyre’s YouTube success led the way for other corporations which would eventually suffer similar crises from misbehaving employees. The second was the radical change in their pizza recipe after 48 years of what was regarded as the worst tasting pizza on the market. The recipe change was met with incredible media coverage that was strictly unpaid PR. To see Brandon and McIntyre present their cases with deliberate passion was a pleasure in-and-of itself, but to have them answer the questions from students in the room afterwards proved priceless. Their plain honesty reflected the brand they represented to an absolute. Both of them are my new PR superheroes for what they’ve accomplished in the last five years at Dominos.
CMU PRSSA did an incredible job hosting the event and I can’t thank them enough for inviting Ferris State PR to such an incredible event. I’m glad to have met every member at the conference and am looking forward to seeing what else Ferris and Central can work together to accomplish in the future. And where can we get these totally rad mints?