Conversations 2013, the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) National Conference is taking place June 9-11 in Ottawa. I’m honoured to be included in the speaking program which features a list of smart, creative and accomplished folks including CBC Power and Politics host Evan Solomon who will be the opening keynote speaker.

My session is titled Ghost in the Machine. I’ll be looking at the role of the human element in digital communications and the delicate balance of emotion, relatability and information in reaching and activating the public in online communication. I’ll highlight examples including Hélène Campbell’s “A Lung Story“, Amanda House of YoPro and her effort to settle a score with Loblaws and Invisible Children‘s KONY2012 campaign. I’ll also look at recent campaigns by Greenpeace and the propaganda war between Israel and Hamas.

As part of my talk, I aim to answer the questions:

  • Why do human stories compell us to take action?
  • Why is simplicity critical for reaching the public?
  • Why is The Police’s fourth album a great metaphor for communication?

The mantra “content it king” fails too many campaigns. My session will examine the role of context in reaching and activating audiences.

I’ll also be participating in a pre-conference event, Wednesday, March 20 from 5:30-9:00pm. It’s called Dine & Discuss: A taste of Conversations 2013 and will be taking place at the Fraser Café in Ottawa. Participants will have the opportunity to chat with me and five other speakers about our planned talks.