The Best Show in PR

It goes without saying that the best events in the PR industry are put on by Paul Holmes and his team at the Holmes Report. This year's Global PR Summit in Miami was no exception. PR leaders from around the globe descended on South Florida to hear a diverse set of voices and debate the most pressing issues in the communications industry. A video summary of the Global Summit is located here at the Holmes Report.


The vast topic set included big data, humor, music, working with millennials and real-time marketing. But from my standpoint the most captivating talks I heard came from Jane McGonigal on what marketers can learn from game designers and the data-driven insights of political pollster, pundit and word wizard Frank Luntz on “It’s not what you say, but what people hear.”


While much ink has been spilled in the media on the negative aspects of gaming—violence in games, and lost productivity McGonigal’s research demonstrates that more gamers are engaged in social activity, working closely together with others online to achieve common goals, and that the emotions most strongly associated with gaming are positive. In fact, the top 10 emotions experienced when people play games are creativity, contentment, awe and wonder, excitement, curiosity, pride, surprise, love, relief, and joy.

Author, game developer and futurist Jane McGonigal

Games offer people that opportunity the engage. “It’s not just about entertainment, it’s about the ability to be passionately engaged,” McGonigal says. “Games can create sustainable, passionate engagement." McGonigal closed her talk with a case study on a program she and her team did for the New York Public Library aimed at getting young people to visit the library. McGonigal’s research found that 75 percent of young people wanted to write a book someday, and designed a game that would allow the participants to become published authors.


As part of the program 10,000 young people applied—each of them writing an essay—to play the game and 500 winners were locked in the New York Public Library overnight to write a book. By the end of the night, the participants had created 1,184 stories about the kind of world they would like to make, and the in one night the participants wrote a book entitled, “100 Ways To Make History.”  The book is now among the permanent collection at the Library and is considered "one of the most important books” in its collection.


Frank Luntz, a master of focus groups, messaging and political polling, showcased with machine-gun speed a vast array of research highlighting what people really want (when polled by Luntz few in the audience got it right).


As it turns out, people want more money, more choices, more time, better lifestyle, work-life balance, and fewer worries and fewer hassles. But when you examine the data by gender men are more focused on money, women are focused on time. Companies and politicians, he said, need to design their messages to address those needs.

Pollster and word-wizard, Frank Luntz

Said Luntz, “It’s all about the consumer, not the company.” In politics, he said, “It’s about how things impact ordinary people, not about ideology.”


Needless to say, we are looking forward to next year's Global PR Summit. It's always a great event.