Last month, our Chicago office attended Chicago Ideas Week, a seven-day event featuring industry experts that covered a wide array of topics. As a Chicago PR firm, we felt it was important to support a local event that inspires others to continue to grow and learn. With more than 250 speakers throughout the week, our team chose sessions that connected with their personal and professional interests – topics ranged from algorithms in social media to elevator pitches. Check out some key takeaways from each session our team attended:
A Shot Worth Taking: Elevator Pitch with Hornitos Tequila
About the Talk: 10 pre-selected participants pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges, but there was a catch – they only had an elevator ride to share why their idea was a shot worth taking. Attendees also had to chance to vote on their favorite business ideas, which was incorporated into the judges scoring. Two lucky entrepreneurs walked away with $10,000 from Hornitos towards the pursuit of their ambition.
Team members, Brittany Zoet and Brittany Johnson, and Uproar’s Executive Chairman, Ermis Sfakiyanudis, represented the agency at this fun event to network with other attendees and competing entrepreneurs over delicious Hornitos cocktails. Uproar team members are always encouraged to provide out-of-the-box ‘big ideas’ for clients, so this was a great example of how brands can work together to create cross-market awareness.
How to Perfect your Pitch
About the Talk: Bonfire CEO and Kellogg School of Management Professor, Suzanne Muchin, gave a crash course on how to craft and deliver your business pitch.
Team members, Brenna Byrne and Colette McLaughlin, learned more about pitching through a different lens. Muchin talked about how you have 30 seconds or less to hook someone into listening to your business pitch. Her main piece of advice: in order to grab people’s attention, you must be specific, maintain a point of view and hold strong to that view. Muchin also shared tips to help aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. A business idea should be fleshed out to help show why it’s worth investing in, and to not give in if people disagree with your vision. She went on to explain that disagreement is okay, it just means they aren’t your customer. While this talk primarily focused on strategies to pitch a business, PR pros can apply the takeaways to media pitches too.
It’s Time to Kick your Addiction to Algorithms
About the Talk: Representatives from Twitter and UCLA discussed the psychology and impact of algorithms.
Social Media Senior Specialist, Ali Graver, attended the discussion where Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter, discussed issues in big tech, including personal security and cyberbullying. Costolo explained the growing necessity for an encrypted digital identity and the online security risk society faces daily. He argued that there needs to be a digital identity company that serves as a vault of digital personal information that users can trust. Costolo also argued that social media platforms need to stop treating all accounts equally. A tiered-profile system would filter out fake profiles, which would act as a barrier to cyberbullying. Ramesh Srinivasan, a UCLA professor, explained algorithmic bias and how it has become a concern for big tech. Bias results from the algorithmic creation process, which tends to be skewed. To help resolve this, Srinivasan argues that big tech should be required to run an audit system on their algorithms to flag biases. He also argues that the design process must become more diverse to eliminate bias from the start. Algorithms are important when working with clients. Our digital team must take them into account when deciding how to best optimize our client’s SEO and social media, which plays a key part in reaching their target demographics.
Entrepreneurs Can Change the World
About the Talk: Young entrepreneurs around the globe are constantly finding ways to solve the world’s problems. The Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellows—with support from Chicago Ideas—put this into practice, using their work to address global challenges. Former BHSI Fellows were brought back to share their journeys and learn what’s next.
Team member, Jenny Cummings, heard from entrepreneurs that once had a “crazy idea” that turned into a reality. Many of the founding stories she listened to were similar to those of our clients. Every Uproar client is passionate about their company, and in turn as PR professionals, we have to convey that to the media we pitch – even if it means taking calculated risks. In the PR industry, we are lucky enough to represent clients who work so hard for their brand and ideas that their passion radiates.
Overall, Chicago Ideas Week was a huge success and our team members took away a lot of valuable information that will help cultivate growth, and new ideas that ultimately help our clients succeed and our team members grow as professionals. Uproar is a huge advocate for continued employee learning – to learn more about our culture, click here.