Bill Imada, founder, chairman and chief connectivity officer of IW Group, spoke to UF PRSSA members on Oct. 5 about what it means to taste the street.
“My job is to make you think a little differently,” Imada said.
Imada explained that in order to think innovatively and achieve success in public relations, individuals must do the following:
Build your brand identity. Brand identity is created by investing in five pillars, Imada said. The first pillar is equity, which refers to experiences. Next is essence. To establish the essence of your brand, you must decide the balance between the emotional and the rational in dealing with peers, clients and employers. Third is value, which refers to what you bring to an organization, community or company. Next is personality. Individuals must decide how they want to be perceived – are you playful? Serious? Both? The last pillar is promise. What promise will you make after you leave college to your family, friends and community?
Create your own path. Imada encouraged members to keep dreaming up new ideas and sharing them with the world.
“If you have a great way to reinvent the wheel, you should do it,” he said. “If you have a great way to navigate an un-level playing field, create a skateboard and get across.”
Listen, then act. Imada stressed the importance of connecting with clients. He advised members to take cues from others and always try to find a way to share their passions.
“Everyone has a story,” Imada said. “Find a connectivity point with everybody you meet.”
Change the conversation. Don’t be afraid to disagree with something you hear, Imada said. Instead, respectfully share your perspective on the issue.
“Don’t let people shut you up,” he said. “There should always be room at the table for a new idea, a new way of thinking, a new person.”
Be curious. Always be learning, asking questions and thinking about what’s next, Imada said. Do not be complacent, but challenge yourself. This is the time to do it, and this is what companies are looking for. Increasing involvement in PRSSA is a great way to accomplish this.
Imada closed by encouraging members to work hard and be the best networkers they can be, but to not stress about getting a job right away.
“Enjoy the journey,” Imada said. “Learn as much as you possibly can from wherever you are and then share it.”
Written by Alexa Romagnolo