INTEGRATE Chicago featured six industry speakers: Bryan J. Bennett, Clarissa Beyah-Taylor, Andy Crestodina, Andrés Ordóñez, Hugo Pérez and Joseph P. Truncale. Although all practice in similar fields, their presentations were diverse and each, in my opinion, offered one clear takeaway for attendees.

Andrés Ordóñez from BBDO Energy kicked off INTEGRATE Chicago with a session focused on the creative process. Ordóñez pulled from his work with world-renowned clients, such as Pepsi, Orbit and Extra, and explained the key to creating a thought-provoking and viral-bound campaign. He claimed, as marketers and creatives, we must distance ourselves from our work and ask one simple question: “Would I share this?”


Takeaway #1: Always put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and constantly ask if you would share the content you are creating.

Following Ordóñez was Hugo Pérez of the Zeno Group, who focused on effective content storytelling. Through his use of props and video, as well as anecdotes about his prior experiences, Perez explained the importance of creating connections with those in your target market. He called this creating a “common thread.”


Takeaway #2: Creating a “common thread” between your brand and its target consumers makes storytelling easier and your brand more authentic.

  1. Bryan Bennett, author of “Competing on Healthcare Analytics,” was INTEGRATE Chicago’s third presenter. His session focused on five steps to better customer management. Through these five steps, Bennett emphasized the importance of segmenting consumers by purchase behavior and understanding customer lifetime value. He explained, “people respond when you talk to them in the context of what they are looking for.”


Takeaway #3: Focus on the consumers that are of value to your product. Don’t waste energy and company resources “chasing customers with no value.”

Clarissa Beyah-Taylor from Exelon was next to take the stage. Her session, titled “Breaking Through: Key Elements to Career Navigation,” concentrated on personal branding, more specifically, how to make yourself stand out in a crowd. Beyah-Taylor discussed the power of developing and understanding your personal brand, as well as being authentic and networking whenever possible.


Takeaway #4: Everyone is going to have a resume and a cover letter. Focus on what will set you apart and use that as a staple in your personal brand.

Andy Crestodina, co-founder and strategic director of Orbit, channeled his experiences with interconnected content to discuss search engine optimization, blogging and social media strategies. Crestodina explained that great content marketing is like a spider’s web—interconnected. He also claimed that including others in your content can improve optimization levels.


Takeaway #5: Social is viral! Include other people in your content, because “an ally in creation is an ally in promotion.”

Closing out the event was Joseph P. Truncale, CEO of the Public Relations Society of America. His session, which focused on the public relations industry, discussed the changing requirements for today’s professionals. He explained that, as the industry and technology changes, jobs are becoming more diverse and less focused on traditional public relations functions.


Takeaway #6: Although technology is important, do not forget the power and significance of relationships in communication-related fields.

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