Bob Pearson talk poster

Key Learnings from Spring 2017 Social Commerce Days

Written by Center for Social Commerce

Published on April 14, 2017

By Janine Bogris and Amanda Dominguez

At our Spring 2017 Social Commerce Days events hosted by the W2O Center for Social Commerce, Syracuse University students from all different majors and interests gathered to learn about emerging trends in the communications industry. This semester’s events kept students interested and engaged throughout both days.

Bob Pearson, W2O Group’s Vice Chairman and Chief Innovation Officer, kicked things off this semester with a keynote entitled “Working in the New Reality: Analytics, Insights, and the Power of Influence in a Digital World.” Pearson discussed concepts from his latest book,  Storytizing, including insight on the evolving strategies and platforms organizations are using to ensure their messages resonate with target consumers.

One of the most notable takeaways from his speech was the importance of data and analytics. Pearson stressed that we can’t understand how to communicate with an audience if we don’t understand the audience itself. It’s critical that communicators learn to embrace insights gleaned from analytics and apply it to their work.

Another point Pearson focused on was the convergence of relationship, reputation and relevance, three interconnected principles organizations must consider when evaluating their communications initiatives. Targeting and engaging with relevant influencers is often an effective means of maintaining relevance and building a network of advocates.

We were particularly impressed by the level of social media engagement during Pearson’s keynote. Students shared notable soundbites and added insightful input to the conversation. Check out a few of our favorite tweets below.


Now that students had a greater understanding of data and analytics, they were ready to apply their knowledge during two interactive workshops. The Communications Career Launchpad provided students the opportunity to network with the visiting W2O Group team while gaining valuable career advice and resume advice. Undergraduate and graduate students alike gained a greater understanding of agency life and practical tips for succeeding as an entry-level professional in the communications industry.

Next up was the Crash Course in Effective Client Service. Students were divided into teams to work through two public relations crisis simulations, during which they were challenged to develop multi-faceted communications strategies in “real time.” The cases had everyone’s hearts racing as the crises continued to escalate. Students were encouraged to incorporate analytics-driven tactics into their solutions, such as identifying key influencers with whom to engage and mobilizing careful media monitoring. Visiting W2O Group communications experts dispersed amongst the groups to provide guidance and advice from their past experiences. At the end of the workshop, five students who went above and beyond in contributing outstanding ideas were selected as the “MVPs.”

Overall, Spring 2017 Social Commerce Days was an excellent opportunity for students to learn from experts about analytics, client service and cutting-edge trends in the communications industry. Thank you to the W2O Group team for sharing your wisdom with us – we can’t wait for next semester’s events!