Fall 2019 Social Commerce Days in review

Last week, the W2O Center for Social Commerce hosted the Fall 2019 Social Commerce Days events at the Newhouse School. A packed few days of programming provided Syracuse students the opportunity to participate in an interactive crisis communications workshop, learn from W2O staff during guest lectures in classes and attend a keynote presentation by visiting executive Corey duBrowa of Google. Students from all disciplines gathered throughout the week to take part in the exciting lineup of events.

Corey duBrowa with faculty and students.
Google’s Corey duBrowa poses with faculty and students in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium.

Crisis Communications Interactive Workshop

The first event on this semester’s roster was a crisis communications workshop led by Mary Corcoran, president of W2O’s tWist Marketing, and other members of the W2O team. Students took on the role of in-house communications representatives for a fictional global healthcare company and worked in groups to determine how they would respond to a highly public crisis scenario. Participants tested their ability to think on the fly as the scenario moved from negative media coverage to employee unrest, investor complaints and political implications. The session wrapped with an open discussion on best practices for crisis response, including the importance of making decisions quickly and responding with integrity and transparency.

Hill Communications & PRSSA Roundtable

Before his keynote speech later that night, visiting executive Corey duBrowa, vice president of global communications and public affairs at Google—gathered with representatives from the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and student-run PR firm Hill Communications for a Q&A roundtable discussion. Topics discussed included accessibility in technology, the importance of analytics and the future of the communications profession. duBrowa shared personal examples and career advice gleaned from his years working at Starbucks, Nike, Salesforce and Google.

Corey duBrowa’s Keynote Speech: “Google at 21”

Newhouse’s Hergenhan Auditorium filled quickly for duBrowa’s keynote presentation, “Google at 21: Analytics, Insights, and Your Future.” As data shows that consumer trust in companies is decreasing, duBrowa told students, “It’s more important than ever to demonstrate trust not only in what we say, but by bringing those words to life in our actions.” Analytics plays an important role in helping communications professionals at organizations like Google demonstrate the impact of their work and how it links back to building consumer trust. duBrowa also emphasized the combined power of technology and human capital. Even as the impact of AI grows, it is the people behind the technology who lend critical thinking, nuanced decision-making and creative storytelling to help companies connect better with their customers.

The W2O Center for Social Commerce continues to bridge classroom learning with industry expertise, and our Fall 2019 events provided another valuable opportunity for students to connect with communications leaders and staff members in the field. A sincere thank you goes to Corey duBrowa, his business partner Kealan Castoro, Newhouse School faculty and staff who support our events and the W2O team who visited campus and worked behind the scenes to make this program possible.

To stay connected, follow us on Twitter (@SocCommSU) and keep checking our website for information about the upcoming 2020 W2O Center for Social Commerce Student Ambassador opportunity.