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PRWeek Convene: Talking Shop – the future of retail

Date: Tuesday, September 15
Time: 12pm-2pm ET/9am-11am PT 

Few sectors have been impacted as much by the COVID-19 pandemic as retail. Brick-and-mortar stores were shut for months, some to never reopen. Myriad huge names in the department-store space have gone bankrupt or into severe financial straits.

And while shops are reopening across the U.S., it’s still well below 100% capacity. Online shopping continues to boom and has been a lifeline for parts of the sector. And, of course, Amazon’s omnipresence, which was already greatly impacting the retail space, is even more palpable now during a period that has forced many consumers to clutch their wallets more tightly than ever, if they even open them at all.

This PRWeek virtual event explores what retail brands must do to renew confidence among consumers and ensure the long-term prosperity of a $3.8 trillion sector that supports 1 in 4 American jobs and remains the backbone of the economy.

Session topics include:

• Doubling down on virtual shopping options
• Reinvigorating the in-store experience
• Finding the perfect messaging tone for skittish consumers
• Tapping into the vast spending power of BIPOC audiences


12:00pm-12:40pm ET - The customer experience: delivering through diversity, sponsored by The Sway Effect

Savvy brands now understand, if they didn’t before, that consumer demographics have changed for good. The customers brands must engage and attract are more diverse than ever – and will only continue to change over time.  And this requires a reconsideration – if not outright rethinking – of how to capture these audiences. In this session, sponsored by The Sway Effect, exclusive counsel will be offered as to how communications efforts must be reshaped to attract the modern consumer, how the customer experience is being reimagined and ways for brands to tap into the vast spending power of BIPOC audiences.

Featured Speakers:
Jennifer Risi, Founder and President, The Sway Effect
Colleen Rooney, SVP and CCO, Signet Jewelers  
Moderator: Gideon Fidelzeid, managing editor, PRWeek

12:45pm-1:20pm ET - Turning customers into advocates in pandemic times, sponsored by MWWPR

COVID-19 has disrupted business in every sector across the world, challenging brands to meet consumer needs that are vastly different than they were seven months ago. A recently vibrant economy has given way to a period of trepidation and uncertainty. Even in good times, brands have increasingly discovered the power of loyal consumers willing to move beyond their own purchase behavior to influence others. Such champions are worth their weight in gold now, though they are also more difficult to cultivate. In this session, sponsored by MWWPR, industry leaders will share invaluable counsel on building that level of advocacy, maintaining it for the long term, and crafting narrative that will empower your customers to not only buy, but get others to buy in.

Featured Speakers:
• Bret Werner, president, MWWPR
Jessica Merz, global corporate communications director, Bacardi
Moderator: Steve Barrett, VP, editorial director, PRWeek

1:25pm-2:00pm ET - Trade talk: Let the research guide you

Trade groups are almost always the best sources to not only provide an overarching view of a sector, but also solid clues as to what the future holds. Digging deeper, such organizations are known to provide exclusive data and intelligence that savvy communicators can use and incorporate immediately. In this session, we are joined by a pair of leaders from two such entities – the National Retail Federation and the Consumer Brands Association – whose recent studies (most conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic) shed light on key trends in topics such as trends among Boomer shoppers, the rising importance of convenience, C-suite perspectives, and much more.

Featured Speakers:
Katie Denis, VP of research and industry narrative, Consumer Brands Association
Mary McGinty, VP of comms and public affairs, National Retail Federation
Moderator: Gideon Fidelzeid, managing editor, PRWeek


Jennifer Risi

Founder and President
The Sway Effect

View Biography

Colleen Rooney


Signet Jewelers

View Biography

Bret Werner



View Biography

Jessica Merz

global corporate communications director

View Biography

Katie Denis

VP of research and industry narrative
Consumer Brands Association

View Biography

Mary McGinty

VP of comms and public affairs

National Retail Federation

View Biography


9.15 PRWeek Convene
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