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PRSA 2019 International Conference

Innovate. Inspire. Engage. Influence.

Oct. 20–22 | San Diego

Note: You are browsing information about a previous PRSA International Conference. Visit the program page for this year’ event.

Using Predictive Analytics to Stave off Crisis

Professional Development Sessions Set 3

Short Description:

What happens when your organization is caught in the middle of a firestorm on the social sphere? As organizations scramble to stave off crises, learn how the Dragonfly Effect can spread negative messages, and how predictive analytics can mitigate damage.

Long Description:

The Dragonfly Effect is most often used as a model for driving social change through social media. Named for the fact that a dragonfly can move in any direction as long as its four wings are working in unison, this theory focuses on four key principles — focus, attention, engagement and action. It is a model that is adaptable to a multitude of situations and relatively simple for brands to implement.

In many cases, if a social media campaign contains these principles, the campaign works to create positive, social change. However, what happens when the principles are exploited, causing the opposite effect and spreading negative ideas and sentiment? Organizations must be prepared for the potential damage social media can do to a brand and its consumers. Predictive analytics provide an opportunity for professionals not only to prepare but also to mitigate potential crises caused in the social sphere.

Using the Tide Pod Challenge as a case study, this session specifically looks at how the principles of the Dragonfly Effect can be exploited to spread negative messages, and how predictive analytics can help mitigate the damage. Learn how to apply techniques designed to move organizations beyond simply identifying potential dangers to utilizing data to mine for insights. Explore what happens to brands that are caught on the wings of a dragonfly and what organizations can do to prepare for and prevent these unexpected firestorms.


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

Final Presentation

(Available to registered attendees only. Register now!)


Jamie Ward, Ph.D., assistant professor, Eastern Michigan University

Photo of Jamie Ward, Ph.D.

Jamie Ward, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of public relations at Eastern Michigan University. As an avid researcher and writer, she publishes and discusses content on public relations, storytelling and ethics. Ward is a social scientist who uses methodologies and theories from communications, media studies, cultural studies, sociology and education. Her work focuses on storytelling for advocacy and engagement. Prior to entering academia, she spent more than a decade in the nonprofit field.


Regina Luttrell, Ph.D., assistant professor, Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

Photo of Regina Luttrell, Ph.D.

Regina Luttrell, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Public Relations and Social Media at Syracuse University where she researches, publishes and discusses public relations, social media for strategic communication, Gen Z and the Millennial generation, and the intersection of social media within society. Luttrell spent the first half of her career managing high-level public relations and marketing activities for Fortune 500 companies, governmental entities, and non-profit organizations. She is the (co)author the following books: Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect, Brew Your Business: The Ultimate Craft Beer Playbook, Public Relations Campaigns: An Integrated Approach, The PR Agency Handbook, A Practical Guide to Ethics in Public Relations, and Trump Tweets. The World Reacts. Understanding What is Relevant and Why.