Chris Goddard, president of CGPR, reflects on 25 years of running the business. Below are her five take-aways.
- Digital = Complete Disruption
The explosion of digital media can leave communicators feeling like they are standing in front of a tennis ball machine that never turns off. In the beginning of my career, there were times during the day when you could switch off and not think about PR — before breakfast, for instance, and at the end of the day. With today’s digital world and a news cycle that never quits, especially because there is a White House that uses Twitter as an on-demand news channel, PR is 24/7. Yes, I turn off my computer, walk out the office door and head home, but I am always on — always staying on top of the news — in other words, always working. With the enormous expansion of cable news channels and news sites online, there is no rest for the weary.
- Social has blossomed into a great opportunity, but today’s marketeers may still benefit from insights
Social media has certainly increased the number of ways one might find themselves in the “PR dog house.” Today, it is really easy to make a mistake with larger than life consequences. Mistakes live on forever on the internet. Social media places more demands on controlling messages — meaning that when developing messaging, regardless of the topic, consideration must be given to how social media will play a role in the dissemination of that message. Today’s digital and social tool box requires more of a deliberation process, and may take longer and be more complicated. Having said that, decisions often need to be made in a nano-second.
- From a PR firm, to a “Jack of All Trades Firm”
Client relations continue to remain focused on one solid goal, do first class work while remaining totally committed to ROI. As there are so many more tools in the tool box, the task becomes more challenging on all fronts. Clients are aware of the fact that there is a myriad of options for communicating — whether this is a straight product launch, managing a crisis, establishing authenticity, executing an event, or prepping for an interview, among others. In addition, new channels appear every day. One day it is Snapchat, the next day it is something else. This requires today’s PR practitioners to turn on a dime and go from 0-60 in seconds. Clients are becoming savvier not just because they can, but because they have to. They want action and results much sooner.
PR has dramatically changed — becoming a brand driver, a community builder, a human resources department, a CEO’s alter ego, a nay sayer, a gut check, and, often, a reality check.
- From Publicist to Strategic Juggler
The necessary skills of a successful PR pro in today’s landscape have changed and grown dramatically over the years. PR professionals must have the ability to juggle and switch gears while thinking on their feet without getting flustered. They need an uncanny knack of staying calm, exhibiting patience, and tracking the news and trends impacting their clients’ worlds.
Yes, PR Pros still must have the ability to write a sentence that is grammatically correct (thank you Mrs. Brown). Having manners and social skills despite what is going on around you is essential, as is the ability to look a colleague, client, partner or editor directly in the eye. Perhaps the most important trait is being 250% emotionally invested in PR and having a love for the field unlike anything you have experienced before.
I tell my team, if you don’t have all of the above, don’t bother, you can’t be half in; for PR, you must be all in.
- Coffee, wine and love = essential ingredients for CGPR’s next chapter
CGPR has realized 25 years of success for one simple reason. I absolutely love what I do, have the best team ever, and work with fabulous clients and friends in the media. I am supported by an amazing husband who is there day and night despite the fact that I traveled over 180K miles last year. I am incredibly humbled and the luckiest person on earth. What’s next? Las Vegas, Denver and Munich and building towards that 3 million- mile status. Hello United!