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Watch the MAS 2014 proceedings via livestream [link above to register today]
To participate via twitter please tag #SummitNYC and @kohnpedersenfox
A PR Couture Guest Article
contributed by Courtney Lukitsch, Principal and Founder, Gotham Public Relations #gothampr
3 Steps to Bring Creative PR Talent to the Forefront of The Agency-Client Relationship
Is there creativity in PR? There is a dedicated annual Holmes PR Industry Report on this very topic, and this important skill-set is a key team-building asset both internally and externally to organizations.
However, few public relations agencies would be able to substantiate what constitutes true creative potential or the “it” factor. While leading PR professionals would profess ‘if they’ve got it, I can immediately spot it’ — this does not begin to describe what is involved in the daily art form that comprises the creative public relations practice.
Once an agency wins the business on any given client campaign or official status as Agency of Record [AOR], the daily operations of liaising with talent both internally and externally comes into play. It’s no longer sufficient to create a flashy infographic or circulate branded content in hopes of a long stream of coverage, it’s necessary to be unorthodox not only in the idea stage but in the execution stage. This attention to detail and further tailoring of the message for each outlet will allow for a deeper stream of coverage as well as opportunity to manage client’s expectations, an idea that can be unorthodox itself.
Delivering results and confirming creative efforts with an account can be one of the most challenging obstacles of the relationship. What many PR companies may not realize is that they are being interviewed during the agency selection process not just as to how viable their business will be to PR, but as well as the talent attached to their internal team.
No reputable PR agency wants to assume the burden of a dysfunctional client or a negative work environment. It becomes the agency’s proxy duty in addition to weekly deliverables, to increasingly work toward efficiency, demonstrated press and marketing results — but also to lend a positive perception of their client’s overall business ranking. As the daily business press diagnoses, a positive work environment contributes to the bottom line.
So then, if delivering campaigns and creative solutions both internally and externally through cultivated management talent is the ‘secret sauce,’ what constitutes the positive attributes necessary to create this dynamic interaction? After all, fostering creative problem-solving could be seen as a complex recipe unique to each agency culture.
Instead, it starts with a 3-point character assessment, identifying desirable daily interactive traits:
Natural predisposition to dream big
But sensibility to think small and execute the idea
Overall positive attitude
These seemingly simple identifiable traits are often overlooked. Instilling a creative vitality at your firm is at the base of big ideas and fosters the commitment to seeing a unique project to its finish. Having a positive outlook throughout is both a driver of the process and an outcome, a cyclical relationship that will inevitably lead to innovative new ideas and in-turn attract prospective, like-minded clients.
An ideal match between skill sets and a creative meeting of the minds is the desired working relationship, but more often than not, the agency is retained to educate the client how best to manage communications creatively and to train talent internal to their organization to ‘sing off of the same song sheet.’ This often requires organizational as well as behavior modification.
Attaining consensus is a process, one which a positioning audit may address on the strategic front, but on the creative side of the equation, might require a different methodology based on observation of individual and team interactions.
Because words carry tremendous weight if not power, the truth is that change occurs at the top of an organization. The ways in which leadership communicates drives dynamic opportunities for positive change.
It is increasingly important for PR practitioners to navigate the delicate yet highly strategic tightrope of cultivating talent both Agency and Client-side, a core tenant at Gotham PR for 12 years.
It would be challenging to find an account today whose priority was not sourcing exciting, innovative ideas and actions. Agencies who fail to recognize the importance of their creative capabilities in addition to tactical, day to day operations, will fall short of client expectations in the problem solving realm, as well as growing the brand and business into exciting new arenas.
About Courtney Lukitsch & Gotham PR New York
Courtney Lukitsch, Principal and Founder of Gotham Public Relations Inc, located in New York City since 2002, is a media and marketing strategist responsible for hundreds of noteworthy brand launches and successful national and global marketing PR campaigns. Prior to founding Gotham PR New York, Courtney was Vice President for Business Development and Strategy at Rubenstein PR, Management Supervisor at PepperCom and Account Supervisor at TSI/Interpublic; all based in New York. With global experience in positioning, strategy, creative, retail and brand marketing, balanced with tenacity and a sense of humor, Courtney possesses ethics, problem-solving skills, a strong results orientation and solid dedication to profitability.
Visit our daily Agency team tumbles at http://www.wearegothampr.tumblr.com
By Patrick Coffee – August 11, 2014 via @PRNEWSER
As hot as PR may be right now (check out the growing gap between communicators and journalists), young professionals still face considerable challenges in navigating their way around the industry.
Last week we spoke to Courtney Lukitsch, principal and founder at Gotham Public Relations, to learn more about how she evaluates junior-level candidates. This week she shared more insights on what applicants need to know and the ways in which the industry will change in coming years.
PR is a rapidly changing business. What is your advice to those just coming on to the scene?
Do your research upfront. If you walk in cold and unprepared to an interview, a PR pro will smell it on you and disqualify you almost immediately.
It’s a confidence and intelligence game. Plus, at most firms, a candidate will be interviewed by different members no less than three times. This is true even at the junior level given team dynamics, but it’s even more crucial when interviewing for mid-level and higher jobs.
What are some things you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started?
Each agency is a tribe with a specific culture. Finding the right fit means surrounding yourself with firm executives to learn with and from, because not every match will be an ideal one.
Your first job is not your last job. Keep learning and challenging yourself to get promoted to progressive positions within relatively tight timelines. Don’t back away; change is good.
Which PR fields are friendlier to entry-level workers, and which provide better learning experiences?
Tech is great — it’s an industry featuring constant innovation with the introduction of new platforms and products every business quarter. These environments typically skew younger and more collaborative, and agencies with a tech focus generally expect entry level employees to adapt to a slightly sharper learning curve.
Anything involving design/creative thinking will offer a more sociable, welcoming setting than, say, a larger corporate firm.
In the new digital age, which skills do employers most value in applicants?
They are excited to see applicants with demonstrable written and verbal communications skills as well as in-person “people skills” that they can then parlay into the digital environment: visual insights and the ability to deal with crowds, deadlines, pressure and constant change.
Of course, they also expect candidates to be savvy across social media platforms and have the ability to manage multiple lines of communication. Additionally, they want employees who have the ability to comport themselves effectively either with clients in a team/solo environment. It’s vital to have confidence in your team’s ability to present itself effectively.
Which industry trends do you expect to grow more prominent in coming years?
Multidisciplinary practices are becoming the norm where PR skills are complemented within the Agency along with branding, visual, social media and digital responsibilities.
The PR environment is more competitive than ever, so refined analytical skills and the ability to come up with creative solutions carry increasing value. Metrics are progressively becoming more important in this context as well; clients now hold more firms accountable for delivering measurable results.
Visit our new Agency Client global campaigns & team members at the Gotham PR pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/gothampr
PR Insider: Visually Promoting The Client’s Global Brand Story
by Courtney Lukitsch | published 07/10/2014 http://www.PRNewsInsider.com
With design thinking leading the charge on worldwide innovation, PR professionals are increasingly leveraging visual media, long the purview of luxury advertising and branding specialists, to assist in relaying a client’s story. At Gotham PR, we have always advocated speaking visually to tell the client’s story through photographic essays, where styled vignettes or even spontaneous “moments” of discovery are captured and then revealed in the form of artful features.
Our brains are now hardwired to respond to visual stimuli and read less, given dominant social media platforms that include Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and of course the ubiquitous Facebook. Many “insiders” in the luxury brand world and creative industries have dropped their Facebook presence for a more intimate relationship with audiences exclusively on Instagram. This of course, being a larger strategy on Facebook’s part to become a platform of many apps and the recent popularity of a new shareable photo narrative app called Storehouse, to further enhance the power of visual storytelling online. As Luxury Review Daily reveals, the smartest and most adaptive visual storytelling brands tend to be global legacy luxury brands, including Burburry, Fendi, Gucci, and Prada.
In fact, those late to the Instagram game might be surprised to see how much pull this space has compared to waning audiences of particular younger ages on Facebook, according to a recent study published at Mashable.
Instagram, the leader in mobile visual media boasts over 200 million users, with daily activity from 7 million people and has grown a whopping 25% just this year. 42% of U.S teens and 34% of millenials use Instagram on a mobile device, which is great news for the 24/7 marketing cycle that can tap into those users with a quick, easy to digest, vibrant visual story any time of day. [Source: Digital Marketing Ramblings.]
As a boutique Marketing PR Agency located in New York and London, specialized in working with highly creative design and architecture enterprises in 15 countries, Gotham Public Relations has built a solid reputation for providing lateral marketing solutions and partnerships to linear press campaigns. So what does this mean in literal terms within a deliverable capacity?
We encourage our clients to elevate the verbal aspects of their story through exemplary renderings and professional photography. In the case of architects and designers, that means elegant, site-specific artwork, complemented by optimized websites and a social media presence to drive home global awareness and added search value. Visual language is universal so nothing is lost in translation and clients can tell their story in real time as building get built and products get launched.
A fascinating piece was published in the past week, which details the impact Instagram had on driving first time visitors and new audiences into the somewhat rarified atmosphere within The Metropolitan Museum of Arts via a creative #EmptyMet Instagram campaign in The New York Times. For those of us working in the cultural realm it was a no-brainer, but it was ‘new news’ to the populace.
In a technology-savvy marketplace, both the agency and client should possess a strategy for adapting to relevant visual social media platforms. This often involves a lengthier discussion on the merits and traction attached to these platforms and reinvesting into next generation or legacy websites capable of incorporating and benefiting from not only search, but social media. It affords the ability to tell a client’s story in a well-rounded fashion that involved nonverbal cues as well as in- depth profile print coverage.
Inspired moments of sharing have meant the successful proliferation of a common visual language amongst professionals and consumers alike on influential social platforms like instagram and pinterest. Both of these increasingly popular hubs drive awareness and ultimately purchases. Case in point: Twitter regained footing with PR professionals and press once the photo feature was recently restored to lend context and SEO value-add.
Business Insider noted Tumblr users at 34 million with nearly half of them being between the ages of 16 and 24, a historically difficult demographic to target. Not only is this a goldmine for desirable target audiences, it also promises actual attention as users spend more total time digesting media on Tumblr than on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
It is widely acknowledged that the creative brain conceives things conceptually long before ideation manifests into the mainstream. Once art and commerce get together to drive profit opportunities, that’s where design thinking is implemented and PR professionals thus have a ‘tangible’ with which to work. Social media is accelerating this process one hundredfold in real time. We must keep apace, if not the proverbial PR ten steps ahead, to best leverage these new assets and generate added value for our clients.
Courtney Lukitsch, is Founder & Principal, Gotham Public Relations, a 12 year-old boutique Marketing PR agency specialized in global luxury design in New York & London. Website: http://www.gothampr.com; Twitter: @Gothamist1; Pinterest: pinterest.com/gothampr; Tumblr: wearegothampr.tumblr.com