Incorporating Design Thinking into Business PR

screenshot-2016-12-06-09-28-14Positioning clients at the forefront of business in 2017 means that PR agencies must anticipate, plan and deploy creative solutions on behalf of their clients.

In addition to linear strategic practices, many innovative businesses are employing the concept of design thinking to pre-identify solutions to potential quarterly and annual challenges. This means uniquely evaluating scenarios with the goal of improved future outcomes.

According to OpenForum, both businesses and their respective PR teams need to take time away to creatively assess not only immediate goals and productive to-do lists—to alternate perspectives by turning problems on their head and looking at them from varying viewpoints.

In this realm, art in the form of inspiration meets science in the realm of business practice. Long within the purview of architects, this approach of applying design thinking to everything from technological innovation to urban planning is being embraced at all levels of leadership. It frees teams to do their best work, often communicating and ideating outside the confines of the office—or the systemic “group think” that is endemic to so many forecasting meetings that result in tunnel vision or inconclusive outcomes.

According to an article from Creativity at Work, by leading and implementing design thinking, you can reinvent the way you manage, create and innovate. Design is more than how it looks, it’s how it works. In the bigger picture, we must look at everything as design, everything around us has been designed to function and enhance human cognition. It is to ultimately improve quality of life through efficiency, therefore promoting the most influential competitive edge in the workplace.

In fact, a recent Harvard Business Review piece asserts that design thinking should lead business innovation. It encourages the “creation” of ideas and innovation as competitive advantage, and leaders are looking to integrate design thinking throughout the workplace in all functions.

Forbes, long a champion of looking at business through a unique lens, encourages business and PR teams alike to innovate through creative thinking and problem solving, as doing things the same way leads to statistics. As stated in the article, design thinking allows individuals to have a proactive mindset focused on solutions, as opposed to a reactive mindset focused on the problem.

Allowing employees to think in the workplace is mentioned to be such an obvious element, however it has been increasingly more overlooked. By combining elements of creative and critical thinking, there is ample time to address client issues and meet client needs with organized information and ideas, decisions to be achieved and situations to be improved.

As we head into 2017 and jump start new PR campaigns let’s continue to embrace creativity in by leading within our industry as the ultimate solution providers; driving business into successful new realms of opportunity.

This article is contributed by Courtney Lukitsch, Founder of Gotham PR, a boutique Marketing PR Agency in New York and London. Specialized in design and development, retail and technology, the firm celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2017. With a global client roster in 25 world cities, Gotham PR will also publish a book on mentoring and coaching, featuring years of collected client and agency success stories.

PR Troubleshooting: Anticipating PR Client Problems Before They Arise

businessman hand stop dominoes continuous toppled

By Courtney Lukitsch, Founder and Principal, Gotham PR

The year 2016 will historically go down as one of the most challenging in PR for a myriad of reasons, all interestingly enough related to perception, image and communication on a global scale.

The weighty importance assigned to managing problems before they arise has become a paramount PR prerogative in a 24/7 digitally driven news cycle, aimed to constantly disrupt and pivot.

Some would argue that the artful dodging and changing stance by many in the world of media points to a crisis in PR, while those with actual experience in the industry view it as an opportunity worldwide to address how intelligent planning and strategy can actually anticipate and respond to potential problems before they arise.

A few salient examples are in order:

  • Internet propagated breaking news
  • Social media abuse by high profile/public figures
  • U.S. election
  • WikiLeaks

The New York Times, long considered the Stateside newspaper of record, recently published a piece entitled How the Internet is Loosening our Grip on the Truth positing the fact that with the emerging significance and use of various internet sources, voices and perspectives, arises the challenge to cut through the noise to verify fact from fiction.

While portending to become a boon to democratic ideals, the media is more recently being utilized as an arsenal of weapons being deployed against its own best intentions and interests. In an open society with the right to free speech, ability to gather in public and a healthy respect for protest, every well trained person in the media business knows a story when they see one.

There is an implicit code of conduct and journalistic standards that those not bound to adhere to them, take advantage by maligning the facts with ‘truthiness’—and often falsehoods. These become embraced and evolve through internet memes, various social platforms and ultimately back to word of mouth. It’s a self-perpetuating, subjective process that is now becoming the norm. In other words, objective criteria for validating a source, a truthful quote or set of facts can be thrown by the wayside to instead embrace spin, conspiracy theories and inaccurate data.

In an era where everything is documented, from dated broadcast footage, private and professional emails, social media promises not kept and so on, there is no safe hiding place but the truth. It is important for PR professionals for both the sake of their own team and agencies—as well as client-side to embrace fact-finding, reporting and expectation management upfront. It does not take long for a multitude of social media fires to come to mind, many stemming from the lack of truth.

On this topic, and considering the current media environment, comes a challenge that agencies strive to eliminate for clients and we as consumers face everyday. The test to overcome, sift and sort through fake news and the sea of information that exists be it true or false, that swirls within our reach is something of an overwhelming thought.

According to a New York Times article, dedicated to understanding the threat of counterfeit material, the challenge of weeding out the “fake” news from what is real and credible has become a daily task. In other words, the longing for factual and relevant information has never been higher. As Arthur Sulzberger, the NYT deputy publisher emphasizes with the rise of reliable reporting particularly within the digital realm, “It shows people are willing to pay for great, original, deeply reported and expert journalism,” that will allow great journalism to thrive.” In a world of uncertain sources and facts, this is of paramount importance to not only clients and agencies but also the general public.

One set of important tools to deploy when entering a new PR client relationship, one that might pose significant challenges in terms of potential blow-ups given the client’s stature or standing, is to establish both operational grounds rules but also mutual goals to work toward. The time-tested motto of under promising and over delivering never goes out of style.

Many in the world of client relations can relate to a PR Daily piece that rightly identifies that agencies are expended to drive the ideation agenda, message control and bottom line—and are often compromised by a need to please—or worse coddle or mismanage a client to appease potential outbursts or stalled business. A desire to look and act busy does not equate to actually accomplishing anything. Targeting an end goal that is both attainable and realistic is imperative.

Having spent immersive hours in planning, mapping, discussions, repositioning, branding, media training and strategizing news bureaus and proverbial next level roadmaps into the client future, it is important to take charge as the PR professional and agency team to tell the truth. With fact-based research, projections, monthly goals and results, a healthy campaign is born.

According to CyberAlert, highlighting how clients can attain more and better clients, there is a formula to success in this department. While there is no “best” agency, there is one that will prove to be a stronger match for clients needs. Show you are unique, do your homework, and a piece of advice that is quite obvious yet very understated, always sell results, not services.

It is best to always look forward, never back. Anticipate and understand the communication that needs to happen between client and agency and always take into account the advantages of solving problems well before they occur. Setting new standards of excellence should never fall by the wayside. As this recent MEDIUM article states, being entrepreneurial as a media leader in communication is a premise some may see as simply “the stars aligning.” However, this formula for success is rather a clear and concise method that can be taught. If one is willing to put in the time to go the extra mile for their clients, now that is the true test.

This news article was written by Courtney Lukitsch, Founder and Principal at Gotham PR in New York and London. It continues a thought leading series based on Agency and Client-side workplace issues, and ahead of the agency’s 15th anniversary, is the basis of a forthcoming coaching and mentoring book to be published in 2017.

Read the article published by Bulldog Reporter in full, here.

Salon Art+Design at Park Avenue Armory NYC: November 10-14

the-salon-art-designWith Art Basel and Design Miami a mere few weeks away, it is an exciting time in the art world. Just ahead of these December events is the exciting opening of The Salon Art + Design at Park Avenue Armory. November 10th -14th spectators will enjoy many unique pieces housed under the roof of an iconic New York City landmark.

Welcoming the world’s finest galleries, consisting of a multitude of pieces from historical to modern, decorative arts to contemporary furniture, guests will be dazzled by the scope of work on display. By fusing the work of 20th century masters from around the world with that of ingenious young artists, the contrasting pieces create a unique experience unlike any other.

For more information regarding tickets and visiting hours, contact The Salon Art+Design, here.

Personal Vs. Private in PR & Social Media: Understanding the Difference

socialmedia_provpersonalNovember 3rd, 2016 –This piece was contributed by Courtney Lukitsch, founder and principal at Gotham PR in New York and London, with clients in 25 cities globally.

It represents Gotham Public Relations ongoing published series of articles focused on Client and Agency-side challenges and evolving solutions inside the global workplace.

Read the full article published by Bulldog Reporter and Cision.


As the current Presidential election demonstrates—along with daily breaking news in the world of entertainment—the “personal versus private” debate rages on.

As the lines between an individual’s personal and private life continue to blur and we move forward in a world where the fusion of these two seems inevitable, it is crucial that an understanding of the difference be made.

We certainly do not conduct ourselves in the same way at home on our own time as we would at the office or in a business meeting, so it should come as no surprise that we must distinguish between the two via social media as well. Opening a discussion on this topic will allow a little light to be shed on both sides of the matter.

With the reveal of highly sensitive and supposedly ‘private’ email, twitter, direct instant messages via Facebook and Gmail, not to mention Instagram images and hashtags, reputations are made and lost. A quick tweet or Facebook post can reach far beyond the allotted 140 characters, creating the need for user discretion on the posting of sensitive topics.

There is a massive difference in private and personal matters even down to the audience you would direct these thoughts towards. The point being, as TechCrunch asserts, use another platform to convey information if there is a concern that it reach an unintended audience. As private is defined as an item confined or intended only for the persons immediately concerned; confidential in other words, we as a society have twisted, skewed and transformed this seemingly defined term. As the article also insists, “digital etiquette” is imperative to adopt.

In applying this critical thought process to PR, as professionals we are trained to be mindful of the consequences of unintended recipients of critical information, and anticipate in advance for our clients not to engage in the worn out ‘off the record’ argument. In sum: if you do not wish to see it published in the press, do not say it. That’s media training 101.

According to the Digital Media Law Project publishing information about a person, company or entity minus prior consent basically constitutes legal liability – despite its accuracy. This is where the complexity of the PR universe in terms of fact checking and due diligence comes into play. Factors that include publication of private facts or using the name or likeness of another online become mission critical.

Now more than ever, it is essential PR teams be equipped with appropriate facts backed with research on such matters. As the age-old adage advises, hope for the best, expect the worst. Certainly while it is probable that no issues will surface, there is always the unexpected and as we know, chance favors the prepared.

With the free for all atmosphere of the Internet and encouragement for professionals to blur their social media and professional pursuits creates an interesting dynamic if not dilemma moving into 2017 and beyond.

We believe that one of the major draws of social media would lie in the instant gratification one feels when blasting off a post. Being able to share your thoughts quickly and easily with your network can be a beautiful thing as you are able to broadcast freely to the world. However, on the flip side think about the intricate process that a business article undergoes pre-publication. Multiple rounds of fact checking and confirmation of all details must occur in order to publish a reputable piece. In other words, your online visibility is much more accessible via social media.

The recent theft of Kardashian jewels in a Paris hotel is directly attributable to a millennial tendency to not only broadcast exact whereabouts through surveillance technology—Instagram and snapchat when geo-tagged—but to make oneself a target and tarnish reputation for very poor judgement. A novel issue in the world we live in today as even 5 ears ago, this incident would have been deemed highly unlikely.

According to Fox Business News millennials on social media fall into this practice the most. The routine updates we provide for our followers (wanted or not) can be a source of instant gratification but also a source of vulnerability.

This group will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. While there are reputation management tools currently available to wipe clean former online photos, links and mentions, behavior modification might be the most advisable route to pursue. Not to mention, no matter if it has been wiped, deleted or hidden, a person only has to see something one time for a lasting impression to be made.

PR executives the world over will daily experience the joys of seeing their clients in business news, only after careful advance planning, strategy and scrutiny as to its desired outcome and utility. The flip side is also a recurring theme where a client does not follow PR instructions, says too much, and then suffers the consequences in print. Fortunately in the era of digital, sometimes editors are willing to correct but not retract information or attributions. Again, proceed with caution.

As the New York Times alludes, the new wave of Internet attacks come from everyday devices, proving that we are more exposed than we think. As the awareness of this topic increases due to recent occurrences, this is a highly sensitive and important discussion to have. Just last Friday, the Eastern Coast of the US was faced with an attack on the infrastructure of the Internet, proving that nothing is 100% private anymore.

States PR Moment, those working in Marketing PR and advertising are most likely to let their online and real time lives merge, while maintain a perspective that positions and portrays both favorably—but responsibly. Why is this? When you work within an industry where live sharing is encouraged and has become about as routine as your morning coffee, overlap is bound to occur. This piece goes on even further to say that one in three people search for interviewees beforehand on social media. If you can honestly say that you have never performed a quick Facebook or Instagram search for a new co-worker or potential hire, it would seem that you were among the minority.

The sharing of ideas, images, contacts, networking opportunities and accomplishments can burnish rather than tarnish a reputation. It also adds value from a brand extension perspective that employees are taking their respective work seriously enough to extend pride in practice and demonstrate leadership. If you are proud of something happening in your professional life and chose to share that with your personal followers that would seemingly speak to the quality of your work.

At Gotham PR, we’ve created such a network over the past 12 years with interns to junior and SAE team members that there is a perpetual referral system to help each other reach new opportunities and contacts, a far underutilized tool.

It also factors into a professional mentoring book being written on this topic by the agency’s founder, who realized over a decade ago that employees want a coach not a boss, and to learn at a very advanced level at a young age. Published articles on this topic may be found here: The Importance of a PR Internship (Plus: How to Cultivate a Mentor) and How to fix the misrepresentation of PR Pro’s in the Media.

As we move into the new year, launching new campaigns and cultivating new talent both agency and client-side, let’s be mindful as an industry to practice what we preach. As Harvard Business Review validates, 60% of hiring managers utilize social media and professional industry references to advance-screen when hiring. When prospects – including clients do it right, social media can be a tremendous asset to leverage for global awareness. Using this as an advantageous tool can propel business forward leaps and bounds.

Moving forward, as we proceed to navigate the waters of personal and private matters via social media it is clear we must do so with a delicate hand. Discretion and attention must be paid to where and when we share information with our networks. Think twice about the content you project into cyberspace, curate and define which items are appropriate for your personal versus private life and lastly, stay mindful of your audience always.

Courtney Lukitsch is founder and principal at Gotham PR.

Waterhouse & Dodd Welcomes Bernie Taupin’s First Solo Collection in New York City

taupin-with-private-view

Gotham PR client, Waterhouse & Dodd is thrilled to announce the opening exhibition of artist Bernie Taupin’s premier solo collection at their New York City Gallery.

Taupin, a master Creative Talent, Fine Artist and Legendary Songwriter for Elton John will debut his collection, Antiphona on November 4th with a private viewing taking place on November 3rd at Waterhouse & Dodd. With a carefully curated collection title, Antiphona pays homage to the artists musical past.

With an extensive range of materials utilized, Taupin’s novel exhibition will be an extension of the creativity he has channeled throughout his career as a wordsmith via a myriad of abstract works. The artist, exhibiting for the first time in New York at Waterhouse & Dodd will also be featured at upcoming Art Miami during 2016 Art Basel Miami Beach.

View the exhibition in NYC from until November 30th and for complete collection details including gallery hours and location, please see here.

 

Michael Dawkins Home debuts elegant MIES Collection

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Michael Dawkins, creative genius behind Michael Dawkins Home and Gotham PR client, debuts the new MIES Collection at his elegant showroom. With homes in both New York and Miami, Dawkins showcases his refined yet progressive designs.

With Art Basel and Design Miami just around the corner, the stunning collection captures the very essence of the designer.

Discover the Mies Collection in addition to other timeless pieces, available exclusively at Michael Dawkins Home.

Gotham PR Recommends TEFAF 2016 First Show in New York City

20161022_132514-1As an agency which represents countless artists and architects, it does not come as a surprise that Gotham PR recommends TEFAF New York Fall. From October 22-26, at the Park Avenue Armory ogle at the breathtaking collection of works from around the world.

Transcending time periods and boundaries for more than thirty years, TEFAF has transported participants to other wolds through art. Joining together a network of top dealers and collectors, this event unites an eclectic but passionate community of individuals.

Often dubbed the world’s leading fair for art, antiques and design, TEFAF has showcased countless masterpieces from across the globe.

By cultivating a true art community, GPR encourages you not to miss out on TEFAF and this years’ inspiring showcase. as you discover why it is universally regarded as the authority in art fairs.

Read all details as well as purchase tickets, here.

Photo credit: Axel Vervoordt [origin: Maastricht]