With 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.
This is a guest post by Courtney Lukitsch, founder and principal at Gotham PR.
Building a great, solid team is at the heart of any business— whether you’re on the agency or client-side. While the term team is bandied about with tremendous frequency and import, it’s that rare firm that takes the time to identify the core values that each team member within the organization— and the team as a whole— possesses.
The idea of agility in our digitally-driven, always-on workplace assumes paramount importance and is explored in a bestselling book, Emotional Agility, written by expert Susan David, who effectively posits that internal behaviors manifest in the workplace, holding huge sway and impact within a team.
David identifies four main tenets to assist individual and group dynamics, offering a veritable compass for strategic planning and team building as we head into the 2017 business year:
Showing up to face challenges as a team, rather than ignoring problems upfront
Stepping out to detach from group-think or negative thoughts, to envision a chess board of new possibilities and outcomes
Walking your way to showcase core values to move the group forward, rather than relegating ideas to abstractions
Moving on to motivate the team to make a difference individually and collectively— finding a balance between challenge and solution
Silicon Valley veterans Bill Burnett and Dave Evans have taken the psychological concept of emotional agility and applied it to the framework of professional and personal development, educated by their creative minds and design backgrounds, in their Stanford University class turned published book on designing your life. They speak of ways to find your natural workflow by following your individual strengths, skills, and differentiators. Breaking down the system into basic parts, as a designer would, a series of ideas, tools, and prototyping decisions.
There is a certain team leader that will curate talent within a group based on individual skills, those that may be complementary to an agency client while existing outside of the normative media sphere. PRNews has gone so far as to say that diverse teams might be better prepared for the creative challenges posed, reflecting a focus on skill sets that become artful when a team is operating and is managed effectively— carefully identifying this balance of achievements as an art rather than a science.
Working in the realm of mentoring and coaching both agency and client-side, at Gotham PR, we have witnessed that team members with advanced degrees in journalism, business, marketing PR, art, design and architecture are the ideal internal partners to service client-side concerns.
By being inside the mindset of the media and client dually, we are able to communicate, anticipate, strategize, plan, and execute in real time with efficacy. Multi-lingual communication functionality and cultural awareness is also a huge asset for success within the agency world.
Entrepreneur cites that whether it be a Fortune 500 or an emerging brand, every business has the potential to tell a great story. Once a great PR team is in place, the agency may begin to help their client recruit talent and place qualified individuals into new positions to grow awareness and profitability.
In this manner, the PR team and client are woven together through strategic initiatives as trusted partners, aligned along the same goals, values and mission. Listening is perhaps among the most important assets to leverage while building the best team possible given resources— time and attention.
Another 5 things smart managers know about building teams according to Inc. can be heralded as “PR 101,” and bear repeating:
Play to individual strengths
Establish ground rules
Let them know you have their back
Provide an incentive
Sage advice from Forbes is the concept of operating as a harmonious team when a CEO is out of the picture. An effective team functions when targets are specified in advance and expectations are managed— both client and agency side. When one expects results without providing leadership, chaos ensues.
Perhaps the most salient aspect of team building is the actual experience of being a valued team member, doing the best work possible and being a part of something larger than the individual. By contributing to the agency or client’s overall mission— and its resulting success stories— is when a team shares in the glory.
There is nothing better than seeing clients’ names in lights, across a major headline or in national features. The halo effect of being able to position, train, launch, communicate and promote a new brand only drives success for all team members involved.
Courtney Lukitsch is the principal and founder of Gotham PR, which was founded in 2002 and is a boutique Marketing PR firm based in New York and London, with a roster of high profile clients in 25 global markets.
Part one of a two-part series outlining the two pillars of success in start-up communications. Read part one.
Relationships should be just as much a part of your brand strategy and business plan as your basic production model. These relationships form both internally and externally and require a keen emotional intelligence:
Don’t let the first time you contact a journalist, blogger or influencer be when you’re sending a pitch. Follow the reporters, bloggers, thought leaders and influencers in your industry on social media and read their work. This will help you craft personalized communications when you reach out to start a conversation. Personalization will help you cut through the noise. When you develop relationships before you need them, you keep the process more organic and less transactional—a sentiment that will translate to the work they will later produce for you. But remember, it is a working relationship. When you get too close, you can forget to include all the details in the midst of socialization. Assume that anything not explicitly discussed will not end up in the finished piece.
While keeping a functional distance, you must also be careful not to burn bridges with the media either. You can avoid this in a few key ways: by giving exclusives sparingly, not making things personal and respecting their work. Favoring one reporter or outlet over another with exclusives will damage relationships with others. In today’s media landscape, with traditional and online publications and new, viral blogs launching each day, you want your story spread as far and wide as possible, not promised to any one source—assuming you could even avoid a leak long enough to work with a single outlet. When stories do get written, you will not like every word of every piece. It is important to not make this a personal vendetta with the author. Writers remember to whom they like and don’t like talking. Instead, keep it about the facts and use it as a way to leverage future conversations. And when you do get time with a writer, respect their work by knowing what “off the record” and “on background” mean, and know when to use them without taking advantage of their power.
The media needs you, your customers need you, your investors need you, but your employees do too. You are responsible for managing expectations, setting goals and developing company culture. When you get your messaging right, create a brand voice and messaging document and make sure everyone at the company has a copy and understands its full intent. Your idea for the company cannot exist solely inside your head. Your team cannot market something they don’t understand, or speak in a voice of a company language that is not yet developed. Your brand’s identity and voice have to be clear and tangible so your employees can learn them, adopt them and reflect them in their individual focus areas. Established companies will have their identity set and their voice practiced, while start-ups are still creating theirs, thus changing the learning curve for employees and agency teams entirely. It takes time and patience, open and frequent communication, receptiveness to the process and empathy to the growing pains that come with it.
It is important to nurture careers and personal relationships with your team, because they are entering on the ground level with you. Your company is such a part of you that it can be a real challenge to let go and allow your team the room they need to work. Ask for a passion and shared vision from your team and then respect their expertise. Accept the areas where you are not the expert. Remember why you hired them and let them do their jobs—believe in them so they might believe they have a true place in the company’s success. The beauty of a start-up is the buy-in, the accountability, how close each employee can feel to the mission, the work and the successes of the company. This is a symbiotic relationship between you and your employees. After all, you win together and you lose together.
Lindsay Cosner is an account supervisor at Gotham PR.
The prophetic writer Maya Angelou says “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This wise insight, when applied to the world of PR, experiential and digital marketing, sales and ongoing business development, lends credence to the fact that emotional intelligence and keen understanding of the client and customer will always win.
Gotham PR has recently published widely on the topic of EQ, emotional agility and the ability in marketing parlance to ‘read a room’ within a business context.
Clients will always recall the experience of whether expectations were met, their timelines respected and their goals achieved. As INC.com suggests, managing expectations continues to be one of the most underrated and underutilized skills there is, however if done properly can be one of the most advantageous.
It is the job of the seasoned strategist to create a roadmap of weekly and monthly goals, to report progress and to manage what is feasible based on a strategic and creative relationship in tandem with the client.
Shoot straight, no one has time for sugar coating, and both the Client and Agency Team respects rolling up their sleeves and getting down to actual business.
If the client is accustomed to binary ways of communicating, the agency presenting very lateral concepts might not hit a bulls-eye in terms of style or substance.
Assessing a cultural fit in tandem with an agreed upon set of goals within a fixed timeline helps to manage expectations on a regular basis.
Never assume, instead guarantee through these critical assets that the Client-Agency relationship is healthy. If anything, over communicate these ideas until they are embraced at the C-level. Fostering this open communication channel is essential to the success of the client / agency relationship. Interestingly enough, according to a poll conducted by PR Daily, the number one issue that faces modern PR Pros is in fact, managing client expectations. Thus, through accurate communication comes proper expectation management.
Achieving a Clients buy-in to a collaborative working style is key from the start, with a point person or brain trust committed tasked with meeting agency expectations for visual, strategic and creative collateral upfront. Wired brilliantly highlights the vitality of managing these client expectations upfront, largely through showing them that you care and are indubitably committed to implementation of their goals. In other words, work to accurately create a shared vision and understanding so that there is never a discrepancy in what both parties believe is being executed.
If mistakes or miscommunications occur, it is the Agency’s job to rectify, as well as to anticipate that they not occur in the first place.
In terms of timelines, realistic parameters about what can and cannot be achieved in terms of press, new business and measuring success are essential to a viable, ongoing partnership between Client and Agency.
It’s important not to coddle but to set healthy boundaries between each set of deliverables. Finish an agreed upon big goal then move onto the next.
When working multilayered Marketing PR programs, maintain a checklist that both teams adhere to and sign off to achieve daily and weekly success. As Hubspot wisely advises, there should be a detailed outline of all projects, giving the client a tangible framework of outputs and timelines throughout the process.
Managing up and holding a Client to deadlines helps to ensure success by the Agency to reach monthly, quarterly and annual results that drive not only awareness but also profits. Forbes alludes to an inevitable truth within the world of PR. Reputation is everything. The need for consistently positive relationships should never be undermined because the impressions made today, determines future relationships. Here’s to launching successful new campaigns into 2017 with expectation management at the forefront.
Gotham Public Relations [GOTHAM PR NEW YORK & LONDON] is thrilled to be working with Gary Nader Art Centre & FR-EE/Fernando Romero Enterprise in both Miami and New York on the debut and currently in development Latin American Museum for the contemporary arts located on the Miami oceanfront — the very first multi-use development of its kind with museum, park & residences.
Gotham PR New York is pleased to announce the double issue cover story in the November/ December 2014 issue of NEW YORK SPACES magazine [on newsstands week of 11.10.14] for our Client Michael Dawkins Home, a design showroom & studio that opened at 232 East 59th street in NYC last year in December. The company also has a location within the Miami Design District and recently launched an eponymous collection of furnishings and textiles.
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.