My Philosophy on Practicing Public Relations
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My Philosophy on Practicing Public Relations

  • November 23, 2013

My Philosophy on Practicing Public Relations

by Natalie Harper

1172510_10153170894815297_359440082_oI’ve been lucky to practice public relations for over 10 years. I have worked with the most awarded multinational advertising agency, Calgary’s fasted growing boutique PR agency, and an Edmonton boutique agency that garnered some coveted international attention. I can name drop clients and campaigns I’ve worked on that would dazzle and delight most anyone, but I’m not here to impress you with who I’ve worked with. I’d rather tell you what I’ve learned from my past experiences with these clients and agencies, and how it guided me to be the type of PR practitioner I am today.

What I’ve learned, and what I promise:

SHOW, DON’T TELL

I’m not here purely for a paycheck. I practice public relations because I love it, and I want to do good work. I believe in showing that I will do the best job possible for you and your brand, I won’t just tell you all the ways I can do it. You want results? Let’s collaborate, and make a game plan so you can get those results.

WALK THE TALK

If I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it. Barring a bolt of lightning striking me down or a freak prairie hurricane taking down my ability to be on my phone all day, I will strive to be the most reliable, dependable and available person on your team.

DON’T OVER-PROMISE AND UNDER-DELIVER

A story.

A former client once asked me if I could get him on Oprah. I said no. Not that I wouldn’t have worked my tail off to try and get him on Oprah, but I know the realities of the story I would have been offering to the media queen, and it wouldn’t have been worth my time or his money. So why lie and say I could do it? I didn’t want to set us both up for disappointment, so I was honest. I’ve learned honesty is something clients rarely get from their agency.

Another former client told me his dream was to be on CBC’s ‘The Hour.” I didn’t promise I could get him on the show, but I said I’d try because I knew the producers would surely be interested in learning about his project. And I was right. I remember the day I called the client and told him we got ‘The Hour.” He was thrilled. A major win. We still talk about how we made that happen, and it’s archived as a career highlight for both of us.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen big ideas pitched to a client, the client loves them, and then the pitch team figures out they can’t actually execute that idea. Major fail. I look at the stars and I shoot for them, but I also keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. I know when a far-fetched idea needs to be reigned in and made more realistic to be attainable.

I will set and manage your expectations, but promise to always work hard to exceed them.

LISTEN

Sure, public relations and promotion is about amplifying a message and being a brand’s biggest cheerleader. However, many practitioners forget a critical first step before putting that giant megaphone to their mouths – listening. How can you formulate a winning communications strategy if you haven’t really heard what the client is telling you?

I promise you I won’t waste an hour of your time pitching you on all the cool campaigns and companies I’ve done compelling work for. Instead, I will ask you a zillion questions about you and your brand. From there, I will give you my best insight and recommendations possible.

CONTENT COLLABORATION IS KING

I’m a self-proclaimed idea machine, but some of the best ideas come from you – the client. I can’t tell you how many times a client has come up with a brilliant idea that I can run with and make it a tangible reality. So, let’s get out of the boardroom once in awhile and grab a coffee or cocktail and collaborate. It’s the best way to keep the ideas fresh, keep evolving an innovative game plan, and keep one-step-ahead of the competition. I may event bring my copy of ‘Gamestorming’ along so we can get really creative.

HAVE FUN

A mentor of mine always told me to ‘do what you love and the money will come.’ That advice resonates with me years later. My goal is to go to bed every night and look forward to waking up the next morning and kick start a fun and productive day. Life is too short to be too serious or unhappy when it comes to work. There is a world where work and play unite, and that’s the world I choose to live in.