Founder and CEO of EvolveMKD
As a business owner, she likes controlling her destiny, who to work with, who to hire, how to invest in the business, and whether to expand.
How she fell into a career in public relations, intern boss suggested it. Loves how dynamic working in PR is and how you get to “peek into” and get a behind-the- scenes view of other industries and companies.
Likes: You have to continue to learn and grow. You will always be challenged. As technology changes and, how we consume news and media also change, you have to adapt. The importance of balancing
the needs of your organization, your clients, and the media.
Advice: Early in your career, recommend people get well-rounded, diverse experience, rather than immediately get pigeon-holed (e.g., digital, media, writing press releases, handling budget, developing
Courses recommended: Take writing classes (e.g., business writing), “If your best-foot- forward includes typos, that’s not good enough.”
Accounting (get comfortable with numbers), financials, “You have to have an understanding and appreciation for math.”
Frustrations in the PR field: Lack of education among potential clients, who don’t know what PR is now (it’s changed: digital), working with clients to broaden their understanding of what PR encompasses; PR
can be used for evil as well as good (current politics);
Strong PR people are a voice of reason.
The importance of reputation management: “Our job as communications professionals is to gently remind business leaders that you can say whatever you want, but if you don’t have the proof to back it up, you shouldn’t be saying it.” Our job as communication specialists is to ensure the business folks have thought through what they want to say and how they should act. “Good PR people want their
company or client to speak the truth; that’s an important part of the job.”
Some clients can be short-sighted. “The energy you put out there, the words you put out there, the actions you put out there carry weight and have business implications.”
How she advises business leaders: You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Think about what is behind a clever or fun campaign; what will you need to do to reinforce the campaign’s message.
Education about how media relations and social work together.
What do your leadership teams look like? Do they reflect the consumers you’re trying to reach?
“If you don’t interact with the people you’re trying to sell to, how can you have an effective strategy?”
Genius PR move: Alyssa Milano’s support for the #MeToo movement on social media to drive real, meaningful discussion.
Dumbest thing you’ve seen in PR: United Airlines’ handling of removal of a passenger from a plane and the communications follow-up. How they could have better handled it.
When a company gets it wrong, but handles the aftermath well: Alaska Airlines’ prompt, on-target handling of Randi Zuckerberg’s complaint about sexual harassment by a fellow passenger. They took
immediate accountability, were public about it, and resolved the issue in a classy way. Just because you make a mistake, doesn’t mean you’re doomed, but you do have to own the problem and proactively
solve it. This keeps a mistake from turning into a huge scandal.
Most PR crises start as operational issues that are mishandled.
What does the future hold for PR and marketing? PR and social media are so intertwined that they will require integrated communication strategies. Communications must be integral in order to truly have a positive reputation.
Must-have tools: Cell phone, laptop, Cision, access to social media platforms (Twitter is a great resource for understanding what stories reporters are working on and for following the news, as well as what competitors are doing), Mophie battery packs to keep mobile devices charged.
Social media for research: Twitter, private groups on Facebook to stay engaged with other communications professionals and journalists, as well as Instagram.
Helping clients avoid the shiny object syndrome: Everyone wants to be on Snapchat, but just because it’s new doesn’t mean it will fit. Unless you’re trying to reach teens and those in their early 20s, it’s probably not right for you. Snapchat is not the tool to sell anti-aging products.
Facebook might not be cool anymore, but it might be right depending on who you’re trying to reach and to what effect.
“Having great media relationships isn’t enough to be a great PR person, you also need to understand the consumer your client is trying to reach.” That will identify the appropriate media and engagement
Current projects: Had a client (Lia Diagnostics) who won TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2017 in Berlin with the first major update of the pregnancy test since it was created in the 70’s. Also working with Merz USA, another client, on a partnership with Christie Brinkley.
Words of wisdom to new college grads: “Be ready to work.” “Roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches.” You grow and learn by having a lot thrown at you.
www.evolvemkd.com Instagram Facebook
Look for her book coming out in Spring 2018!