At the start of any relationship—whether it be with a client, a vendor or even a significant other—discovering the best communication method for that person is crucial. It’s what ensures a healthy relationship for both parties and builds trust for the duration of that relationship.
When it comes to our clients, we want them to feel valued and taken care of. That’s why we always respond to emails, calls or text messages in a timely manner. In fact, we have an internal client services policy that requires us to respond within 2-4 business hours. We never want our clients to have to follow up with us or wonder what we are doing to further their business. Our goal is to provide them with as much information as they need about our tactics and strategies before they have the chance to ask.
Before we are too quick to reply, though, we always strive to answer the following questions:
Are we answering their needs?
We aim to be strategic with each response. Our communications should be productive, beneficial and efficient. We understand clients don’t have time to waste during the workday.
Are we strategizing for the future?
The client’s best interests are always at the forefront of our minds. Rather than thinking only on the present matter at hand, we think about results and future opportunities when assisting the client.
Are we going the extra mile to avoid additional work on the client’s end?
We’re always going to provide the client with all of the necessary information needed for their reference or review. For example, rather than asking them to refer to an email I sent two weeks ago, we simply remind them of our past conversation so they are not forced to dig through their old emails. The last thing we want to do is ask our clients to go the extra mile – that’s what we’re here for!
At the end of the day, we want nothing more than to make our clients happy and their jobs a little less stressful. We love that we have developed strong, long-standing relationships with our clients as a result of our clear, quick communication methods and we will continue to do our best to keep them coming back.
A new season brings a new intern here to RPR, and this one’s definitely got gusto.
Meet Megan Heiner. Megan is finishing up her PR degree at Belmont University this fall, but she’s already accrued real-world experience and several awards including Best Series from the Dallas Morning News High School Paper Competition, #1 Graphic Design and #2 Feature Story from Press Women of Texas and Best Daughter Award from her parents – a truly grueling competition when you have two brothers.
She spends her spare time pining over puppies on the Nashville Humane Association and Great Pyrenees Rescue websites, but she’s waiting until after graduation to adopt one because she’s a responsible person. Here are a few more fun facts about Megan.
One of the coolest aspects of working for a PR agency is coming up with creative and unique ideas that set your clients apart, then witnessing these ideas come to life through various campaigns, initiatives and events.
Our team did just that during the month of September with our client, Orangetheory Fitness—Midtown. Because September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we coordinated a partnership with Orangetheory Fitness—Midtown and local Nashville elementary school, Eakin Elementary, to educate local Nashville kids on the importance of exercise. Throughout the month, an Orangetheory Fitness trainer took over the 3rd and 4th grade P.E. classes to teach kids various exercise moves and show them just how fun it can be to stay active.
In conjunction, we coordinated a second partner to provide some direction on the need of a healthy and nutritious diet, something at the core of this national wellness initiative. A nutritionist from popular juicer and health foods restaurant, The Juice Bar, was able to make smoothies for the students and show them just how delicious and nutritious smoothies can be! The kids were even given a smoothie recipe to take home for their parents to make them.
Our team secured an opportunity with Nashville’s NewsChannel5 weekly School Patrol segment that highlights local school’s events and initiatives making a difference in the community. Check out the clip below that reached nearly 75,000 viewers in the Nashville area.
While childhood obesity is a national epidemic that cannot be solved in just one month, intentional efforts can be made to combat the issue one step at a time – and we were excited to be a part of the process on behalf of our client. This effort was a great step in the right direction and Orangetheory Fitness is looking forward to a long-lasting relationship with Eakin Elementary.
It’s no secret that here at RPR, we genuinely love non-profit work. Our projects with organizations like Blood:Water, HOPE International, The Phoenix Club of Nashville, REBOOT Combat Recovery and so many others are some of the most rewarding and awe-inspiring projects we have.
These organizations are one of the reasons we launched our Be The Good travel grant program in 2015 and a division dedicated solely to Cause Marketing in 2016. They do more than turn a profit – they enrich and improve the lives of others – and it is an honor for our agency to be able to help them do that.
In 2015 as part of Be The Good, we donated a portion of our company’s profits to build a classroom for incarcerated mothers and their children in El Salvador. The organization behind the project, Christ for the City International, provides English classes for these women and their children, who also live in the prison until the age of five with no place to play or learn. The prison had finally identified a space for a classroom and they just needed money for the materials, which we were happy to provide.
Due to restrictions at the prison, that classroom was never built. Shortly after the donation was made, the local government closed down all visits to the prisons due to issues with gangs. No visitation was allowed by family, friends, churches or anyone else.
But the money didn’t go unused. This year, Christ for the City International took the donation from RPR and built a home for a wonderful family in need on La Calzada Island. The island is community of about 1,600 people that is isolated from the mainland by a maze of waterways through mangroves. Most of the people there live in extreme poverty, only a few have formal employment and no one on the island has ever received a university degree. Many people live in extreme poverty making $1-2 per day and survive off the land.
Our team is ecstatic to see that our hard work and amazing clients have given a family in El Salvador a safe place to stay with the construction of this new cinder block home. Thank you to everyone who has helped us Be The Good in Nashville and around the world.
Imagine this: You get an unexpected call in the middle of the day. Your company’s network has experienced a data breach and information for thousands of customers is now susceptible to hackers. You don’t know all the details yet, but the local news has gotten wind of the story and they are planning to run a story in the evening newscast. To make matters worse, chatter from worried customers has already started on social media after an employee overheard the news.
What do you do? Are you prepared to field questions from media, your employees and your other stakeholders? How will this affect your company’s reputation and how will you take action to right the situation?
Of all the exciting aspects of public relations and marketing, crisis management can be one of the most challenging and most uncomfortable areas to address – but it is also one of the most critical.
Big or small, for profit or not-for-profit, all organizations should have a well-rounded crisis management plan in place. A good crisis plan will serve as a guidebook to navigating all matter of complex situations that could affect the profitability, integrity or reputation of your organization. This includes serious crises such as workplace crime or violence to less dire situations such as your computer networks crashing.
From moving out on your own to choosing a major that could dictate your entire career, college is a major turning point. That one history class may seem like it will last forever, but four years goes by in the blink of an eye.
Now that I have been out of college and in the workforce for a year, I’ve thought a lot about what helped me stand out and land a job in a competitive market like Nashville. All signs seem to point to one thing: internships.
These days, many college programs require students to complete an internship before graduation. While some students see this as a box to check off before walking across the stage, it should be seen as a holy grail of opportunities.
I kicked off my first internship working 40-hour weeks when most college students were enjoying a break for the summer. Why did I decide to trade the pool for a cubicle? I realized that while I did learn a lot about PR through my college curriculum, nothing compares to real world experience.
Fast forward three years and three internships later, I felt fully prepared for my job search as I scoured the Internet for that coveted first post-graduate job. How can an internship help you do the same? Let’s count the ways…
As an intern, you get accustomed to working in an office. You learn what’s appropriate to wear, better time management skills, office etiquette and a whole range of other skills that aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom. The transition from college life to the real world will be much easier if you are used to the early morning alarms and full days of work compared to only a few hours of classes each day.
Expand Your Networking
Networking. Networking. Networking. The job hunt is all about who you know. The employees that guided you along your intern journey could play an instrumental role in securing your first job. Before you leave the internship to head back to campus, ask your manager for a recommendation letter. This will give your internship weight in comparison to other activities since you have a true PR professional recommending you for a job.
Set Yourself Apart
Having a few internships under your belt will make a difference when you’re interviewing for your first post-graduate job. While it’s listed on your resume, make sure to highlight your intern experience in the interview and show the results from the projects you worked on while you were there. Hiring managers typically like to see numbers and analytics that prove you contributed something measureable and tangible to the team’s success.
Between balancing homework, a social life and somewhat of a sleep schedule, it can be difficult to make time for internships that aren’t required. But when it comes to applying for jobs after graduation, being able to join a team with past real world knowledge will set you a part and make you a more desirable candidate.
Interested in interning at RPR? Apply here.
During the Dallas Spring Meeting for PRGN members of the Leadership Roundtable, we were given the opportunity to get out of the hotel conference center and explore one of Dallas’ top corporate headquarters (and a Three Box Strategic Communications client) – Topgolf. While the visit was a great opportunity to cut loose and have a little fun, it also served as an opportunity to learn from a top national brand and get a refresh on some basic PR principles we should be applying to our work each day.
Three Key Learnings from Topgolf that apply to all PR professionals
Your Message: It has to resonate with your audience(s).
This point is an oldie but goodie and it was nice to hear Topgolf reinforce it during our visit. We heard from director of corporate communications Adrienne Chance and she discussed the breadth of audiences that Topgolf has to reach with their message from millennia
ls and families with children to avid golfers and traveling businessmen. Each audience is unique, but the core message must stay the same.
As PR experts it’s our responsibility to ensure the message is aligned with the brand and resonates with each defined audience. However, we also can’t be everything to everyone so we must clearly define which audiences are most important and play to their pain points in our outreach and message.
SNL has always been known as the best place to get hilarious commentary on everything from current affairs to the latest on pop culture and Hollywood’s favorite movers and shakers. It turns out it’s also a great place to pick up some public relations tips from some of the funniest folks in the game. Keep reading for some of the top PR lessons taken from the 42nd season thus far.
Uber is your friend.
Whether it’s dashing off to a meeting, hitting a networking event or attending a new retail opening, the PR hustle is real. This is where Uber, aka your best friend, comes in. Living in a growing, major city like Nashville, the parking struggle is no joke. Becoming friendly with your local neighborhood Uber drivers is just good business sense. Especially when being late just won’t fly. Watch host Aziz Ansari and longtime castmate Bobby Moynihan reenact the importance of an Uber experience. Don’t forget that five-star rating.
Media is the real MVP.
One of the main pillars of PR is media relations. This makes getting to know your local media market essential. From familiarizing yourself with top reporters’ regular beats to becoming friendly with publications’ upcoming editorial calendars, knowing how best to work with journalists in your community separates the pros from the amateurs. Politics aside, PR professionals should learn from Melissa McCarthy’s fan-favorite turn as White House press secretary Sean Spicer and respect the media’s duty to share news. After all, they’re the gateway to the people. I guess that makes us security? See the SNL guest supreme act it out for us, here.
A little polite stalking is necessary.
When it comes to getting the information you need in PR, some sleuthing is key. Whether it’s finding contact information for an unlisted reporter or pulling a press clip from a small community newspaper, research is part of the job. It’s important to have savvy discovery skills so that when a client needs the Facebook of a potential connection or you need to track down that blogger you just met at an after-hours networking event you can rise to the occasion. Watch guest Kristen Stewart and popular SNL staffer Pete Davidson’s coffee shop meet cute with a side of light investigating, here.
Our fifth birthday is this year. That just blows my mind.
To some companies, that’s a blip in their history. To us, it’s a huge milestone. The reality is I didn’t plan on being a business owner. I didn’t have a business plan. I didn’t want employees. I definitely didn’t want the liability of a long-term office lease. I’d be just fine working as a freelancer, thank you very much. Or so I told myself. But the Nashville market was hot, I had to grow to avoid turning down projects and here we are almost five years later. When I first started out, numerous people told me that if I could make it five years, apparently my chances for long-term success increased exponentially.
It’s been full of extreme highs, the lowest of lows and everything in between. I’ve cried (a lot), I’ve laughed (even more) and I’ve learned more about myself these past five years than in the previous 29. And while it is difficult to pinpoint just a handful of lessons – because, quite frankly, I make a lot of mistakes and each one provides learning opportunities and a greater self-awareness – here are the ones I’d offer to aspiring business owners.
Surround yourself with people who get it. Other business owners have been critical to my sanity. Not everyone knows the pressure of making payroll or trying to figure out the right thing to do versus the affordable thing to do when it comes to employee health care benefits or how the heck to try and take a maternity leave and still run a company. Those are the people you want in your corner. There are organizations for business of all levels. I participated in the EO Catalyst program early on and still meet monthly with some of the other business owners from that group. Depending on the day, the people in my forum are my sounding board, my cheerleaders, my reality check or sometimes my happy hour buddies. It’s been inspiring to watch their businesses take off. As my company has grown, I’ve also joined the Women Presidents Organization, where I’m able to tap into the advice and expertise of a group of truly amazing women running multi-million dollar businesses. Find a group and plug in. You will inevitably hit tough times as a business owner and I firmly believe the support of others who have been there can be the difference between fighting through and coming out stronger on the other side or giving up.
Hire people smarter than yourself. Being a lifelong learner is critical to running a successful business. I want to be surrounded by people with skills and natural abilities that I might not have. If I’m the smartest person in the room, who will I learn from? Set your ego aside, figure out your weak spots and hire people who can make you better. This is especially important in my business. I’m not selling widgets. I’m selling our time and expertise. I personally only have a finite amount of hours, so I need really smart people to a.) do the things I am not good at so I can spend my time working on the things I can do well and b.) handle projects and clients that I am not involved in, increasing our capacity for additional revenue.
Reward success. The job’s not done once you hire those smart people. You need to make them stay. The top talent could walk out today and get other jobs, especially in a strong market. Pay people what they are worth. Teach your team that compensation is directly tied to the value they bring to the company and then reward them for growth. In my experience, being generous with profit sharing has only caused our revenue to grow.
Know your ideal client – and the value that you bring. Early on, I thought we had to be the perfect fit for every client and we had to win every single account. We had to recognize that not every client is going to be a great fit. Until we learned that, we weren’t able to do really great work for those who were a good fit. By working with just anyone who knocks on the door and not paying attention to red flags, you aren’t setting yourself up for success.
Sometimes you just need a donkey. Or puppies. Or tacos. Or whatever it is that lightens the mood and reminds you not to take yourself too seriously. Life gets busy, work gets stressful and even the most functional team can wear on each other’s nerves. Have fun. While the resulting visit from the landlord was slightly awkward, one of my all-time favorite days was sneaking a live donkey into our office to film an invitation to our Cinco de Mayo party.
It’s funny – while I never wanted to be a business owner (let someone else sign the rent checks!), after five years I can’t imagine having it any other way. I’m most grateful to my family and friends for their constant grace as I try to balance mom life and work life, my team for showing up every day and making me look awesome (even after that one time I was in Hawaii and forgot to run payroll) and my tribe of other business owners for their support.
Oh, and we’re obviously going to have a party. Stay tuned.