It's Not Just PR: A New Age of Relationship Management
Our world is changing before our eyes. This uncharted territory will alter the way we interact with our community, and it is no secret that each industry is having to adjust to a new reality.
During these unprecedented times, communications professionals have most likely found themselves having to a) Expand their expertise, and b) Become agile communication vehicles for their clients. These shifts beg the question: Will the industry adopt these shifts post-COVID?
I preface the below experiences with the sentiment that being a resource for clients and consumers is paramount to being successful, but recent events have demanded constant agility and evolving mentorship. Let’s plant the seeds of what relationship management could entail and explore a mindset that I have found helpful along the way.
I work mainly with restaurants and retailers – both are industries that have been severely impacted by our current climate. In the past months, business owners have been required to rapidly adjust to an uneasy consumer base and pivot their business models to stay afloat. These initial moments necessitated tirelessly crafting messaging, creating specific collaterals, and real-time communications to news outlets.
What felt like a blur now reads like a textbook filled with dissectible information that can serve our future career choices in this “new world.”
Become a Swiss army knife.
Like many of us, I found myself being called upon in ways that exceeded my skill-set. I reminded myself that the foundation of my position is to assure my client that I’m doing everything in my power to keep them relevant in the media as well as our community.
Rightfully so, the media’s focus has been the virus and its impacts. Therefore, finding alternate ways to keep my client in the forefront has been key.
The best results have sprouted from focusing on grassroots efforts while highlighting assets of the business that felt both helpful and appropriate during this sensitive time. Hitting the phones, making graphics, and pivoting communications to social media have had the most impact.
Become a Swiss army knife for your firm, for your client, and for your future. We are all learning together as we adjust, and we will emerge with a better understanding of new tools and practices that we can use to be successful.
Those of us who gravitate to relationship-oriented industries likely harness energy from others and enjoy the art of creating connection.
In media relations, we hope to be available to clients 24/7, which can be rewarding but also draining. It is our job to communicate our expertise and navigate clients through unchartered territory and/or campaigns that will best serve them and their business. It’s why they hire us!
However, during this time it has become apparent that an emphasis on an empathic mindset yields the best results. Many business owners are losing their livelihoods. Many of us are watching what they have built for decades slowly slip away as they are forced to lay off teams and shut their doors.
Clients are no longer just accounts; they’re humans trying to adapt and survive as the world rapidly changes around them. Considering a scenario with an empathic view allows me to be a better listener, absorb more information, and patiently guide teams through challenging situations – all while being a part of their organization rather than an outsider.
I see myself as a part of the business instead of an extremity, and this shift in mindset has allowed me to form stronger and more productive relationships.
[Related: How to Thrive at Work as a Sensitive Person]
Be more creative than you ever thought possible.
Our “now” is changing our “next.” We will see the ripple effects of this pandemic for years to come. As the way we engage with the outside world continues to transform, proceeding with caution is at the forefront of our community’s mind.
This new adjustment period gives us a blank slate. It is our responsibility to construct ways for businesses to mindfully engage with their consumers. This means finding ways to create experiences, products, and connections for your audience.
It’s up to us to trail-blaze what consumption and patterns will look like in the years to come. Work with your clients to position them as leaders - go virtual to stay connected, create viral campaigns, and brainstorm new experiences you can produce. Now is the time to embrace your inner Michelangelo and make your client a leader in a new space that we are all attempting to understand.
The way we are absorbing information and interacting with our surroundings continues to change. Relationship-based industries are undoubtedly evolving during these times, and I encourage those in our industry to share their experiences as they discover new skills that propel their clients and themselves through these current challenges.
Rachel Boyd merged her corporate and culinary experience to find her niche in the restaurant PR scene. She is passionate about connecting people and creating thoughtful and meaningful experiences for others to enjoy.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
In a past life I was in energy and finance prior to an exciting stint as a chef in New York. I have since merged my corporate and culinary experience to find my niche in the restaurant PR scene. I am passionate about connecting people and creating thoughtful and meaningful experiences for others to enjoy. Outside of my profession, I enjoy trying new restaurants, cooking, traveling, a good book, discovering new music, improving my wellness... Continue Reading
Start your free membership to continue reading and learning from people who want to help you succeed.Sign up for free