July 30, 2010
By Ali Myers
I am lucky enough to be spending my summer in New York City interning for Quinn & Co Public Relations, a firm specializing in the real estate, travel, food, and wine + spirits industries. This is the first time I’ve done major PR work in a place other than Athens, Ohio and I would say that the audience I’m working with in New York City is just a bit different. (OK, a lot different.) The thing is, New Yorkers have seen it all. They are not easily impressed, and to grab their attention is a difficult task. Journalists are seeking out new and exciting pitches. Clients are relying on you, the public relations professional, to land them spots in publications and get their name out to the public. In order to do so, you have to change your way of thinking. Sometimes those “in the box” ideas aren’t going to cut it when you’re pitching to major publications. This brings me to the first major lesson I’ve learned at my internship:
Creativity is important.
Now before you say, “But, I’m not creative,” you should know that everyone is capable of thinking creatively, and in a field like public relations, it’s extremely important to do so. You just have to go about doing it the right way. Which brings me to lesson number two:
Brainstorming sessions are a necessity.
While interning at Quinn & Co this summer, I have had the opportunity to attend several team brainstorming sessions. The ideas that come out of these are fascinating. Some of the most brilliant pitches come from sitting in a room with your team members and throwing out everything that comes to mind. Even if the first idea is something very small and simple, your team members may add to it and eventually build it up to a bigger idea, which is a nice little transition to my final lesson:
Don’t be afraid of the BIG IDEA.
So, what is the big idea? It can be many different things. It can be trying a risky new campaign strategy or taking a new approach to the way you typically do things. With so many companies competing for that limited number of consumer dollars, sometimes getting your client or company’s message out will take a BIG IDEA. The most successful public relations campaigns probably seemed risky in the beginning, but sometimes you have to (cautiously) move forward anyway.
I would like to challenge our accounts this year to hold regular brainstorming sessions. Think of new ways to promote your client on a college campus. We’ve all been handed papers at College Gate or seen chalking on the sidewalks. I encourage you to think creatively, brainstorm and maybe generate a big idea that will stir up some noise on campus.