Born to be in PR? 9-year-old me takes us back to the basics

This past weekend, I trekked back to my old stomping grounds in College Station, Texas to co-host an old friend’s baby shower. (I am at that point in life where the appropriate response to a friend’s baby news is now “Congratulations!” rather than “Wow, how do you feel about it?” – it’s all still new to me.) Thankfully, my Mom and stepdad still live in the area, so I got some time away from baby talk to catch up and lounge around in their new-old 1930’s-built house.

On Saturday night, my Mom handed me a bag containing a few notebooks and papers that her Mom had passed off to her the weekend before. My Grandmom has been sloooowly cleaning out the old “clubhouse” over the years, a tiny-yet-huge closet in her house that my cousin and I had taken over for our childhood exploits. I think it makes her just as sad as it makes me thinking of the clubhouse being totally empty, since we lost my cousin 7 years ago, way too young. But about the notebooks. Our “T.V. Club” (for Taylor + Valerie, also known as the “Totally Fun Club,” of course) required a lot of planning. Based on the notebooks, you’d think all we did was plan – which was mostly the case, aside from the occasional spy mission or theatrical/choral performance.

When I was reading through one of my old club notebooks, circa age 9, I laughed to the point of tears at the ridiculousness of it. I’ve included an old page here (click through to read it bigger) that really got me thinking. As rudimentary and silly as these ideas were, they say something about who I was, and who I am. Aside from being a huge nerd, when I read it, I thought to myself, “huh, I didn’t even know it until I was three years into college, but I was kind of destined for this career.”

As with any career, there are certain must-have traits for those who want to be successful in marketing and PR. While diversity among the types of people and ideas is a must, these seem to be universally necessary traits/tendencies for professionals in this business. Sure, they might seem rather “duh” (#5 on my IDEAS list anyone?) but my mantra for 2011 has been “back to the basics,” and I think there are messages here that we all need reminders of if we want to try to strengthen the reputation of our own industry:

  1. Be proactive – I mean, really: One of our clients recently hired a new director of marketing, and in our first meeting, she was very concerned about trade show media appointments. She mentioned that at her previous company, the PR agency didn’t prep the executives with briefing books or confirm the media appointments before the show. Come on! And in a recent new business meeting, a company’s CEO told us that his PR firm didn’t proactively pitch or set media appointments at shows, and only seemed to handle reactive inquiries. The only excuse for that would be a bare bones budget, and even then, there’s a major communication gap going on. Speaking of which… Continue reading