Category: Jack Berkman


Reflections

jack berkman berkman pr san diego

As time moves on and I think so much about my accomplishments and what they truly mean, I reflect on memories that for the most part are fulfilling. When I trul

y take the time, I can mentally re-live the events and the role I played and the satisfaction I received.

Memories are the treat of advancing age; they are to be savored, not regretted.  In my case, Father Time is moving things and people along, just as our predecessors in age and rank moved along to make room for us. I think of the old poem I tried to memorize in high school, “Thanatopsis,” by William Cullen Bryan.  It had a morbid tone to me as a teenager, but it looks much different later in life.

If getting older is teaching me one thing it is that whatever “work” I have done, exceptional or otherwise, is not what has defined me, nor should it. Nobody I know of ever looks back at his life and says “I wish I would have worked longer or harder.” Most regrets are expressed, “I wish I had done other things that had more lasting value.” Whatever I did for clients or my community has been long forgotten because, in the order of things, its impact never would be more than limited and temporary. I must

learn to accept what I did as having value and impact only for a period of time.

Advancing age also has taught me to prioritize what I do, for whom, and when. I no longer have time to “pay one’s dues” or wait until one’s “ship comes in” with the big client or perfect situation. My dues are paid; my ship has come in with whatever “cargo” it has and I am/must be content.

But I am spreading out to do new things that are more profitable financially and which take full advantage of what I have already been given – prominence and a good name in this region. Specifically, I am partnering up with highly successful smart people who have products and services that are truly breakthroughs. I am putting together a speaking program to take on the road. I am going to become up close and personal with executives who want to learn how to market their businesses and why the strategic communications aspect of a company is so very essential to it overall positioning and ultimate success. I am very immersed in my PR business but focusing on clients and engagements that require my highest and best level of skills.

Spreading out my wings and confining my focus to those things that interest me is the reward for reaching my age and it finally gives me a positive answer to the question I have been asking myself: “Am I still relevant?”  I certainly am; as long as I don’t let others define that for me.

I don’t say all this to brag; only to suggest that spreading my wings and doing what more personally and professionally excites me, not just sustains me, is how I believe I will become even more relevant and of greater value and substance to my profession, clients, family, friends and of course………..me.

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Strategic Communications

Today, strategic communications must be the quintessential core element of every business planning process.

Communication strategies today require us to passionately seek a deep, authentic point of alignment between our brand’s values and character and the interests and instincts of our various stakeholders. We must stand for something larger than ourselves. We need to communicate with creativity and emotion about that big idea, and we must also advocate for it arm-in-arm with our stakeholders. Recognizing how essential it is to fully understand our target constituents allows us to better direct the carefully crafted content of our messages to our targeted influential stakeholders.

As the leader of a company you must lead, but just as often be prepared to support, empower, educate and inform your stakeholders. Beyond dispute, the lines between advertising and PR, owned and earned media, have been blurred, with social media serving as the great communications connector. The explosion of information channels and sophisticated tools that help people navigate them have fundamentally shifted control into the hands of the readers and viewers, and away from professional content creators.

More than ever, our clients are seeking guidance and constantly looking to their PR/communications firms to provide clear solutions through this complex labyrinth and help them achieve their business goals. Just as essential as it is to recognize how communications today has changed and to embrace that change is delivering and measuring real value to stakeholders.

No matter how creative, compelling and emotional the appeal, companies must take a bold step into a new era of aligning their goals with their stakeholder expectations, and fueling trust and shared value across all audiences. The faster companies adapt, the more competitive they will become in this ever-changing, connected global marketplace.

At the nucleus of all these important considerations is a genuine measure of “the position of trust” that can be sustained within the target marketplace. Without the positioning of trust of what a company stands for, the integrity of the brand and its measurable value to stakeholders, companies clearly don’t establish the strength of connectivity so vital to any and all established ongoing relationships.

PR and communications professionals must become senior members of the group of business advisors who determine company policy and shape communications. This will allow us to stand with one foot on the policy side and one foot on the communications side. We can unseat the force for control, with our voice for our stakeholders and transparency.

Companies can no longer rely on the same ways of doing things. Our communications landscape has changed, and therefore, embracing these changes is essential to success.

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Submitted by Jack Berkman, president and CEO of Berkman.