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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.

First week on the job

Appetite for knowledge:

While the first few days, weeks or months on the job can be a little scary and stressful, take a deep breath and repeat to yourself: “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” Be strong and confident and open to new learning experiences.

In PR, as with any profession, you should constantly be continuing your education and staying up to date with new happenings and developments in the field. How can you expect to move forward if you go through your career with ONLY the knowledge you gained from some outdated text books in college?

I am in my second week on the job as an intern at BERKMAN PR and have already learned so much but have a LONG way to go and am excited for the journey!

Follow these tips from my first week as you adjust to life in the fast lane.

Turn your radars on!

During my first week of work I was eager to adjust to the life of a PR professional, having previously worked in the non-profit world for a small performing arts organization. I immediately took note of how my more experienced PR colleagues wrote, created, interacted and accomplished their daily duties.  Remember they have been with the company for longer than you and know the goals, plans and keys to success having learned from their mistakes some time ago when they were in your shoes. Make their best skills yours by evolving into the best PR professional you can be through observation and application.

Get your book worm on

Read, Read, Read!

So, I must admit to “geeking” out a little bit my first week of work. As I was browsing through online PR publications on a slow day, I stumbled upon Platform magazine and their handy little AP style and PR vocab quizzes. I became addicted with testing my AP style skills and PR knowledge. Pretty fun and informative at the same time! I am looking forward to subscribing to PR Week or Platform magazine and curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and issue in hand after work to stay up to date with the PR world.

Whether on your iPad, Kindle or a good old-fashioned magazine, continue to educate yourself on the current happenings in the field. Through trade journals and other materials written specifically for your industry, you can scope out what other people in similar jobs are doing to be successful. It will come in handy as you navigate this new terrain and will ensure a stronger confidence in your work as you grow and mature in the field.

Be a good member of society

The Public Relations Society of America that is. Started in 1947, the PRSA is the world’s largest organization of public relations professionals with over 21,000 members. PRSA provides professional development, sets standards of excellence and acts as one of the industry’s leading voices on the important business and professional issues of our time. There is even a PR society designed specifically for students with more than 10,000 members. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a great resource for the budding PR student.

For more information visit www.prsa.org  or www.prssa.org

Don’t sweat the small stuff

During my first week on the job here at BERKMAN, I was extremely excited, but as with any new job, also extremely nervous! I wanted to make a fantastic first impression and add value to the company atmosphere right from the start. Needless to say, nerves certainly got the best of me in some not-so-intellectual-and-embarrassing situations. From dealing with phone issues like accidentally hanging up on a client, or not knowing how to make coffee (Hard to believe huh? I’m an avid soda drinker and don’t even own a coffee pot, so it was completely foreign to me!)I have kept a smile on through all of it, reminding myself that it takes time to adjust. As we’ve said before, attitude is everything and nerves are completely normal. Have fun and learn from your mistakes!

Be nosy

In a good way. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but not the entry level PR professional. My first few days on the job, I spent any downtime I had researching the clients and browsing the past materials created for clients to get a feel for how things are done and how I could fit into the team and add value to the company. Ask questions. There is no dumb question. By being curious, you will not only help familiarize yourself with the company but will also demonstrate to employers that you are genuinely interested in the business and all of the ins-and-outs of the organization.

How have you continued your PR education?