BY: AMELIA LUDWICK
This past Thursday, twenty PRSSA members from our University of Delaware chapter traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with three public relations/marketing agencies. We meet with Fenton, Allison + Partners, and Multiply.
Common themes throughout all three agencies included trends of integrated campaigns that involve both earned and paid media, occasionally pushing your client to see change and creativity happen, and reinforcing the valuable skill of writing in the PR profession.
Our first stop of the day was Fenton, a social change agency with clients such as The American Heart Association, Warner Brothers, and Johnson and Johnson. Fenton offers a paid fellowship for recent college graduates in any of their four office locations. Fenton works for causes they believe in, and use their PR skills and journalism backgrounds to get important issues noticed by the public. They have worked with their in-house team to create moving video campaigns about the soda tax in Philadelphia, Donald Trump running for President, the famine in Africa, and fracking in New York. Their work aims to cause behavior change. They offered us advice to get an MBA or Masters because it is valuable nowadays, work hard to make sure your writing skills are outstanding, and if there’s an opportunity to work at a startup or become an entrepreneur early in life- take it!
Next, we visited Allison and Partners and met with their D.C. general manager Tara and three other account executives. Some of Allison+Partners clients include Samsung, Hulu, and Lexus. Tara talked to us about how important influencers are. Whether it’s social media, celebrities, or friends, A+P focuses on the influencers to understand how to reach their clients’ target market. Tara told us to, “always have a seat at the table” when it comes to working with big clients and their marketing teams. You want to be involved and have your professional opinion heard and valued. Sometimes you also need to push your clients out of their comfort zone to create unique and effective media. She talked about metrics and how important it is to track your progress so you can go back and show your client what your campaigns and ideas have accomplished by the numbers. In addition to having strong writing skills, the agency relayed to us that content creation, blogging, and problem-solving skills are all valued at PR firms.
We ended our day in D.C. in Georgetown at Multiply (formally DBC). The CEO Skyped us to introduce us to Multiply and their core values and showed us their new real-time earned media dashboards. Again, we were informed about the importance of metrics. Three different account executives talked to us about recent case studies they had accomplished for their clients such as ACE Hardware, Cruzan Rum, and Corona. Multiply’s creativity stood out to me because they are doing work for clients that no other brand has done before. For ACE they hosted a workshop for lifestyle/home bloggers and magazines to introduce the new Amy Howard at home DIY line. For Cruzan Rum they sent out a virtual reality experience mailer and received earned media from Maxim and Men’s Journal. Finally they discussed a campaign for Corona based off their “Find Your Beach” slogan where they offered beachside beer delivery, “Bringing Beers from Boat to Beach.” In addition to stressing writing skills, they talked about how it’s so important to be able to change your voice for different clients. Knowing how to reach all different target populations through your tone of voice and ideas is another key to success in the public relations industry.
Overall our trip to D.C. was one to remember. We are so thankful to all the firms for taking the time to meet with us and offering such valuable advice. Can’t wait to return!
Amelia Ludwick is a UD junior marketing major with an advertising minor. Passionate about all things PR, figure skating, and fashion. Check out her LinkedIn here!