BY: SAMANTHA MURPHY
Throughout the semester, PRSSA offers a variety of opportunities and events that fully immerse members into the strategic, fast-paced world of PR. Our fall field trip to Philly served to do just that, providing us with a glimpse of everyday life at two different companies; Karma Agency and Braithwaite Communications.
Karma Agency specializes in public relations, advertising, and marketing, their current portfolio consisting of around 20-25 active clients. Our delightful hosts, Laura and Hafsa, were eager to share their expertise on how to effectively build a brand’s reputation, a phrase they deemed as synonymous with earning trust among target consumers. Both professionals emphasized the importance of cultivating a brand promise, which poses a challenge for the client to dig deeper into their overall mission, in an effort to discover how it makes their products/ services unique from competitors. In order to stand out in the crowded consumer space, it isn’t about promoting what you do, but rather, the impact you have.
Another key ingredient to leveraging a brand’s reputation is by developing “thought leadership.” Laura and Hafsa defined thought leadership as establishing oneself as an expert in their respective industry. For Karma’s clients, this involves an extensive amount of media training in which a company’s leader is prepped on how to craft a message in a way that will resonate most with their audience. While this tactic might seem trivial, it is especially beneficial for brands that are often overlooked, such as those in the healthcare or chemical manufacturing sectors. The ability to mold wording, perspectives, and taglines that are both captivating and easily understood can initiate a major breakthrough in reaching consumers.
Braithwaite Communications is a full-service agency, their objective to utilize storytelling to drive results for clients. Braithwaite employees pride themselves in not being composed into specialized teams, but rather, working collaboratively as a whole. From branding, to content creation, to media relations, all work is distributed equally across the board, which I found to be a very interesting, yet innovative approach. This allows employees to touch every area of the agency to gain a fuller, more in-depth understanding of the industry.
Employees Megan, Freddy, and Marissa recalled the most valuable lessons they’ve learned since being thrown into the field. As they relayed their personal accounts and stressed key tips for success, I gathered my own takeaways from the discussion:
- First Impressions: Within every professional interaction, you should always be emulating your personal brand. Your passions, aspirations, and skills are what will make you unique from others, and are going to be the features that enable you to stand out among the crowd. Take time to reflect on each of these aspects to ensure that you’re consistently representing them.
- Experiential learning: Always be actively searching for ways to learn outside of the classroom, not just through a formal internship. Anyone that you meet can turn into an opportunity, but you must willing to seek it out, show initiative, and provide support in any way possible. Overall, be hungry and be open to jobs/ volunteer positions outside of your interests, because they can offer invaluable experience.
- Maintaining relationships: This comes in handy most when fostering professional connections. The most important things to keep in mind are authenticity and insight. Whether congratulating someone on a new job or passing along an article that you find relevant to someone’s work, make sure your message displays genuine interest.
Both companies were so generous to host the members of our organization and nurture our curiosities of public relations and workplace. I think I can speak for all attendees when I say it was truly a great experience, filled with useful knowledge that we will carry with us throughout our entire professional careers!