Nov 14

Why I’m thankful to be a communicator   

I love the holidays – it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Today’s snow especially has me getting in the mood. I’m even listening to a little Christmas music, breaking my cardinal rule of nothing Christmas until Thanksgiving evening, when I usually watch Miracle on 34th Street.

During this time, I believe it’s so important to talk about what you’re grateful for – and honor it. Growing up, at the Thanksgiving dinner table, we’d all go around and share what we’re grateful for. It’s a lovely tradition that I still cherish to this day. I even force my friends into doing it during our annual Friendsgiving dinner.

I celebrated five years with Sabo PR this fall, and it has been a whirlwind from day one. It’s easy to get swept and forget about some of the incredible opportunities this profession affords us. As we move into this magical time, I want to share why I’m grateful to work in the exciting and sometimes unpredictable world of marketing communications.

We are the gatekeepers

The communications team is the chief advocate and keeper of information for any organization. Our job is to build relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, keeping a pulse on all matters at bay. Through our relationships and skills, we can connect the world to its products, services, executives and initiatives. When needed, we can also put on our armor and keep it protected when issues arise. We hold its reputation near and dear and are fierce advocates for the advancement of the brand we’ve sworn to protect.

We are the brand ambassadors

In 101 Rules of Branding, a book I picked up in college, the No. 1 rule is: “No one loves your brand more than you.” This can be a tough pill to swallow, but it is true. Our strong connections, however, put us in a unique place to get others excited about the organizations we represent. We’re constantly out there beating the drum.

Case in point: I was recently at a party where a number of the people there live in a municipality we represent. I immediately asked them if they were signed up for the weekly newsletter! It just becomes a part of who you are that you don’t even realize you’re flying the flag until the words come spilling out of your mouth.

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time investing in targeted communications, strong visuals and a slew of strategies to get our brand in front of our target audiences so it’s no wonder we love it.

We get to shape public dialogue

One of the key principals of public relations is creating conversations within communities. Whether that be for a new product or service, or for a public issue affecting day-to-day life, we are there to help craft the message and build conversations. We know what makes our audiences tick, what frightens them, what gets them excited and what motivates them. Essentially, we’ve taken the time to understand them and can use that knowledge to shape messaging and choose delivery tools to create a dialogue that will (hopefully) be productive and not spiral.

We contribute to the bottom line

My brother works in finance and we often (mostly jokingly) argue about the value of marketing and communications. For many analysts, like him, we’re just another expense. However, I always like to counter with one of my favorite quotes by one of the greatest businessmen of all times:

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”

– Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder

That’s because Mr. Gates knows it doesn’t matter if you make a great product, if no one knows about it, ‘a.k.a. buys it,’ it doesn’t matter. To drive sales and build brand equity, it’s critical to have a strong team to bridge the gap from the manufacturing floor to the marketplace. Especially as we go into 2020, more and more executives we encounter talk about their desire to be a strong marketing company, not just a company that makes good products.

We are problem solvers

The folks that go into communications, marketing and PR tend to be that friend who always wants to jump in and find a solution when you are struggling with something or connect you to someone else in their circle. By nature, we’re always listening for a pain point and then crafting a way that communications can help alleviate it. To be an effective communicator means you must listen well so we’re often the folks people come to when they just need an ear. We play therapist, confessor and confidant, helping companies find a way to move forward through sticky situations.

We get to be analytical and creative

This is probably one of the best parts about working in the communication biz. We have to think extremely strategically, executing our work to ensure the best possible results, but we also get to use our creative hat. Whether for crafting the perfect message, creating an eye-catching design or dreaming up a unique strategy with a tight budget, we get to flex the muscles in both the left and right sides of our brain. To truly be successful, you have to bring brains and soul to any campaign and good communicators find a way to do this.

We get to share stories

Ultimately, this is what it comes down to: we have the distinct privilege of telling an organization’s story. We have to dig in, learning about topics we never thought we would in a million years. Because what every organization really comes down to is a collection of stories that create a bigger picture. I’ve met a multitude of fascinating people, from all walks of life, during my time at SPR. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked away from these conversations inspired with a renewed sense of purpose. It’s a gift to be entrusted with telling these stories and I am grateful for each and every one of them.

So tell me, what are you grateful for in your job?

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