PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID – Kym White



Kym White, SVP & Chief Communications Officer at CVS Health, discusses the challenges of integrating communications for multiple businesses under one cohesive brand. Kym also shares with us her experience of taking on a new leadership role amid the ongoing pandemic.

Having been on both the agency side at Edelman and now the client side at CVS Health, Kym gives tips on building successful relationships between the two.

PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID & Social Justice – Lin-Hua Wu



With a company like Dropbox, there is a unique challenge of making sure its brand resonates with both businesses as well as individual consumers. The company’s Chief Communications Officer, Lin-Hua Wu, breaks down how to navigate this task, especially with the lines between home and work being so blurred during these strange times.

With the current remote work environment, there is also a new challenge of balancing positive stories about the brand with what’s going on externally. Lin-Hua emphasizes the increased need to be tone appropriate and use empathy when dealing with these issues.

PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID & Social Justice – Damon Jones



Damon Jones gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the communications strategy at the company as the COVID pandemic unfolded. He discusses the film “The Choice” which Procter & Gamble created as a way to help people have the necessary and often uncomfortable conversations about race.

Damon is the first person of color to ever be ranked #1 on PRWeek’s Power List. He addresses some of the different things a person of color might need to do to achieve the level of success that he’s had.

PR’s Top Pros Talk…Social Justice – Rosemary Ostmann



We live in a time of multiple, evolving crises. It’s different from other crises that we’ve faced in my career, says Rosemary Ostmann, President & CEO at RoseComm. Generally, when tragedy strikes, we scramble to understand what happened and then and we begin to recover.

The most important thing for communicators to do now is to listen to what’s going on around them and be responsive as the situation changes. With so much confusion and potential for misinformation, all brands have a role to play in educating their stakeholders and helping the public navigate through these challenging times. This is especially important for organizations in the health and education fields where she spends much of her time.

PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID – Ray Day



The most successful organizations will be those that spend most of their time focused on the future, says Ray Day, Vice Chair at the Stagwell Group. COVID digitally transformed and disrupted the world of communications and forced everyone to learn new ways to prosper in the digital era. Ray emphasizes the importance of implementing digital as a strategy not a tactic.

The role of communicators has never been bigger. Organization leaders need to strive for end to end digital transformation in order to thrive in the new normal. Ray urges communications professionals to embrace the mindset that new technologies will help them do their jobs more effectively and effectively, not make their jobs obsolete. A future mindset is the best thing that communicators can bring to their organizations or their clients today.

PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID – Johna Burke



Organizations need to be using data driven measurement and evaluation in their program every day, says Global Managing Director at AMEC, Johna Burke. Companies that don’t are getting further and further behind.

By leveraging data, organizations can make much smarter and effective decisions when it comes to making cuts and reallocating resources. Johna stresses the importance of evaluating tonality and sentiment among other factors that drive communications strategy. It is important to continually understand and reevaluate priorities on a day to day basis and make changes to your messaging accordingly.

PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID – Craig Minassian



Nonprofits can help address the COVID19 crisis and advance the social and racial justice movements happening today by taking an additive, supportive, and collaborative approach to communications, says Craig Minassian, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at the Clinton Foundation. This includes sharing stories and content that help foster a better understanding of the issues and needs, fact-based information and resources, and working together with other organizations to develop and amplify purpose-driven campaigns.

 

The economic uncertainty and scaling back of philanthropic support caused by the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the marketing budgets of many nonprofits. This puts a premium on PR and earned media efforts that help journalists discover stories and ideas to inform broader narratives and bring different human dimensions to the issues.

PR’s Top Pros Talk…COVID – Anna Lingeris



Agencies can work best by listening and being honest and empathetic, says Anna Lingeris, Earned Media & Brand Publicity Lead at the Hershey Company. It is more important than ever to read the news and spend time understanding how to work within the new norms in an empathetic way.

Organizations need to understand how their messages fit into what’s happening around them. These are times where the world needs heartwarming stories that would truly resonate with the audiences and provide relief, not carefully crafted, self-indulgent pieces.

Media Guide for PR Pros – Episode 7: Top SMT Subjects During the COVID-19 Climate

The number of earned television bookings for satellite media tours are increasing by about 60 percent and the question most often being asked is: what types of subjects are working well for satellite media tours?

Reopening to the new abnormal
Safety and Health
Travel
Retail
Recreation in the summer
Technology for the school and home office

Interestingly, stations are still preferring to hear it straight from a spokesperson that works directly with the brand. All of these factors are leading to a significant increase in bookings and activity.

 

Need some help getting ready for an interview? D S Simon Media is providing free tech checks to help make sure spokespeople deliver the best audio and video quality for their next TV interview. Contact Doug Simon, dougs@dssimonmedia.com to schedule.

PR’s Top Pros Talk… Social Justice – Donovan Thompson



The time to speak up is now. Executive producer of The Grapevine, Donovan Thompson, breaks down the current state of diversity and racial awareness in the workplace and shares thoughts on the effective ways to implement change.

 

PRWeek reported that only 13% of the leaders in PR agencies are non-white, even after five years of trying to increase diversity in the industry. This is a trend that goes beyond the PR field; black people are underrepresented in leadership roles across all industries. As a result, there is no one to speak to the diversity and colorism, says Donovan. He encourages that organizations allow diverse people to be experts in diversity, without alienating them. Donovan stresses the importance of empowering black employees with actual leadership roles, instead of just giving them diversity positions.

 

Diversifying your organizations could be tricky. Should the companies be explicit about their efforts? Donovan emphasizes that they need to be very overt about it, they need to make a real effort. Black employees find it complicated to speak out about systemic racism, fearing that it will follow them throughout their careers and create obstacles along the way. This is why it’s imperative for organizations to lead the way intentionally, allowing black people to take charge and encourage these conversations from the top down.

 

It’s ok to have awkward conversations, everyone needs to sweat a little bit, says Donovan. For employees, now is the time to speak up, advocate for changes that you’d like to see in the workplace and offer your services. Donovan is convinced that if organizations allow black people to be their full selves, it will revolutionize and promote the business in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

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