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About the Host:
Host: DOUG SIMON
Guest: DAVID IMRE
DOUG: Dave, now you cover both the PR and the marketing side. So, can we start by having you share some of your top recommendations for PR and marketing people going into 2021.
DAVID: Right. First of all, I’d be willing to change. 2020, certainly started off the first couple of months like any ordinary year, but then it shifted. So, I would advise folks to be amenable to try new things and reinvent yourself as often as you can.
DOUG: That’s a great piece of advice. Now, one of the things being an agency CEO, have you taken that medicine yourself? And it doesn’t have to be bad medicine, it’s good medicine, change’s important. Clearly, 2020 increased the speed of change and force that upon all of us.
DAVID: Absolutely. I mean, the change was radical. You know, things in marketing and PR moved. What would have taken ordinarily six or seven years, moved in just six months. So, the change was radical. Yeah, I do. I take my own advice there. I’m a lifelong learner. I love taking in information and blogs and podcasts and those kinds of things. I believe you can learn new things, and in fact, in order to survive, you need to learn new things constantly.
DOUG: And are you applying this advice with your recommendations to clients about doing things differently? I mean, clearly, both the pandemic and then the social justice movements happening back–to–back opened eyes and made people realize they had to do things differently in many cases to survive. How are you sharing this message with clients and getting them to understand not only that they need to make change, but they have to really be willing to test and try different things?
DAVID: Yeah Doug, you’re absolutely right. We’re spending, or we’re asking our clients to spend about 50% of their time with us and with the advice and their treasure building a foundation and making sure they’re fortifying that foundation. Some things that, you know, starting with at the basics, with strategy and reviewing that and then the other 50%, or maybe a little bit less than that, trying new things. Let’s spend some of the budget some of the time you’ve got at your own company and with us as an agency experimenting. Little experiments where we can take a couple of steps forward, and if we learn something new, we can step back and try it again.
DOUG: How important is it that leaders of these organizations that you work with are out there on TV, in local markets, communicating through the media to the key publics about what’s going on to create authenticity, transparency, clarity, et cetera?
DAVID: TV is definitely part of the marketing mix. People are looking at other medium, they’re looking at blogs, they’re looking at everything, but I think TV with the matching, the pictures, the images with the words is just essential in telling a brand story. There’s nothing else can match it.
DOUG: And viewership was up a tremendous amount. Even I saw a stat from Nielsen that viewership among 18-34–year–olds of local news was up one 135% this year. And more than 60% of people who work from home watch local news, at least weekly. You also have an additional expertise on the pharma side, health care area with the brands that you work with. Obviously, there’s so much at the center of what’s going on with COVID. What’s some of the advice for pharma brands, for health organizations in 2021?
DAVID: We’re talking to our clients about orchestrated marketing. Making sure that all the pieces of the marketing puzzle, including PR and corporate communications, are really using the same kind of words, the same images where they’ve got images and the same messages. if you’re saying disparate things in different channels, it’s just not going to work any longer. It’s important that the marketing mix, including PR, be talking from one playbook.
DOUG: And I know you’re an optimist by nature, we were talking about that earlier, which clearly you need to be to get through 2020. What on the positive side do you think might happen in 2021 as we look to marketing communications and hopefully an effective vaccine rollout and back to a new normal beyond the new abnormal we’ve all been dealing with?
DAVID: You know, you’re right, Doug. I think people are looking for some semblance of optimism, whether it’s from a brand or from a spokesperson or whatever. They’re going to be looking for light at the end of the tunnel, something refreshing. 2020 was just too darn difficult for all of us. And we’re going to be looking for a real change as change comes about in 2021.
DOUG: Great. Thanks so much for participating. Congratulations on your continued success. It’s great to talk to you.
DAVID: Thanks, and thanks much to D S Simon as well.