PR practitioners have gotten their seat at the table over the past year, Fahlgren Mortine executive vice president Marty McDonald tells Doug Simon in the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview. Their job for this year? “Really operate boldly and keep that seat.”

McDonald says that the events of 2020 made it necessary for Fahlgren Mortine to focus on what clients across the B2B and B2C spaces have in common. “What we’ve really felt is that we’re still dealing with human beings, and human beings in a year like this are still going through things. So, the way we sell, the way we communicate, the way we craft messages all had to shift and we’re kind of reduced to what we share.”

That emphasis on the shared humanity of all stakeholders can also be seen in the increased amount of attention being given to internal communications, she says. “It’s been undeniable how many of our clients are looking to us for help with internal communications, or engaging their own teams for a lot of different reasons.”

McDonald also stresses the value of optimism. “For me,” she says, “it’s about this kind of feeling of a new awakening… We’re kind of thinking deeper in this world, and I think that’ll make us stronger on the other side.”

Trust will be another central concern for both PR firms and clients, McDonald tells Simon. She expects the issue of trust to “really dominate the conversation in 2021,” and to have a big effect on how agencies advise their clients.

“I think that as practitioners, our arena is information and truth. We’ve got to fight hard to help consumers and help the listener know where the lines are and what’s worth protecting and how to be clear.”

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