Stacey Kumagai, communications specialist at Media Monster Communications, says that her background as a journalist is key to helping her unearth the human side of a client's story.
"As a journalist, I want to know the who, what, where, when, why and more importantly, how," she tells Doug Simon. "I'm interested in the person behind the story, and that's where you get the real interesting human element of the story."
She encourages commuicators to "really be thoughtful, be mindful, and more importantly, be present." Her advice for clients: "Tell us where you are right now. That adds more meaning to your story as opposed to just sounding like a talking head sound piece for your company or your brand."
That includes asking clients to share both the ups and down of their stories. "I really like to find out from my clients, what are your failures, what does your path look like? So, we can actually be solution-oriented in working toward real answers."
Kumagai stresses the need for communicators to constantly keep their eyes on the big picture. "PR today and over time has evolved into an integrated process where we're actually looking at the paid advertising, and then we're looking at the organic earned, and then we're looking at the marketing experiential, and the customer retention. And all of these are things, they all have a play into the PR narrative."
She also says that brands need to see all their employees as brand ambassadors, both on and off the job. "That also includes today's social media. So, you can't be having them tarnish your brand or having negative speak on their own social pages today, because that is now crisis communications."
When it comes to the future of PR in a world of ever-accelerating change, Kumagai says, "we're going to have to really continue pivoting. When you're doing PR for certain products or services, be both traditional and digital and live and virtual. That's going to continue to be a process."
But in the end, she says, much of it comes back to finding that human story within the brand story. "If you really get to know your client about their successes and failures and you really understand where they're coming from and the intention, and message, and mission, of whatever campaign they're trying to put together, it's easier to have the plan B and C."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]