Our new account manager, Alexandra Codd, shares her thoughts on how Sex and the City helped her transition into the world of PR.
So… I am new to this PR gig and while I have come from a similar world of digital marketing, sales and journalism, I am continually learning new, exciting and sometimes surprising tricks to this trade!
Something I have learnt about myself over my years of studying, career changes and industry events, is that my golden ticket to understanding something new… is to translate it into my own language.
Cue… Sex and the City Segway!
I will unashamedly admit that I am a diehard SATC fan.
Carrie Bradshaw and her ridiculous Manhattan apartment, dream-designer-drobe and ‘I’m invited to every NYC club/bar opening’-social life, that she manages to afford on a Journalist wage, had set a very unfair precedent for what I could expect as a fashion and lifestyle writer!
Despite these unrealistic/idealistic plot quirks, I have found that, over the years, there have been many messages in SATC that can be applied to my everyday life and many I am finding relevant in my new role as a PR account manager.
After recently rekindling my romance with SATC Season 6 and coming to the end of my very first month with The Press Garage, I thought I would share some valuable PR lessons to be learnt from the show.
1. Your ‘work’ is only as strong as your ‘network’
It really is true. And, if the awesome foursome bond of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte has taught me anything, it’s the power of friendships (or in a professional capacity, networks).
When it comes to PR, I quickly learnt that my ‘little black book’, which I had built over my few years as a journalist, needed some serious attention!
Learning the name of key media contacts, journalists and sales executives, and more importantly introducing myself and learning how they like to operate, I knew was top priority if I wanted to see traction on anything I was working on.
Luckily, I didn’t have to start from scratch and to further support this SATC friendship theory; my first few projects were graciously supported by some of my existing contacts.
2. The power of a theme
Yes, when you are sitting in bed with a tub of ice cream watching SATC re-runs back-to-back (anyone… anyone?)… Carrie’s rhetorical question theme for every episode, which also parallels as the topic of her newspaper column for that week, can become very annoying (especially because she seems to narrate this question in the exact same tone of voice and inflection every time!).
However, it is a very good example of the power of a strong and consistent theme.
I am very privileged at this stage to be working across all of The Press Garage’s accounts, offering an exciting variety of campaign styles and business objectives.
One of the most valuable lessons that Deana has taught me so far is that for every activity, you need to find what is ‘newsworthy’.
Writing a press release is not just a summary of recent happenings. You need to find a hook, strong quotes and a newsworthy reason that a journalist will be inspired to angle a story about it.
That sounds pretty obvious, but when applied to certain businesses that might not necessarily have headline making newsworthiness, it is about creating this hook for them by offering creative, clever and interesting ideas to employ into their marketing activities.
Two recent examples of themes that we have created for some of our fabulous clients was our ‘Message in a Mason’ campaign for The Chelsea Bistro, celebrating their new menu, new chef and new take on French Cuisine.
Secondly, is our corporate film that we are currently working on for Bouquet Boutique, based on the concept that ‘Floristry is a Feeling’and how fresh flowers in a corporate space can evoke emotions and transport people to a different time and place.
Working with these two strong themes, not only offers a clear and impactful message to send to media or prospective clients (in my opinion anyway) it also helped me learn more about these business that I was working with by summarising their style, personality and business philosophy in a creative way.
3. He’s just not that into you
The golden statement! Yes, there is now a movie solely dedicated to this whole concept – a guy, simply might not be that into you!
But, like many trends, its conception was in SATC, in the scene when Burger explained to Miranda that her recent date was not calling her back, because he was just not that into her!
I think there is a significant lesson to be learnt here, about liaising with media, corporate clients or consumers. It doesn’t matter how fabulous that press release is, how impactful that PR stunt may be or how many bells and whistles you add into a press pack… sometimes, the contact receiving the news might not be that into you (or ‘it’)!
Rather then wasting time and energy on chasing a journalist who is clearly fielding your calls, or pushing a client’s offerings onto a corporation that will never make a budget for what you are selling, it has become clear to me that investing and nurturing fewer but more engaged opportunities, in the end has the better result.
Again… that may sound obvious to you PR gurus… but please remember I am still learning and mentally high five myself when I work these things out.
4. Stay true to who you are.
Miranda always fought against the working mother stereotype, Charlotte never gave up on her quest for true love, Samantha continued to wear her sexuality on her sleeve no matter what anyone said, and Carrie, well she stayed so authentically Carrie through all the heartache, life challenges and Manolo Blanik purchases.
Now working in an agency that is still young, yet with a strong, signature brand and philosophy, SATC reminds me that in the competitive, vibrant and ever changing public relations, marketing and communications space, staying true to who you are as a brand, and not losing your voice will put you ahead of the rest.
Taking on challenges, working through objectives, increasing our following and working with new clients can never occur at the expense of ‘The Press Garage’ message.
I will continue to study the endless PR and marketing resources available to further my development in my role here at Press…but, lets face it… a night in with Carrie Bradshaw and the gals is a little more appealing then cozying up with a PR Daily article, isn’t it?
– Alexandra Codd