Tag Archives: creativity

Tools a PR pro can’t live without – a Franco perspective

A PR pro’s job can be hectic and fast paced. Working in this industry, we have to learn and master many tools of the trade to do our job effectively.

In this case, my definition of a tool is anything and everything I use to get the job done, from my notepad and pen to my car and cell phone.

You might be surprised to learn that some of a PR pro’s most important tools can be found in the junk drawer at home. For example, I might use a pair of scissors to cut the hardcopy of a story about Arbor Hospice (client) out of the pages of the Detroit News and I’ll probably reach for a glue stick next to adhere the story and masthead to a piece of white paper, completing the clip. A little old-fashioned with the internet but it’s important because stories aren’t always posted on the web and not all papers have a digital edition.

Some of the more unique tools PR pros use includes media monitoring services such as News Power Online and Critical Mention. Subscribing to these services allows us Franconians to monitor TV, radio, print and digital media from across the globe for mentions of our clients. Not only do these services keep an eye on media near and far they also allow us to pinpoint, clip and download audio and video copies to save in our files or share with clients. This tool comes in handy when a client is mentioned by an out of market media outlet or a client requests a copy of a specific segment.

When I asked a few of my Franco colleagues what tools they can’t live without and this is what they had to say:

For Vice President Tina Sullivan, it’s her tasks list in Microsoft Outlook. “My schedule is constantly changing and having a dynamic task list allows me to move dates and tasks around as often as necessary. Being able to update on the fly keeps me on top of my everyday to-do’s.”

Account Executive Andrea Kenski relies on her iPhone and the Evernote app to help stay organized. “This free app has saved my life when it comes to remembering things, but what I like most is that it saves documents, ideas and images across my electronic devices, including my iPhone, iPad and computer.”

There are still more tools vital to the completion of our day-to-day tasks, such as a rolodex (I know, it’s old fashioned), dictionary and thesaurus, email and even Facebook and Twitter for monitoring current trends and connecting with audiences. But a PR pro’s most important tool comes from within. Creativity is what drives progress and innovation in our line of work. By opening our minds to new ideas and opportunities, we are able to develop and implement strategies that break the mold.

On a side note, I thought this discussion warranted an honorable mention for the office coffee maker. Many of us would be lost without our morning cup of Joe.

What are some tools that you couldn’t live without?

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com. Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.

Brainstorming Franco Style: Creativity, Collaboration and Candy

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/ruimtevolk

Coming up with a great idea – it’s harder than it sounds. On your own, the process can seem impossible. Your past experiences and background may keep you from thinking outside the box. But surrounded by creative and seasoned PR pros, the next great idea is just a brainstorm away.

Great ideas have the power to move our region forward. We need creative ideas to help solve problems, overcome challenges and move beyond the status quo. A great idea can be the difference between a successful PR campaign and one that fails to move the needle. And, that great idea is never out of reach, as long as the idea is fueled by creativity and initiative.

Clients often look to us to help brainstorm new ideas for product launches, strategies and media opportunities. Prior to joining Franco, I was usually brainstorming alone as the sole PR person in my office. At Franco, the brainstorming process is much more effective because we put collective experience and creative minds together.

Here are a few tips for brainstorming, Franco Style:

  • Explain the need and your goals thoroughly. Brainstorming ideas without a goal in mind will only spin your wheels. Remember to explain the issues, challenges and exactly what needs to be accomplished.
  • Open up the brainstorm to team members who aren’t involved in the project. Others within your organization may have better ideas because they’re not as entrenched in the process.
  • Give everyone the chance to be heard. Include interns as well as senior management in the process, and be sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute ideas. Sometimes an intern or office manager may have the winning idea!
  • Provide an incentive to participate. Can you provide a tasty snack? A round of Starbucks? Candy and caffeine can work wonders. Think of an incentive you can provide to encourage active participation.

At Franco, no idea is a bad idea. Some ideas may not be used because of resources or timing, but we all participate in brainstorming because we care about the success of all of our clients and because all ideas are encouraged.

Do you have any additional brainstorming tips? Is there anything you would add to this list?

Rebekah Johnson is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5016 or johnson@franco.com. Follower her on Twitter at @rebekahrjohnson.