Prior to coming to Franco, I worked in internal communications for an automotive manufacturing company. The transition from corporate communications to B2B and consumer public relations has been a huge change, and at times challenging. However, it’s rewarding learning something new and, at the end of the day, being able to see your work in action.
This year, I had the opportunity to work in “consumer-land” public relations. It was a whole new world of outdoor sports, pizza, coffee and even beer. Something I didn’t have much experience with and, frankly, I even felt guilty researching for beer on company time.
One of my first projects was promoting the grand opening of Cabela’s Chesterfield – their fourth in Michigan. As an avid outdoorsman and newly acclaimed bird dog and ruffed grouse fanatic, I was extremely excited to find out I would be cutting my teeth at the agency on a passion project. There’s something to be said about combining your out-of-work passions with your career to help enhance the experience, and let me tell you, this was exactly that.
The scope of work was mostly media relations and onsite support for the grand opening. I learned a lot about the media relations process from writing strategic press materials and pitching media to coordinating a preview event and handling media at a large-scale client event. Plus, I was able to talk about hunting and fishing during work. Bonus.
During my time at Franco, I’ve observed a few differences between B2B work and consumer clients.
Overall, the difference between B2B and consumer public relations comes down to what drives your target audience to purchase products, and how you specifically reach that audience. (Think about where or what is the appropriate channel for your audience.) Often, business-based audiences make buying decisions based on profitability, reducing costs, and overall enhancement of productivity. B2B public relations campaigns need to provide content or materials that influence the buyer in a way that rational buying decisions can be made, since you’re typically selling a service, not a product.
In general, consumers make their buying decisions based on a sense of like or want, since you’re typically selling a product or brand. Their buying decisions are a bit more emotional and less calculated.
I always say I’m lucky to work in communications because the learning is never-ending. Each day is different; one day you might be writing about cold-formed steel and the next learning the process of brewing a sour beer.
Media relations is like grouse hunting. It takes time to understand a grouse’s habits and habitat. The same is true with media relations – writing a great pitch, connecting with a specific reporter and having great coverage takes time.
As for me, the learning curve continues, both in the office practicing public relations and in the field chasing my bird dogs.
Being part of such an incredible team, with constant support and encouragement to chase your dreams is a fantastic experience. Every day I am pushed to work hard, which is helping my dreams become a reality. Loving what you do and who you do it for is an awesome experience.
What are your most impactful learning experiences? Tell us in the comments below.