Porter Novelli

“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself” – Andrew Webster

Welcome to PNDC!What do you mean you’ll send me to another office for 4-6 weeks? That was my first thought after I was introduced to the Discovery + Development program. After envisioning myself sending pitches from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro (shout to our Rio team!), I thought “what would I want out of an experience like this?”

The old days of pitch and place are gone. Today, our job means thinking beyond just media relations and considering the larger marketing space. Basically, if you haven’t heard, the way of public relations is changing…. Edward Bernays should’ve prepared me for that.

Given this shift, my plan for D.C. became clear. As a hub for the new PN offerings and services, PNDC gave me the chance to see how this integration was coming to life. Here’s what I walked away with.

“Do well by doing good” – Porter Novelli

Heritage matters. PN was built on Social Impact. You take the same principles we’d use to market a product and apply that to market a behavior change that benefits society. Using PR to do good? I see that “spin doctor” stereotype becoming a distant memory thanks to the incomparable Rosy McGillan who’s leading this practice. I can really get onboard with this “PR with purpose” idea.

INSIDER’S TIP: I hear more information about Social Impact is coming our way this year!

“Great content is the stuff of love affairs.” – Tom Webster, Edison Research

We’re in the content business now; any platform is fair game. Our job is to come up with great ideas, with the help of our creative friends at Jack’s Garage, and then determine how best to support it. It’s a new way of thinking and approaching PR, but you know what they say: Practice makes perfect.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some clients are still all about the media impressions. So, just stay calm and PR on. And keep your eyes open for opportunities.

“PN AMP is the gateway drug to all other PN offerings” – Anthony LaFauce, PN AMP

This is perhaps my favorite bit of insight from the D.C. crew (thanks Anthony LaFauce!). PN AMP is our in-house paid media team. A PR agency doing paid is a novel concept, but we’re not talking $70 million campaigns or being named advertising AOR for clients. It’s about providing insights-driven paid opportunities to help AMPLIFY an idea/program. It goes back to the idea about great content and finding ways to support that.

FUN FACT: Where did the name PN AMP come from? AMP is short for amplification. I know, my mind was blown too.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

If I had to drill down to one main point about SPAR it’s that they make us look good. Thanks to them we can get smart quickly and avoid relying on buzz words that everyone’s tired of hearing and don’t really mean anything anyway. Carrie, Justin, Becca, Emilie and the rest of the SPAR’ers out there: You rock!

INSIDER’S TIP: You can get some great insights thanks to some of their FREE research reports …SHHHHHH!

“Not with a fizzle, but with a bang” – Emma Stone, “Easy A”

Beyond my crash course in integration, I experienced some pretty awesome moments in D.C.: Managing Director Jennifer Swint named North American President, new COO Nick Propper drops in and St. Patrick’s Day (I’m not elaborating on that). Through it all, one lesson rose to the top: We’re all here to help each other and shouldn’t let geography keep us from connecting.

So what’s next? Well, PN in Southern California is privileged to have Daphne Martin from the Brussels team here for her Discovery + Development (shout out to Brussels!). This program has tremendous value whether you’re the one traveling or the one hosting. And if nothing else, it’s a great excuse to throw an office party! PNDC was great at office parties…in a totally responsible and respectful way Brad!

You can check out more moments from my DC visit here. Keep calm and PR on my friends!