Interview with Data Makashvili Head of PR and Marketing department – LEPL Enterprise Georgia:
Why did you decide to enter this field, and what kind of opportunities does this profession give you?
I said yes to an opportunity which was completely new to me—I moved from sales and marketing. I was used to a very different professional algorithm, but it appeared to be a lot of fun, and I enjoy doing it more than I expected. Regarding benefits, it is perfect for broadening my network and learning about new angles of public communication.
What is it necessary to hold successful communication with the public?
Public relations in a governmental institution like Enterprise Georgia is very peculiar and specific to the field. The main philosophy of work here is to clearly communicate with taxpayers what the agency is doing and how their taxes are spent, which is quite challenging, but exciting at the same time. Our target audience is every citizen, thus communication, which is usually about business, has to be engaging enough for a businessperson and understandable enough for a farmer.
What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
If you are about to join the PR office of a governmental institution, then remember: 1. Journalists are your best friends. 2. The TV is your favorite device. 3. Social networks are your home. At least make sure that these do not annoy you.
What do you wish you knew before starting your career in PR?
There are many different things I wish I knew before starting to work at EG, but most of them are very particular. Generally, I think every person has PR acumen at some level, and that is much more important here than education or training. However, a good knowledge of the media environment is vital, and that is what I wish I knew better.
Describe a typical work week.
I’ve been working at EG for just two months, and it’s hard to see patterns. Right now, we are going through re-branding, developing two web pages and drafting several new projects. So, there is no typical work at EG so far. I hope it stays like this – diversity of tasks is important to me.
How do you go about finding relevant contacts and sources?
My best sources of networking are LinkedIn and Facebook. We usually directly communicate with journalists and other stakeholders through Facebook, which saves a lot of time and energy.
How would you prioritize and start your work day?
When I arrive at work, the first thing I usually do is to check the to-do list from yesterday and write one for today. Then I take care of one easiest task, to make sure that the day starts with a win, and then I go for morning tea or coffee.
What are the skills a Public Relations Specialist needs?
It’s all about network and communication at first, but then you need a strategic vision and the ability to sense what’s going on around your organization, which I believe can be organic but also comes with experience.
What trait do you value the most in your co-workers?
Being genuine and honest. That is all I ask for.
What is the best PR practice that technology can’t change?
For an organization like us, it’s crucial to communicate not only the right message in the right way, but also using the right person. For example, when a random citizen is watching an interview with a governmental representative, the first thing they evaluate subconsciously is the trustworthiness and relevance of the person, because in fact, a taxpayer is an employer of the government.
What are some growing trends in the public relations industry?
Minimalism and simplicity are obvious trends in communication. Because the information around us is becoming overwhelming; we have to be very time- and energy-efficient when communicating with the public.