Interview with the Head of Public Relations at Georgian Co-Investment Fund
Why did you decide to enter this field and what opportunities does it give in terms of career growth?
It’s widely known that Public Relations is a strategic communication process that aims to spread the information between an individual or an organization and the public. But beyond that simple definition there are numerous aspects that can lead to a mutually beneficial relationship, as it incorporates much broader theme named “Global Communications”. That’s why I chose to make BA degree in Global Communications with the minor in Social Psychology. These studies give me opportunity to identify, connect, share, relate and mobilize across geographic, political, economic, social and cultural divides, which is drastically important for my personal and professional growth.
What is it necessary to hold successful communication with public?
The first and the most important factor before initiating any kind of communication is to define the purpose what you expect, just simply asking the question: “Why do I need to communicate with the public?”. Then, comes the part where one has to identify the target audience and to implement a Communication Plan.
What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
I can’t be a right person who gives the tips about PR, as I personally don’t believe in strict margins in this field. All I can tell is that for me, Public Relations is just about mastering the art of communication, emotions, cultural intelligence, and if a person is committed to this field, then all the universe will conspire in helping him/her to achieve it.
What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?
As I can’t state only one subject matter that I would have loved to know before starting my career, I will briefly say about the importance of developing social skills before starting a career in PR. One can’t deal in this field only with theoretical know-how. But, Social skills are like any other skill. If you study and practice, you’ll develop it, as no one is born with natural charisma and sophisticated social skills.
Describe your typical work week.
Everyday, I start by organizing my work desk and making a to-do list for the day. No single day/week is like the other and that’s why this field is so interesting for me. You never know what challenge you will face or how you will deal with it.
How would you go about finding relevant contacts and sources?
Just simple and very direct ways. You need somebody’s contact information? Just ask for it. You don’t know an individual personally? Just go and make a new connection. Don’t be ashamed if you lack contacts, as people come and go, just be alert and form as many new ties as possible.
What skills does successful PR Manager need?
Public Relations is all about communications, and communication is all about storytelling. But, you can’t measure the success of a PR Manager, you can only measure the success of PR Plan. As an example, It is known that the first United States political campaign to distribute information over the internet about the political issues was the 1992 Presidential campaign. The politicians realized that the Internet was a great way to connect with their voters and citizens of the United States. In 2003, Senator Howard Dean was the first to create a blog (most relevant mean for storytelling) where people would have the opportunity to exchange their ideas with him and receive back some answers. Thus it can be said that Dean pioneered Internet-based fundraising that is based on mass appeal by promoting active “participatory democracy” among broader public.
“The Internet isn’t magic, it’s just a tool that can be used to do things differently” said Dean to demonstrate the effective differentiating power of Web 2.0. But nowadays, We don’t remember the name of the PR Manager who identified the very specific and accurate mean of storytelling, but we do know the story how he/she pioneered in internet based era and reached the super goal of his/her candidate.
On a global market, where international teams, initiatives, and joint ventures are increasingly common, it is extremely important for people to integrate themselves quickly with new cultures.
What is the best PR practice technology can’t change?
Face to face communication is the best practice that I believe can never be changed. With technology developing and AI conquering the world, the importance of face to face communication gets more vital each day. Communicating face-to-face sends a message before one makes a statement, as it incorporates eye contact, body language, emotions etc.
What are some of the growing trends in the public relations industry?
It depends on which market we are talking about, but overall the most relevant themes that can be identified are: the rapid advent and development of Artificial Intelligence, integration of social media platforms within the press release strategy, high demand in influencer marketing and the supremacy of virality within the attention economy structure.