This week we get serious. Joining the NE comms conversation this time round is Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Kari Owers, from award-winning agency OPR.
I’ve long admired Kari and the work produced by OPR who in my opinion really set the agency standard here in the North East. Kari’s story is an inspirational one (check it out here) so I was really pleased to get the opportunity to work with her and her team on a tourism project when I was at Northumberland.
She provides her dose of fantastic advice in the 15th part of our series. If you’re studying PR or looking to break into it, this one is a must-read.
What are the key traits people in PR need to succeed?
Thick skin. Open mind. Integrity.
How have things changed in the last 5 years?
PR is so much more exciting. We have so many more channels to drive coverage thanks to the online explosion, and we can tell stories in written, visual or moving media. Plus we can now use owned assets to reach our clients’ customers directly or reach out to influencers like bloggers with huge reach and power.
Are you optimistic about the future?
What made you get into the PR/comms business?
A love of writing (come from a family of journos) and the desire to always do something new at work each day. I fell into PR and loved it from day one.
What single bit of advice would you give graduates just entering the business?
If you haven’t got a wide range if different work experience already, why not?
Are disciplines like PR, marketing and advertising becoming the same thing?
No, the skills for each have taken a long time to master and can’t just be blended into one big grey area. But the lines between paid, owned and earned media have become blurred so we need to get round the same table and be even more collaborative.
Is the industry becoming more or less fragmented?
More I think. It must be a minefield for businesses looking for an agency. PR, advertising, design, SEO, media, digital… I’d always suggest start by having a conversation with an experienced PR, we can start you off in really understanding your message which is the key to everything.
For you, what’s the real benefit of good PR/comms?
Impact in the right places. Whatever or wherever they may be. Could be more sales or influencing a social movement – as long as you know what you’re aiming for as you begin, good quality PR will impact it.
What advice would you give the younger you?
Don’t listen to the 40 year old you – unless they are reminding you to watch your manners.
What do you see as the most important issues in PR right now?
The importance of the PR at the boardroom table. Still we often remain misunderstood by decision makers.
What worries you about the industry?
I think less about our own industry and more about clients’ sectors; their trends and opportunities – being ‘the business behind the business’ focuses the mind on them, not us.
What ‘s the best thing about living/working in the North East?
Cities with personality. Beaches and countryside with history. People with gusto.
What do you see as the next big thing?
I find the fact my young daughter is learning to code quite exciting for the future.
Who will play you when they get round to making the biopic of your life?
I can’t think of anything less likely.
What’s your favourite film?
Whatever my kids are watching with me.
What keeps you up at night?
Too much really strong, good coffee.