Gaining a Fresh Perspective

by Kerry Martin

As a PR agency, we provide the benefit of helping our clients with their communication challenges by bringing an outside perspective to the table.  But for our client the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, with which we’ve held a 16-year relationship, we realized that our point-of-view was a lot more internalized than before.

In its mission to grow high tech industry throughout the 23-county region, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council maintains a wide partner network of economic development organizations, high tech industries and others that volunteer to promote the region and pursue other collaborations.  The chair of the Council’s marketing committee had the idea of getting a fresh take on its efforts by working with a graduate communications class at the University of South Florida to study the Council and propose new marketing strategies.

Through a semester-long exchange of information, our team provided the students with strategic plans and online metrics for Web and social media, we answered their questions about the organization’s structure and past programs, and we sent out two surveys to our audiences that the two teams of students had developed.

All their work culminated in a presentation this week that we had the opportunity to view through a Web conference.  To them, it was about a class assignment, but for us, it was about a fresh perspective.

Their suggestions on possible tweaks to the branding, enhancements to the social media strategy and updates to the communication channels were all insightful, and I can see us adopting a few of their recommended tactics.  The exercise also helped us understand how some of our publics may view the organization, giving us the outside perspective that we needed.

While having a class examine your public relations strategy perhaps won’t be feasible for every client, finding a way to take a step back and look at your organization through a different lens is a good practice that every practitioner should do.

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