It’s strategic planning time! PR prepares to pivot into 2018

by | Oct 17, 2017 | Analysis, Public Relations

In the client management business and strategic communications industry, Q4 is the exciting time that marketing attention exponentially shifts ahead toward a focus on the coming year.

Issues at the forefront of planning include a study of both core and vertical strengths to promote and explore, in tandem with the ongoing pursuit of organizational alignment at all levels.

Many companies evaluate what did and did not work over the past 9 to 18 months, with a keen eye to new hires that include smart, connected and highly performing individuals.

While professional titles continue to evolve, this multi-hyphenate skill set is known as Chief Marketing Officer—and oftentimes the agency must fill this role in absence of a client-side counterpart.

As outlined in Harvard Business Review, marketing has become a profit center where creating value and growth for clients are the most important measurable elements. As we enter this new era of digital transformation, new and ever-evolving roles are materializing and with more choices and higher expectations than ever before, various types of CMOs are emerging.

Strategic leadership

Diving deeper into the numerous functions of CMOs, HBR highlights four. Whether those that are promoted into new roles, given broader responsibilities, lose authority and influence or pushed out altogether, each organization will need to successfully manage a pivot to succeed.

Korn Ferry stresses the four dimensions of leadership and talent crucial to the alignment of an organization. In short, driving and implementing a strategically aligned talent management system is something that places the right people in the right roles within an organization. The challenge to keep employees engaged in order to embrace and face the trial of ‘pivoting’ could be better embraced and tackled with this system.

Preparing to pivot

Pivoting, a term that gained currency in the tech startup world, now meets its equivalent popularity within the marketing realm, as brands, talent, businesses and organizations utilize its seamless, rapid shift into the performative and profitable.

As Forbes underscores, an organizations ability to ‘pivot’ is invaluable and can be applied to any element of the business model, as long as it does not drastically alter its core values. The key to a successful pivot is spotting trends via real market experience by keeping a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the marketplace.

Change is a PR cornerstone

In PR, change is always embraced as a valuable asset. We encourage clients to respond and behave nimbly, within agreed upon strategic and creative parameters, to grow their business while effectively telling their story.

As both Cleverism and Entrepreneur​​​​​​ attest, a stealth communications and marketing team can work wonders; motivating the client to respond in kind. Bulldog Reporter has recently underscored this concept as well. It is clear that given the current digital environment, the role of these PR and marketing teams must evolve in tandem. By empowering tomorrow’s CMO today, it is certain that these “brand-keeper” roles will continue to develop.

Pivoting into 2018 is what the best agencies can do to guide their clients, prospects and professional network into a new year. It goes without saying that media contacts will abide. It is imperative to remember that pivoting does not mean danger but instead think of it as a mean to discover untapped and unrealized growth.

Having closely studied, evaluated, measured and learned from the many communication failures and lost opportunities to positively engage in change management witnessed throughout 2017, let’s together engage as the PR industry on a higher level, to provide quality and substance in the coming year.

Courtney Lukitsch
Courtney Lukitsch is Founder and Principal at Gotham PR, with offices in in New York and London.


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