Adam Ritchie, Principal, Adam Ritchie Brand Direction
Adam Ritchie owns Adam Ritchie Brand Direction and is Bulldog Reporter’s Gold winner for Public Relations Professional of the Year.
Length of PR career (so far): 15 years
Your most memorable campaign: We invented the world’s first album on a beer can. We followed it up by transforming a diverse group of women into a team of pregnant comic book superheroes. Then we turned social insiders into inspired menu items.
Most poignant professional moment: Seeing someone I mentored handle a situation with skill and confirm I’d done my job.
Favorite journalist to work with: We all have them but we can never name them, because who wants to be a PR pro's favorite journalist? My favorite journalist is anyone who gets back to me within five minutes of a pitch or gives me a yes/no on an exclusive offer the same day.
Number of 2 a.m. calls from a client this month: None, but I never get to bed before 3 a.m., so I’d be up for it.
Biggest complaint about social media: Every platform is rolling out a Story feature, which encourages overuse, lowers the bar for quality and evaporates on impact.
Last time you didn’t do any work all weekend: 1980 - 1986
Most misunderstood thing about PR: People think of PR as an organization’s mouthpiece instead of an engine that can drive what the organization does. They see it as a surface layer and underestimate its ability to create.
Most outrageous client request: One time a client asked for a 45% discount on a PR program which was already competitively priced. We explained the value of the program, they recognized it and the program tripled their media results that year.
What got you interested in a PR career? It sounded like a profession which combined writing with production, business with creativity and offered a possibility of doing your own thing. It’s delivered on all of that.
Most interesting thing about your job: Looking at the world like a television series and getting to write a character for it in the shape of your client. Realizing the only limit to what you can create is your own imagination and ability to attract collaborators willing to hear you out. It’s the art of it. I'm more interested in this work today than I was 15 years ago.
Your nightmare client in 3 words: Short-term thinking.
Rate your math skills from 1-10: 3.14159265359
Best advice to a PR student: Surround yourself with PR badasses, not PR dumbasses. Go to work for people who are the absolute best at what they do. Your first job is a paid master's degree if you land at the right place with the right talent.
What do you read daily? I get client and client industry news through carefully-built Google News strings run into Feedly which I read in bed and throughout the day while they crawl across a NewsBar ticker on the left side of my monitor. I get daily blasts from every marketing communications trade outlet into a special inbox and read them on the subway to and from the office. I listen to the Adweek podcast, the PRWeek podcast and the Holmes Report podcast while I fold my laundry.
Favorite way to de-stress: Getting to inbox zero at the end of each day.
The moment you realized PR is more fun than you thought it would be: When my first agency handed me a phone and told me to get a client on the Today Show my first day on the job.
Brand that does the best PR: Cards Against Humanity.
Brand most in need of better PR: The male gender.
Favorite non-work activities: I play in a band and have a beagle who comes to the office with me every day. We play fetch on the Common before and after work.
Last book you read: APR Study Guide, Fourth Edition
Cocktail of choice: Scotch and soda, Johnnie Black
Your first “real” job: Assistant Account Executive at Cone Communications
Childhood “dream job”: Paleontologist
Three people you’d love to invite to dinner: I wouldn't ask them to dinner because I don’t like imposing on people. But three people I admire are masters of their craft who never grew complacent, never coasted on reputation and whose work only got more experimental as they moved through time: Frank Lloyd Wright, Jeff Beck and Carol Cone.
Your next big adventure: I’m giving a series of talks called Invention in PR, and this year it’s on track to hit its goal of 50 schools. Next year, I’d like to take myself back to school by serving on a Cannes Lions jury.
Your ideal Saturday: Not setting an alarm, having nowhere to be and nobody to be accountable to, thinking of a piece of music or a campaign, and working on it until I haven’t noticed it’s dark outside.