Erin Allsman, APR, is vice president, public relations and social media director at Brownstein Group, Philadelphia’s oldest independent advertising and PR firm. Her responsibilities include department management, strategic planning for both the agency and clients, resource planning and staff development and new business. In her 7+ years at BG, she has worked on dozens of notable clients, including IKEA, Saint-Gobain, Independence Blue Cross, K12, Universal Technical Institute, Campus Apartments and the Philadelphia Auto Show.
What do you anticipate happening in your field that will bring growth to your market in the next six months?
“As the market recovers and companies are feeling more financially stable, there are increased resources put toward communications and marketing. At Brownstein Group we focus on a few key industries – banking/financial services, architecture/construction/development, education and retail, and we’re seeing an uptick in activity across all of those markets. Beyond that, the rise of the “citizen journalist” and the societal push for improved corporate transparency and accountability has made the public relations role more important than ever. Organizations are taking a more proactive approach to communications, publishing their own content on a variety of platforms and managing their reputation both online and in the traditional news media.”
When hiring for your company, what do you look for in an employee?
“I’m looking for three things: poise, process and a point of view. The candidate needs to be able to articulate his or her story succinctly and with confidence, because that will give me a hint as to how successful he or she may be when communicating our clients’ stories. They must demonstrate an understanding of the communications field, the process of public relations and the way in which agencies and clients work together, and be able to point to specific examples of success in such skills as media relations, strategic communications planning, crisis management, social media campaign execution and client/stakeholder relationship management. I look for leadership and problem-solving capabilities, someone who doesn’t accept a situation as is but always finds ways to improve. But perhaps most importantly, I look for people who have a point of view – on their own career goals and expectations, in the PR industry, and on the news taking place in broader business, economic, political and cultural landscape.”
What advice would you give to someone entering into your field?
“Read. Write. Repeat. There’s a perception out there that public relations is all about glamorous parties and red carpets, but that’s not reality. We deal with a lot of complex issues, crisis situations and business challenges. Someone entering the field should expect a fast-paced environment with demanding deadlines, the need for strong research and writing skills, good time management and the ability to not only multi-task but multi-manage – people, content, projects and processes.”
Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.