With 27 offices and more than 300 employees worldwide, Allison+Partners is a global marketing and communications agency driven by a collaborative approach to innovation and creativity that provides services for an impressive client roster including Dannon, Samsung, Toyota, Seventh Generation, Progressive Insurance, IKEA and PepsiCo, to name a few.
Senior Vice President of Measurement+Analytics at Allison+Partners, Brent Diggins, gave us the low-down on his start in the public relations industry, the best lesson he’s learned as a PR pro and more for the third installment of the PR professionals series.
How did you get your start in the industry?
It’s been a long and winding road, but the consistent has been hard work and perseverance. I worked in my university’s marketing and communications department as an intern while going through school, which allowed me to gain valuable experience I could parlay into my first job at a small agency. From there, I started my own small company that I kept for five years, moved into an integrated marketing agency, and then to a global agency. I learned many things at each stop, which has been invaluable, as those different settings presented new challenges, perspectives and learning opportunities.
Do you have any advice for new public relations professionals?
Look to learn and work on decision-making and understanding business as greater than PR or marketing. Critical thinking and the ability to make sound decisions that may go beyond just the communications function is imperative. More practically, take advantage of any and all learning opportunities either through continued education or mentorship. Of course, do your best work and put your best foot forward at all times.
Is there a campaign or project that you are particularly proud of?
From a client service lens, working with the Navajo Code Talkers, who were imperative in changing the shape of World War II, was very inspiring. When they were children, they had their mouths washed out with soap for speaking their native Navajo language, but then they were called upon by their country to use that same language to win a war. Through it all, they did it with nobleness and bravery. I have many fond experiences working with them, including bringing them to New York for the first time to be recognized in the Veteran’s Day Parade.
From a business perspective, it has been helping to build multiple things at Allison+Partners including an office and a global Research and Measurement practice. What’s the best lesson you’ve learned so far as a PR pro?
The best lesson is that being a leader at all phases from intern to executive will get you places. Taking initiative, taking chances, learning each step of the way and viewing things in new ways is, while challenging, also fun and rewarding.
What emerging trends are you seeing within the PR/Comms space?
There are many, but it all ties largely to one trend—the rapid pace of change. Fundamentally, I believe that the profession is as important as ever, but needs to evolve more than ever as technology, organizational structure, and most importantly, people, are changing at a consistent, rapid pace. This consistent change will not subside so things like consistent and continued learning, differentiated hiring, specialized skillsets and strong, quick decision making will have to become normalized. Of course, I would be remiss not to say that data, research, measurement and analytics will have a fundamental role in this evolution and the agency of the future.