We (PR and marketing pros) have the freedom to create our own unique vision for success. As we pursue our individual careers, there’s a good chance we’ll have some big highlights to reflect upon when we reach retirement age. On the other hand, there may be seasons where we feel stuck or uninspired, when direction is murky and movement is limited.
While we are creating our career paths, we’re also likely to run into stiff competition. For every driven and highly accomplished professional in PR and marketing, it seems like there are 100 others with similar accolades. It can be challenging to reflect that sparkle that makes leaders stand out from the crowd. This can be intimidating and frustrating – whether applying for a new job, a promotion, or trying to win a client.
So, how do you stand out as a PR or marketing professional? How can you become more valuable to your employer?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a neatly packaged to-do list that will answer these challenging questions. However, at Catapult, we would argue that there are two things we’ve seen work in our business endeavors that also translate to individual success. By (one) becoming more strategic and (two) owning company messaging, you can elevate yourself above the competition and speak in a way that resonates with the biggest decision makers and most influential people in the organization. This may not only benefit your career, but it could help focus your company’s vision and play a key role in its offering to the industry. Imagine leaving that kind of legacy at your company.
Look at Messaging through a Strategic Lens
Think about the person or team who owns the messaging strategy at your company. We’re not talking about the mission statement or company values here – which is usually inward thinking and self-focused. What we’re referring to is the bigger industry message that the organization aligns with. Sure, there may be branding departments, marketing teams and communication professionals who are all focused on “messaging” and consistency – but who is responsible for creating the overall umbrella message that the company represents? From our experience in helping organizations find their messaging, we’ve discovered that it’s often unclear.
Because of this uncertainty, there is a unique opportunity for marketing and PR professionals to step up and own the corporate positioning and messaging that is the heart and soul of the company. We have the knowledge, experience and background that is ideal for uncovering the silver thread that connects the company’s disparate pieces, giving it meaning and purpose. What if a few of us were bold enough to take this on?
To do this successfully, we need to be more strategic and uncover our organization’s vision and unique contribution to the industry, rather than continuing to focus on its “leading products and services.” This is often challenging, especially at large, more complex organizations. The simple answer is to aim high and focus on the industry, rather than the company itself.
What are the megatrends shaping the industry, the misperceptions and perceptions, and the challenges and opportunities? What is the bigger umbrella message (category or framework) that defines all of these things. If you can identify that – you’ve found the sweet spot and can build a Strategic Narrative that will drive endless streams of content, marketing materials, and a unique industry message that industry influencers will praise as something that is finally different.
Although we each choose our own unique career path that is full of ups and downs, perhaps we can all see the value in becoming more strategic and applying that to our work. Whether you are looking for vertical advancement or you’re simply trying to find new meaning in your career – consider becoming a messaging expert. With the right approach, you’ll catch the attention of the executive team and become the driving force behind your company’s unique position at the forefront of its industry.