By Sierra Goodman
In the SOJC, it is common for public relations majors, such as myself, to minor in business. I regularly apply concepts from PR and business to my classes and clubs such as IR Futures. Understanding business is beneficial not only for a career in financial communications but in all sectors of PR. Here is why:
Better serve your clients
Whether you work for an agency or in-house, your knowledge of business will allow you to understand your client’s business model faster eliminating a learning curve with concepts such as stock history and return of investment (ROI). It will be easier to communicate and simplify what your client or employer is trying to say to their audience if you have insight to the business side as well.
Pursue Investor Relations
Investor relations is a lucrative PR position and requires a strong understanding of the financial sector of business. Investor relations involves communicating an organization’s value directly to current and potential shareholders. This requires literacy of stock markets such as the NYSE, NASDAQ, Dow Jones, etc. A company’s stock value is a reflection of the shareholder and public view of the company. It is a PR professional’s job to find out why your client’s stock goes up or down and convey this information accurately to shareholders.
Expand Your Marketing Toolbox
Public relations is one of many business marketing tools. Other tools include digital marketing, social media, advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). Strong knowledge of marketing can help you advocate the reason why a client should use PR as a marketing tool opposed to another option.
It is helpful to understand your client’s target audience in both quantitative and qualitative factors. For instance your client may have a young audience of skateboarders and snowboarders (qualitative) and have 70% of that demographic in the Portland area (quantitative). The ability to find out these details will help you produce better results for your client.
A business mindset will help you gain credibility in a public relations role. The ability to argue a case from a business perspective is a valuable asset to employers. A business degree is not the only way to gain knowledge. Chapter president, Lily Gordon, takes online business classes through Lynda.com and communications director, Talia Smith, listens to business podcasts.
By Talia Smith
I’m going to be honest; I’m a total Podcast geek. But can you blame me? Podcasts are revolutionizing the way we consume information. First of all, they’re free. There are thousands of Podcasts to listen to in just about every category and they can be download directly to your smartphone. Second of all, they’re great for multitasking. Podcasts are perfect for anyone looking to learn more about any given topic but lacking enough hours in the day to read a magazine or a newspaper. You can learn something new from a Podcast while simultaneously cleaning your room, exercising, riding the bus or walking across campus to your next class. Personally, I love to learn more about the world of business through Podcasts.
It’s no secret that PR professionals need a business mindset in order to succeed in the industry. In fact, many PR majors start out as business majors and many PR majors choose to minor in business. I don’t fall into either of those scenarios, which is why I use Podcasts to learn more about the related field. For those like me, who want to know more about business, but don’t have the time to pick up Bloomberg Business Week, head to your Podcast or Stitcher app and subscribe to these 4 shows:
Freakonomics will help you rethink the dreaded economics requirement in the SOJC curriculum. The show uses economics to answer quirky sociological questions such as: Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them? How Much Does Your Name Matter? And Why Do We Really Follow the News?
Freakonomics is a must-listen for PR pros because of its array of topics and self-improvement episodes which provide a window into the study of incentives backed up with economic statistics. When you have a better idea of what makes people tick, then you can be successful at selling yourself and a brand you may represent. Many of the findings are surprising which why it is the kind of show you can’t help but share with others.
Listen to Episode: How to be More Productive
Learn about the eight steps to a more productive work day. Here’s a hint: motivation, focus, goal-setting, decision making, innovation, absorbing data, managing others and teams. Check out this episode for more context.
If you like the TV show Shark Tank, and are interested in how modest people grow successful companies from the ground up, then you will like How I Built This. You will hear interviews from millionaires and billionaires talking about how they overcame obstacles and filled a gap in the market with brands such as Patagonia, AirBnB, Spanx, Cliff Bar, and Southwest Airlines. These entrepreneurs became successful because they were able to effectively promote themselves and their products. Listening to their advice will offer insight into promoting a brand, starting a business and the tenacity required to do so. It is helpful to learn about the homemade PR that goes into the success of these companies.
Listen to Episode: Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal
The founders of this discount glasses company used their PR skills to barter with their supplier for inventory. You’ll see how it pays off to be skillful at both business and PR.
Planet Money offers a powerful punch of all things pop-culture in the business world in just 15-20 minutes. Listening every week is a great way to stay on top of business news headlines while learning something new and interesting each time. Since I started listening, I feel more in-tune to major business news stories such as Brexit, the Wells Fargo bank scandal and oil prices which I might not have paid as much attention to if it weren’t for the podcast’s excellent storytelling. Planet Money has the ability to take these topics and create a capitating and informative audio story.
Listen to Episode: #729: When Subaru Came Out
Subaru was facing an identity crisis back in the early 1990s and it wasn’t until they received help from a small ad agency that the car company was able to subliminally become the America’s hip and outdoorsy car brand.
Marketplace is a daily rundown of everything that is happening with the economy and stock market. Sounds boring, but I promise it is not convoluted. Hint: When they “run the numbers,” upbeat background music indicates the stock market is doing well whereas background music in a minor key means stock prices have dropped. Especially when working for a larger company, it is important to know the basic concepts about how the stock market functions.
Listen to Episode: You know what, just download the latest episode. Listening to marketplace is like listening to the news and you’ll want to listen to the most recent one.
If you’re looking to know more about the business world than listening to these podcasts is a convenient way to stay on top of current events and business trends. Public Relations and business go hand-in-hand and you will benefit from being knowledgeable about both. Next time you are washing your dishes, pop on a Podcast and see what you can learn about business.