You always hear how important networking within your field is to finding a group of peers and mentors that can share experiences and best practices. The Fearey Group is lucky to get in-person access to more than 50 other independent agencies every year as a member of the Public Relations Global Network.
PRGN, heading into its 25th year in existence, is a group of 50 independent public relations firms on six continents that are dedicated to finding ways to partner together and be the local agency for our clients around the world.
The group meets twice a year in a city with a PRGN member. This year’s spring meeting was hosted by Three Box Strategic Communications in Dallas, Texas and I was lucky to attend with Aaron Blank (Fearey’s president and CEO) to represent the agency.
Over three days, the group discussed industry best practices, ways to continue collaboration and what we should all be doing to push ourselves into the forefront of communications for ourselves and our clients.
I found great value in these conversations, but as with many conferences the extra value came outside the meeting room at meals and during downtime. With 50 plus agencies all together it’s easy to say there were 1,000+ takeaways from our discussions, but here are my top four.
- Communications continues to become more integrated around the world – The unique problems of a shrinking traditional media market is not just something that’s unique to the United States. Colleagues indicated that media is shrinking and changing all over the world. For companies and organizations trying to get your message to key audiences, this means you will need to continue to integrate your communication across traditional public relations, marketing and social media to ensure you own your content and make it to your key audience.
- Despite different cultures, we share many of the same challenges – The day-to-day life in communications can present many challenges, some that we think are just our own or unique to our local market. But the more you talk to others about the challenges you are currently facing, the more you realize how common those challenges are around the world.
- Find a mentor outside your organization – It’s always great to have someone in the office that you can turn to when you need advice, but building a network outside the office is just as important. I was lucky enough to get to pick the brains of some of the smartest PR minds in the world, without leaving our hotel. It was a knowledge share opportunity that I can’t wait to continue online until the next time we are together.
- It all comes down to relationships – At Fearey, we’re committed to developing relationships one conversation at a time. While that on its face can seem difficult or time consuming, it ends up being one of the greatest ways to build a group of business associates, industry partners and friends. A simple conversation about differences in food or local customs turns into long discussions about politics and the future of communications around the world, which in turn creates bonds and friendships that will continue well beyond the next time we meet in person.
Reflecting back on PRGN in Dallas, I realized that at different times I was networking, learning and building relationships with individuals from all over North America (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit, Cleveland, New York City (x2), Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Toronto, Nashville, Raleigh), Europe (UK, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Romania, Italy, France), Africa (South Africa), the Middle East and Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan) all without leaving a hotel conference room.
It’s always in these moments that I realize the unique position communicators are in to help our clients be successful. While we’re not perfect, we always strive to build our relationships in a way that allows us to make a big difference for our clients so they can achieve their communications and business goals. I know that at The Fearey Group, we are only strengthened in that resolve by all the business support and friendships we get from our partners at PRGN. So if you’re a company that’s looking for local help in markets all around the world, let me introduce you to your local agency with an international reach.