Philadelphia to Seattle: A Tale of Two Agencies

Bailie Pelletier / October 16, 2019

Fifty agencies in 31 countries across six continents make up the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). Celebrating its 25th year, PRGN is a group of public relations agencies from around the world, fueled by one mission, “to combine the expertise of the finest in-market communications specialists in a very connected network capable of providing best in-class communications services around the world.”

I was a member of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) while earning my undergraduate degree at Purdue, but I had never heard of PRGN – not until the summer after graduation when I took an internship with Buchanan Public Relations (BPR) in Philadelphia, PA. The more I learned, the more I was fascinated by this web of PR pros who aim to support each other, rather than compete against one another – short of friendly rivalries, of course. As I am now a Production Assistant with The Fearey Group (Fearey), I have to think; how fortunate am I to have been able to work for not one, but two PRGN agencies? While there have been a myriad of discoveries and lessons learned along the way, I would like to shed light on the five that I deem to be the most important.

  1. No agency is the same

In an ever-evolving field like PR, this one came as no surprise to me. Different firms offer expertise in different industries. Working at both BPR and Fearey, I’ve had the chance to acquire knowledge in industries I had previously never set foot in. Similarly, different firms adopt different habits or best practices. For example, I used a certain program to track broadcast coverage at BPR, and now use a completely different program for the same purpose at Fearey. Because of this, I am well-versed with both of these programs, which will greatly help me throughout the duration of my PR career.

While these two firms operate in ways that are unique from one another, both teams are still phenomenal at what they do. These differences across the entire network can also provide an excellent source for collaboration. If one firm decides to enter a new realm, another firm is available to help them dive right in, offering up advice and best practices.

  1. The impact a strong company culture can have on overall productivity

You often hear horror stories of people who do not get along with some of their coworkers and how constant bickering can disrupt the work environment as a whole. Fortunately for me, this concept is only a myth so far in my career.

For both BPR and Fearey, I have to equate the strong company culture to the emphasis placed on team bonding and connection. At BPR, a point was made to have lunch as a team at least once a week, if not more. At Fearey, the same reigns true, and we also have monthly outings where we get together and do something as a team. Beyond this, both agencies have adopted open door policies and encourage constructive collaboration. These factors make communication substantially more effective and contribute to positive company culture and levels of overall productivity.

  1. “Small” agencies can still have very “large” clients

While at BPR, I had the opportunity to assist on the Bimbo Bakeries USA account, which is the largest bakery in the United States. Here at Fearey, I have been given the opportunity to assist on the NHL Seattle account. While these are exciting accounts to work on, they were won and retained through persistence and loyalty, which runs deep at both agencies. That same loyalty is shown to clients of all sizes, not just the big names. Both teams treat all of their clients as if they are “large clients,” which I think is one key to their success.

  1. Allow yourself to continually learn new things

Because the field of PR is constantly changing, there are often multiple ways something can be done. Furthermore, all PR pros have their own style. Early on in your career, it is imperative to be receptive to the ways your mentors (and others) operate so that you can conduct some trial and error on what works best for you. Every person I have crossed paths with in this field has offered some sort of lesson for me, whether they knew it or not. I have done everything I can to absorb what I have learned to further refine my skillset. Within PRGN specifically, we are constantly surrounded by those we can learn at least one thing from.

  1. The importance of utilizing your network

As I said above, I had not heard of PRGN until this past summer. When I knew I wanted to move away from Indiana, I found BPR online and immediately connected with them. I did not know, then, the PRGN-colored doors that this would open for me. Upon conclusion of my internship with BPR, I knew I wanted to relocate to the wonderful city of Seattle, and I had already heard about Fearey through – you guessed it – PRGN. After sharing this with Anne Buchanan, she provided an introduction to both TFG and Aaron Blank, who is currently serving as PRGN’s president until May 2020. If I had not utilized this stellar network, of which both Fearey and BPR are founding members, I would not be where I am now. I think it’s safe to say I made the right move.

During the last four months alone, I have learned just how strong of an impact PRGN has. Having learned so much in such a short time, I am enthralled with the opportunities and future lessons I have coming my way. I am fortunate to be working for a great agency like Fearey, but also within a network as robust as PRGN.

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