In one week last month, an advertising agency with which we work, Central Coast
, was featured on AMC’s “The Pitch
” and our own agency was thrilled to find out that we were named Bulldog Reporter’s 2013 Small Agency of the Year
Awards and contests, on television or otherwise, have much in common: You promote yourself while letting your work/skills do the talking.
Writing about and promoting your own agency’s PR expertise is a bizarre experience—like the scene in the surreal “Being John Malkovich
” in which actor John Malkovich slips into his own consciousness and finds himself in a restaurant filled with infinite John Malkoviches all repeating one word, “Malkovich,” over and over again. I’m sure our friends at Central Coast will find it equally strange watching themselves pitch potential clients on national television.
Sure, PR is work. It’s the work we do every day, but when it’s under the microscope, it starts to look very different. Writing is the same, when no one is watching there is an immense freedom, creating the story, finding your voice, etc., but how do you find it and how does it change when you know others are watching?
[RELATED: Find out about entering one of our many Ragan and PR Daily awards programs to earn the recognition you deserve.]
We work in PR: We make our living tooting horns, spreading the word, and leveraging our relationships and our knowledge of the industry to do so. However, this is all behind the scenes, we prefer our clients capture the limelight—we are the worker bees, not the queen.
When the tables turn and you do that very same thing for your own agency, you see the process from a new perspective. It touches on the duality of our culture: Do not be a braggart, but be successful.
The experience of writing the submission, working together to find our agency’s “voice” to tout our accolades, was an interesting exercise. When pulling together our awards submission and writing the narrative, zeroing in on “our story,” all that we have done as an agency, it was easy to miss the forest for the trees.
Certainly the honor of winning and the exposure is amazing—excellence is what we aim for, after all. But that doesn’t account for the experience of working with the team on the submission—passing edits back and forth, pitching in with our various areas of expertise, working late into the night—which was a rediscovery of the core of what makes our agency tick.
Shannon O’Neill is an operations and account manager at Wireside Communications. A version of this article originally appeared on the agency's Fireside blog.