Where is your home office these days?
Whenever the weather permits an al fresco experience, James Burnett, director of public relations for Kane Communications Group, enjoys working in his quiet backyard.
Burnett shared with us for our Day in the Life series on facing the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, staying connected to work colleagues and more.
Here’s what he had to say:
1. How much coffee do you drink during a day?
Burnett: Depends on whether I’m on an intermittent fasting cycle. If so, no coffee. If not, 2-3 cups.
2. Who is the most important person you talk to every day?
3. How much of your day is spent on Zoom calls?
Burnett: In the age of COVID-19, 2-4 hours.
4. What’s a tool you couldn’t live without right now?
Burnett: My iPhone.
5. What’s been the biggest change you’ve faced since the pandemic started?
Burnett: Dramatically reduced human contact. It’s tough.
6. Are you still working from home? If so, what’s been your favorite part of WFH?
Burnett: Partly. My favorite part has been sitting in a tree-covered nook of my backyard to work. Nothing like editing a document or advising a client with birds singing above you and bunnies frolicking a few feet away.
7. What’s your No.1 message to clients, co-workers or employees for the rest of 2020?
Burnett: The work continues. In spite of the challenges, services, products and business leaders need to be at their best. And it’s our job in the PR industry to ensure the honest, positive and practical stories about the “work” are told and reach all stakeholders.
8. What makes you hopeful about the future of PR? Any big predictions for 2021?
Burnett: My hope has a downside. As local newspapers continue to fade for lack of readership and advertisers, a door is opened for every diligent business with the resources to be its own newsroom and tell its own stories.
Brand journalism is a discipline in PR with amazing possibilities right now. On the other hand, it’s a discipline that can only serve the public interest if businesses tell honest stories about their expertise, products and services. And there is no system in place to ensure that honesty. Where PR agencies will play a significant role in this future is being the gatekeepers—engaged by companies to help tell the stories and making sure the process remains above board and the content accurate.
My big prediction for 2021 is that we will see a dramatic increase in the number of businesses launching storytelling initiatives to fill the void left by local newspapers.