Article by Molly Costello | esPResso Committee Member
On Friday, April 10, 14 Marist PRSSA members traveled to New York City along with faculty adviser Jennie Donohue to tour two PR agencies: Taylor and 5W PR. The first tour took place at Taylor, a mid-sized agency specializing in sports, lifestyle and entertainment located in the Empire State building. Everyone was eager to gain insight from industry professionals and have the chance to explore the inner-workings of a highly successful, strategic firm. Taylor has maintained relationships with a wide range of globally recognized clients including Guinness, NASCAR, Jordan Brand and Mercedes-Benz.
With more than 26 years of experience at Taylor, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner Bryan Harris provided the group with information pertaining to the company’s history and shared helpful advice for the enthusiastic students. Although it was a foggy day, Harris pointed out the window showing students where his career first started as an intern at NBC. He talked about the major shift in public relations throughout the years.
“Public relations used to be just media relations,” Harris said. “Now, there are many components and media relations is just one of those.” He stressed that there is a demand for people with creative skills who are able to meet the challenges of a constantly changing environment. Harris added that it’s especially important in public relations to be able to articulate your ideas and have the ability to sell.
Digital Specialist Matthew Anger was the next Taylor associate to speak to Marist PRSSA members. Anger initially interned at Taylor and stressed the importance of post-graduate internships in today’s competitive job market. His “A Day in the Life” presentation highlighted what he’s learned and what a typical day looks like working with Taylor’s Digital PR team. Anger talked about Taylor’s influencer and advocacy programs, one of which involved brand gurus testing new sneakers on Michael Jordan’s personal basketball court. Whether it is creating content strategy for Guinness or exploring new ways to gain attention for NASCAR on Snapchat, the Digital PR team at Taylor is constantly finding innovative ways to engage its audiences.
Finally, Vice President Robyn Fink provided students with helpful tips to prepare for a career in public relations. As someone who worked on the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty at Edelman and at MWW Group with major clients like Samsung and the NFL, it was evident that Fink had a wide range of experience. The following are some tips she shared:
- Find something you’re passionate about
- Internships are key
- Find a mentor
- Find the right agency for you, whether it’s big, mid-sized or boutique
- Build media relationships from the start; you’ll need them your entire career
- Take the time to say thank you, especially to the media
According to the Counsel of Public Relations Firms, most PR agencies the size of Taylor serve about 65-70 clients per year. According to Taylor’s CEO and Managing Partner Tony Signore, Taylor had 62 clients in 2004. However, between 2004 and 2009 the agency transformed its business model and focused on aligning itself with only a select 15 client partners. In essence, Taylor strived to build quality relationships with key clients rather than worrying about the quantity of partners.
The company’s success has been widely recognized. The Holmes Report named Taylor the “Consumer Public Relations Agency of the Decade.” Marist College senior Michelle Santos commented, “I enjoyed meeting with the Taylor representatives and learning about the evolving public relations industry, especially in regards to digital media and the incorporation of Snapchat and other forms of social media into campaigns.”