Welcome to my blog series "10 Questions With". It consists of weekly interviews with practitioners from the PR, Marketing and Advertising industry. My goal is to talk to experts, who have interesting opinions and can give valuable advice to young people, who are pursuing careers in those sectors.
My second interview is with Iva Grigorova, Director PR Business at Publicis One Bulgaria and Leading MSL-Sofia
Q1: What was your first ever job?
My first ever job was when I was a teenager and I worked at my mom’s hair and beauty salon for two summers. I was helping the staff with front desk errands like welcoming the guests and writing down the appointments in the weekly schedule. The job helped me a lot with the basics of building people’s relations. Of course, it was a good opportunity to earn additional pocket money for my summer holidays.
Q2: How did you fall into PR?
I was still in high school when I decided to pursue a career in PR. I was preparing for TOEFL and SAT exams and I was looking at American universities to apply for undergraduate programs. Then, I realised that to be able to choose a university, it’d be better if I know what career I want to go into. I did some research and found the term Public Relations. I started reading more about it and then I decided that I should have a career in PR. It was not a big career choice in Bulgaria back then. Everyone was going to be a lawyer, a doctor, or something like that. I knew that going to an American University and studying Public Relations will help me build a career in PR. I like communicating with other people and I like telling stories. As you know, PR practitioners need to be good at people’s relations and need to be good at telling stories. PR practitioners, in general, are good at content creation.
Q3: What is your proudest work moment so far?
There are many moments in my work that make me happy and satisfied. The proudest moments would be the times a client (current or a prospect) has liked an idea, an approach or a strategy I have proposed to them.
Q4: If you could ban one piece of jargon, what would it be?
If I could ban a jargon phrase, it’d definitely be the phrase “you know”! There is no meaning in this phrase, at all. When you talk to people and tell them stories and you put the phrase “you know” in the middle of the sentence, it makes no sense to the whole storytelling. With the story you are sharing information to the person you are talking to. Doesn’t it “you know” imply the meaning that you actually know it? If the person knows the story, it’s pointless to tell it to them.
Q5: What have you learned from any mistakes you’ve made in your career?
I have learnt that you can improve yourself from the mistakes you have made in your career. You can learn the outcomes and you can improve your skills. From different outcomes, you can learn new ways of doing things. Mistakes help you to improve team work, too. Learning guides you how to improve relationships with clients and colleagues.
Q6: As a big supporter of inbound PR, why do you think disruptive PR is the new way of doing PR?
I like the idea of Inbound PR because it combines the strongest asset of the PR professional – the content creation, with the strongest assets of the inbound methodology – the measurement of results. Showing that PR efforts are important to the business is key in today’s economy for every industry. Public Relations is about people’s relations. Building trust and engagement with stakeholders is also very important, because it gives long term results to companies and brands.
Disruptive PR idea brings all changes that come with the Internet, technology, new industries. Changes that influence how PR practitioners create campaigns for their clients and build conversations with the people. Disruptive PR also means to adapt the changes in favour of PR industry. To make processes work better, to improve performance, to be able to measure PR results with technology, software, etc. This way, PR professionals can use the automated process and focus more on the consultancy part. PR pros should act as a consultant for their clients. They need to advise and think more about client’s positioning, reputation, perception, stakeholder’s engagement and advocacy.
Q7: If you were a student right now and need to write a dissertation, what topic would you choose?
If I’m a student now and I need to write a dissertation, I’d choose my topic to be: “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in public relations. A threat or an opportunity?”. Allowing AI and automation to take some of PR professionals’ role on a daily basis – research, reporting, content management, etc., will help them to really focus on the strategic part of their work. They will have more time to think about the business and long term outcomes. PR pros will become client’s best advisers.
Q8: Job hunting on social media – yes or no?
I’d say “Yes” to job hunting on social media. Millennials, who are already a workforce and generation Z, who are going to be the next workforce generation, are online on their devices all the time. Their lives are in their smartphones. They read everything on social media. Companies can have a social media lead generation campaign to reach potential employees. This could be a right approach if companies believe that their desired employees are online on social media channels.
Q9: What’s the most surprising thing you have learned about the PR industry since working within it?
The most surprising thing I have learned about the PR industry is that if you don’t have a passion and you don’t want to learn, you won’t be able to be different. You need to improve your skills and learn something new every day. You need to read to broaden your knowledge. You need to learn how to adapt to changes that are happening in your industry, your market, changes that are happening to your clients.
The ability to adapt is part of the human nature. PR professionals must possess the ability to adapt. This way they can adapt the campaigns they are working on to the changes that are happening during the course of the campaign or according to the consumers’ behaviour. If you think about it, when PR industry started, professionals were sending faxes to journalists in order to send the news releases about their clients and inform the media. Today, we have email pitching and virtual press rooms, where you can reach journalists by grabbing their attention via helpful and interesting content. Also, today, PR professionals have in mind that some media has started using AI to create news stories. This will change a lot how journalists and PR pros cooperate in the near future.
Q10: And finally, congratulations on the new job. What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
Thank you! As Director PR Business at Publicis One Bulgaria and Leading MSL-Sofia, I’m looking forward to expand the PR business within Publicis ONE together with my team. The ONE model aims to offer clients a centric place, where experts in analysis, strategic planning, creative, digital, PR, event management, media planning combine their efforts to bring clients qualitative and valuable results.
I would like to congratulate Iva on her new job and wish her all the best. Thank you so much for the brilliant answers.
You can follow Iva @IvaGrigorova.
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