Today is my 30th anniversary at Borshoff. I’m celebrating the big 3-0 exactly one year after the agency turned 30. Yes, I started on the company’s first anniversary. Back when Ronald Reagan was president and Robert Orr was Indiana’s governor. My desk sported a second-hand IBM Selecric typewriter. And the agency didn’t yet offer health insurance.
Today, as they say, it’s a different world. The tools available to deliver communication strategies have multiplied. And the challenges are more complex. To me, the work is more exciting and rewarding than ever.
- A 24-hour news cycle? Not in 1985.
- Rumors or rants spreading via social media? Say what?
- Staff with titles such as “motion graphics specialist” and “front-end web developer”? Not even on our radar.
As communicators, we can be proud that the profession has grown along with a changing world. As an agency, Borshoff has certainly evolved.
We are more strategic today. We are smarter about research, and our clients are too. (Translation: As clients better understand the value of research, they’re more willing to invest in it.) Our plans are more focused and dynamic. (Why did we ever write 30-page treatises?) While our tactics are more varied, we always align them with a results-driven strategy. In so many ways, we’ve become more effective and more analytical. I believe we’re at a better place.
And yet for all the gigabytes and online monitoring, in spite of 6 a.m. emails and constant content generation, and with a smart phone that allows me to talk, text, email, tweet and post instantly – the core principles behind communications excellence have not changed since 1985.
Today, as we wisely meld public relations, brand development, internal communications and advertising, we remain true to these truths:
- Understand and respect your stakeholders. Listen to them carefully and communicate clearly.
- Be concerned with identity, not image. Do the right thing and your reputation will prosper.
- Truthfulness matters.
As Edward L. Bernays wrote back in 1928: “Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.”
True then. True in 1985. True today.