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HAPPO to Introduce James Lockwood

19 Feb

There are sure a lot of talented folks here in the Twin Cities.  Another introduction on this #HAPPO (Help A PR Pro Out) Friday for you.  Meet James Lockwood, a senior communicator that has a diverse background that could be well suited to a corporate or agency environment. 

My name is James Lockwood, a communications professional with a Master’s degree in public affairs who is obsessed with cycling, loves cooking, and enjoys live music.

In between those activities, I find interest in all things social and political, from the sustainable foods movement to education reform and energy innovation to the latest episode of Mad Men. I have worked media relations for the Republican National Convention; created and executed the communications plan for the launch of a new pediatric clinic; written proposals for an architectural firm looking to build multimillion dollar facilities; and engaged residents and fans alike about city services through social media (yes, snow plowing can be fan friendly).

In a world where media is a loosely defined term, I bring my experience in print, broadcast, and speech writing to give the proper voice in each medium to reach targeted audiences. I want to bring this experience to an organization that aims to create community, build fans, and move the needle more in its direction. 

Happy Holidays

24 Dec

Merry Christmas and happpy holidays to you all. No matter what you celebrate or the name you give it, there’s something special about this time of year.  It’s a chance to reflect on your life and what lies ahead.  Enjoy the time spent with family, friends, and your community. 

I hope you all have a wonderful season!!

It’s More About GAAP Than Gap

17 Nov

You may have heard me say it before, and you’ll definitely hear me say it again (hint- great series of pros in future posts), but I believe that communications professionals do themselves a disservice by not having a good grasp on broader business principles and strategy.  If you’re offering your clients recommendations on one piece of the puzzle like media relations, social media, or internal communications but can’t make educated, informed comment on their business model and competition then you aren’t providing the full value they need. 

If you are working within an organization and want to have a role in the strategic direction of the company, it’s essential you can speak the same language as those you want to influence.  PR people cannot expect to walk into a C-level discussion and be viewed as an equal member of the team unless you can add real value to a discussion that stretches beyond how the company will capitalize on sales, but how you will drive sales. 

Fundamental to that level of discussion is viewing the business in the same manner that other leadership views the business.  Many communications/PR schools haven’t heavily integrated business programming into a PR track and many practitioners have come from a variety of backgrounds where they may not have been exposed to fundamentals of business strategy.  How can you pick up enough knowledge to put you on the right track?

Find a colleague who can serve as a mentor- This is a great way to learn more about specialties you may not initially understand well. In my experience, if you express an interest and willingness to learn, people are willing to help you along.  Many times they’re actually flattered.  This was especially true when I reached out to accountants who, I’m willing to bet, hadn’t really been approached often with people “wanting” to learn more about their jobs.

Expand that bookshelf- There are hundreds of great books out there that can provide an introduction to basic finance, accounting, sales theory, and business strategy.  A quick search on finance produced a great list of options to help you get started. 

Change your process- Before heading into any meeting, come up with a couple questions that you want to have addressed when you have time to do so without worrying about being on the spot in real-time.  If you’re looking to better understand the sales process, look at recent reports see what seems to be working and ask for more information on the “why” behind the success. Over time, you’ll learn a great deal and be able to better add value.

The Gap is great for a day of shopping, but better understanding GAAP can fund that shopping.

It’s Launch Time

17 Oct

After thinking about the benefits of a blog for a long time, I felt like it was time to make the leap. I enjoy exploring new and creative issues facing the world of communications and I hope you find this blog useful and worth your time. While there are so many outstanding blogs out there, my background and interest in the intersection of business leadership and communications is a bit different than many in the industry. The ultimate goal for this blog is not to hear what I have to say but to engage and learn more about what you have to say.

It’s about engagment and a chance to push the bounds of our shared knowledge. Check in here for new topics and issues regularly. I look forward to talking with you soon and finding new ways to help you meet your goals.