Take 5 with Gay Gaddis

This is the second in our new series here on PR Forward called Take 5 with TrendKite— it's five quick questions or five minutes on PR, the state of the industry, and how it interconnects with everything else (like digital and social strategy), all with the brightest minds around. 

Ann Handley is a tough act to follow, but if anyone is up to the task it's Gay Gaddis- Founder and CEO of T3- and so much more

Let's dive in. 

1. What skill do you think PR/comms professionals need that is often overlooked? 

Relationship building: Being able to establish and maintain relationships that transcend digital and social media. 

Also, digital marketing expertise and the enthusiasm to stay ahead of the latest digital trends and tools. The willingness to proactively source, digest and utilize this information will give any PR/communications professional an edge.

2. How will influencer marketing continue to reshape not only PR, but the wider communications industry going forward? 

There will be more ongoing influencer marketing programs than big campaign pushes. The best uses of influencer marketing and PR build equity over time and leverage that equity to get attention in the big moments it matters for them.

This will make everyone rethink influence. For a lot of what we’re trying to accomplish, niche micro-influencers are often more impactful and effective than mega social celebrities. This is definitely going to make the industry rethink the way they sell in “influencers” to their clients. Quality engagement over the number of followers will be the new metric. We should be pursuing the hyper-niche “person with influence” rather than an influencer.

One-to-one interactions between brands and people WITH influence will shift the way brands think about the content timelines they produce. Social conversations are real-time and brands are going to need to be able to shift their larger content/communications strategies to meet those “real-time” needs if they want to compete.

One-to-one conversations should also evolve the way brands create content so that it is better in tune with what their niche audience is hungry for. This is how you create “advocates.”

3. What's the one lesson you'd give to a new comms professional, fresh out of school? 

Push yourself to form points of view and share them. Your experience and fresh perspective are valuable.

"Go out into the professional world with a 'No job is too small or too big' attitude." 

Be a sponge and soak in all of the lessons to be learned from every position in your company. This information is invaluable and will teach you how to work better across teams.

4. What is your favorite- or least favorite- "surprise and delight" PR moment you've seen from a brand lately? 

Late last year, Grammy-Award winner John Mayer posted to his Instagram Story screenshots of him making a late-night Postmates order for marshmallow creme and peanut butter to make a DIY fluffernutter sandwich.

When asked in the Postmates app if he had a brand preference for marshmallow creme, his response was simply “Spare No Expense.” Unsurprisingly, Postmates delivered Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme.

When John posted his Instagram Story, T3’s social listening tactics flagged the real-time mention and alerted our client, Kraft Heinz, on how best to respond, recognizing the multi-million dollar value of celebrity endorsement and influencer outreach.

At the same time, T3 creative and social media teams worked together to create John Mayer’s own brand of marshmallow creme, “John-Puffed.” We transformed the iconic Jet-Puffed label to incorporate the whimsical quotes from John’s original post and delivered as a gift of six personalized jars, along with a note thanking him for his love of Jet-Puffed Marshmallows.

John Puffed Marshmallows Gay Gaddis T3 Take Five

In response, the Grammy Award-winner featured the “John-Puffed” Marshmallow Creme in his live Sunday Night Instagram Variety Show, “Current Mood.” Featuring the custom product, John talked at length about his love for “fun” and authentic brands that “come through” with “one-of-a-kind marshmallow creme” mentioning Kraft Heinz by name. 

A huge thanks to Gay for being part of our series! You can learn more about her work- including her work as an artist and author- on her website

Do you know someone you'd love to see featured here? Tell us about it— it can even be you. 

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About Sarah Parker

Sarah A. Parker is the Content Marketing Manager for Cision, planning, producing and curating content across channels. She previously managed content and social media for several different brands, in addition to working as a freelance writer. Find her on Twitter @SparkerWorks where she is happy to talk all things social media strategy, the dynamic world of PR, and mastiffs.