Behind the Headlines With Angie Mathews
The PR industry is constantly changing, with new technology, platforms and trends emerging every day. So how can your brand keep up?
Angie Mathews, account executive at CGPR, says communication professionals need to always be on the alert and ready for change.
In this interview, Angie discusses how to stay relevant with consumers, create an impactful message and build better relationships with the media.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new role as account executive at CGPR?
I’m looking forward to supporting CGPR’s west coast expansion. Many California brands, Orange County brands in particular, tend to have a specific perspective. Being an OC-native and long-term OC-based lifestyle publicist, I’m looking forward to helping steer CGPR through the unique SoCal landscape.
What is the most important PR lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
Stay present and prepared. PR is not a job where you can rest on your laurels. Things are constantly shifting.
Whether there is a fire to put out or an unexpected bit of news to get out, it is necessary to constantly be alert, thinking of how you can leverage the current media climate and popular culture to the benefit of your clients, and be willing to shift priorities at a moment’s notice – without letting any of the other balls you’re juggling drop.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing fashion brands? How can they overcome them?
In my opinion, it’s about staying relevant while remaining authentic. In today’s ephemeral world of Santee Alley clothing, rapid release mixtapes, food trucks and Snapchats, it feels like everything is disposable and forgettable; brands need to create an image and voice that consumers connect with on a deeper, more visceral level.
Even if it is “fast-fashion,” consumers should be able to identify with what the brand represents and in turn want to represent that brand’s message. There needs to be a clear and consistent message at the heart of those brands seeking to make a long-term impact.
You’ve helped secure placements for your clients in a variety of media. What’s your secret to media relations success?
It’s about being an amazing facilitator. You need to be aware of the media’s needs and be able to support in filling that need effectively. Basically, you want to pitch appropriate items to the appropriate people at the appropriate times – and if you do this well, you end up building great relationships with the media because they trust you. In the end, this all benefits the client with great, consistent coverage.
What do you like most about working in PR? What do you like least?
The best thing for me about PR is the variety. No day is ever exactly the same. Sometimes it’s grueling and very humbling, but other times it’s flashy and incredibly exciting.
The thing I like least is actually one of the things I used to enjoy. It’s travel; only because I have a new little one at home.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
There are always a ton of tiny victories. Even 10 years in, I beam when I see a beautiful product placement that I’ve helped to cultivate. But, a personal proud moment for me was when I was given the task of completely branding a women’s contemporary fashion label.
I needed to develop everything from the season’s voice and content to the collateral’s overall look and feel with a very small budget. My team and I produced an exceptional campaign, including web, advertisements, a billboard, and look book that helped drive the brand to the next level.
I was able to utilize many of the talents I had picked up over the years, as well as develop some new ones, like graphic design. Holding a beautiful look book in my hands with the models and creative team we had cast, in a location we had found, shot by a photographer we discovered, and that I had ultimately laid out and written content for felt very rewarding.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in PR?
Internships! Try different PR roles out. From working as an in-house PR person or at a boutique agency as a junior account executive, to working at a major corporate firm, try different environments and look for agencies that focus on things that you are passionate about.
Whether it’s high fashion, outdoor apparel, or active wear, et cetera, there are a variety of approaches to PR and you want to find the right fit. It’s a great job when you are working to generate interest in something you are passionate about; it’s a tough gig if you think what you’re pitching is lame.
Rapid Fire Round
1. I always thought I’d be…living in Europe by now.
2. My favorite social media platform is…Instagram, although Snapchat is gaining fast.
3. If I could have lunch with anyone, it would be…Michelle Obama, did you hear her DNC speech?
4. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…my baby girl.
5. The most interesting thing about me is…my willingness to try.
6. My hobbies outside of work include…jogging, ghostwriting and cooking.
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