The Power of Relationships


By: Renee Weekes

Account Director, MSL Canada

In Canada, we’re seeing the media landscape change almost daily. Legacy media brands are changing or disappearing, new digital outlets are popping up, and Canadians are turning to myriad sources of information in a way we’ve never seen before.

At the same time, on social media, Canadians are tuning in to all manner of influencers across a variety of platforms. And storytelling in the digital age seems to be changing all the time.

These changes have sparked a number of questions. How do we, as marketers, PR professionals, and storytellers, remain relevant? How can we ensure that we are driving the right content to the eyes of consumers for our clients?

Ultimately, how do we mobilize as an agency to personalize our work against competitors so we are not simply an exchange of service?

At MSL, we believe the differentiator lies in being able to figure out quick solutions in challenging situations, and to do that, you need the right team, with the right contacts.

Which is why our team has always believed that the key to staying one step ahead is fostering great and lasting relationships with tastemakers and storytellers across all forms of media and organizations.

So, how do we do it?

The bread and butter

First, we begin with the idea that none of us would be where we are today without our relationships. Growing your personal network and creating key connections is crucial to building a career, a network, or an agency. And while relationships are particularly important in PR – the word ‘relations’ is right there in the name of our industry – their importance stretches across every industry, no matter your profession, in order to tap into connections to gain opportunity.

When looking for ways to stand out, whether that be amongst coworkers, as an agency, or when trying to land a job, the fundamentals of great relationships can often be overlooked. In the end, it all comes down to person-to-person exchanges, being willing to help others, and clear communication of goals and ideals. This is a people business, and no matter how fast technology advances and digital media expands, success in this business comes down to an ability to create real-time human connections and the capacity to grow of relationships.

Let’s talk about trust

The sphere of PR is cluttered. How do we set ourselves apart? It all comes down to trust.

We strive to establish unwavering trust with our clients and media partners, and to nurture those relationships in every interaction. Experience has taught us that clear and transparent communication builds that trust, and reinforces that we look to our clients and our media partners as part of our team, always having their best interest in mind.

We want our clients to look at us as an extension of where they are going, and our media partners as a key player in their storytelling. That only happens when they believe we understand their needs, and have a strong point of view that allows us to offer up the best possible information and narratives. This comes from being the experts – having ears to the ground on the ins and outs of each industry in which we work and ultimately being in the know – and providing expertise on brand opportunity.

At the end of the day, our clients are our motivation for driving coverage and eye-catching content. This comes from years of experience with our clients, holding a 10-year relationship with Indigo and over 15-year relationship with P&G. The first step is understanding their goals, how we can reach them, and being the best brand advocates for our clients.

Content creators

As PR practitioners, we wear many hats throughout the day. There are a lot of moving parts when executing a campaign, a product launch, or hosting an event. Pushing the agenda forward for our clients, and getting stand-out pieces of earned coverage often comes down to our ability to make the most of our relationships to effectively position the strategy of our clients.

But often it’s most important to know who to talk to. Staying in the know about what editors, journalists and influencers are writing about and what they are interested in is paramount to staying in the know.

Keeping the conversation going with our media contacts keeps us relevant and keeps our clients top of mind. In what we know is a sea of daily emails, cluttered with brand launches, pitches and event invites, we need to stand out.

For us, it’s about the little things – remembering an editor’s birthday, and finding ways to make it personal – to being a trusted source of information, and showing that we are paying attention to the reporter’s work to provide a relevant story or piece of content.

It is not always a perfect storm, but with a mix of strategy, established relationships, and the right timing, our brand’s story will be told.

Like a ship without a rudder

As fundamental as our personal network relationships are, we believe that our connection as a team is the ultimate the driver of success.

As an agency, we strive to work cohesively, tapping into individual experiences and expertise to stay creative in our approach and execution. In building each other up, and creating an environment that fosters creativity and growth, we believe success will come naturally.

Our collaborative culture fosters a dynamic team, where every member plays a part.

At the end of the day, the power of our relationships and with one another is the bedrock of our success and the foundation upon which all of our interactions can be built.

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