Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Becca Grieb: I am a Communications Strategist specializing in digital marketing and public relations. I’ve spent the last 5 years owning BG Communications, which offers a variety of services with the goal of helping brands, small businesses and entrepreneurs tell their stories. I’ve had the pleasure of working with clients across the globe including musicians, tech startups, physiotherapy clinics, sexual assault centres, employee learning consultants and Canadian colleges.
Taylor: How important has networking been in your career?
Becca: Networking is huge. In the Master’s program I am currently completing we talk a lot about strong and weak ties–and the value of both. It’s important to manage relationships with close friends and colleagues, but it’s equally as important to meet new people and explore new relationships. When I first started out I met someone who took me under his wing and guided me through the how-to and learning curves of the industry. He has grown into a strong tie, but I’ve always valued the ‘weak ties’ because those people can help you to grow and meet others in the industry.
Taylor: What’s the key to successful personal branding? How important is it in today’s world?
Becca: Research has shown that millennials don’t respond to advertising like most consumers do. So with that being said, the key to successful personal branding is authenticity. Consumers don’t want to feel as if they are being sold anything… they want to know that there is a person behind the brand and even better, that there is a good cause being supported. Consistency in the story of who you are and why you do what you do is also important. What you stand for, how you got to be where you are… it all plays a role. There is a lot that goes into successful personal branding but this is at the core.
Taylor: You do new hire reviews, how can someone stand out when applying for jobs…what makes someone attractive to potential HR Managers?
Becca: Digital marketing and social media is such a new area that a lot of the time a company may not know who or what they are looking for. Standing out starts with leaving behind the old school objective statement and starting with a summary–who are you, what have you done, and where are you looking to go? This gives the employer a quick read of who you are and will help them to see if you’re a fit or not. Also, please proofread. The number of cover letters or resumes I have seen with a ton of spelling mistakes is so unfortunate. The final thing that makes someone attractive to potential hires or to me when I do this on behalf of an organization is the added personal element of the resume. Culture is very important to many organizations, which means they want to know who you are outside of work, what you do in your spare time, and what your friends and colleagues would say to describe you.
Taylor: You were awarded as one of PR in Canada’s Top 30 under 30, what traits make a great leader in this industry?
Becca: Great leaders are focused, transparent, authentic, and push others to work at their best. I’ve had a few managers in my career that failed to set clear goals for myself or other team members, which makes it difficult for individuals to achieve and work at their best. Focus is key because when the leader of the team knows and shares the goal, it will work its way through the rest of the team. Transparency and authenticity go hand-in-hand for me. No one is perfect and everyone is human. I have a huge amount of respect for leaders that can step back and ask for the opinion of an expert in the field. Studies on groups and collaboration have shown that when individuals feel that their manager is authentic, they work harder and perform better.
Taylor: What is one thing you wish everyone in PR and Digital Marketing knew going in?
Becca: I hope brands can learn that digital marketing is not the silver bullet to success and that in order to achieve this success, it takes time and a strong overall communications plan. From the PR side of things, traditional news outlets are not dead… but the ways in which we speak to our audience has changed. My advice to an 18-year-old is the same thing I say to my students: digital marketing is more than tweeting or sending a snap. It’s about telling a story. As Simon Sinek said, first tell me why you do it, then they me what you do.
Taylor: What’s your best advice for someone wanting success in this field?
Becca: Public Relations is not the same as it once was and digital marketing is constantly evolving. Success in this field comes from a desire to learn and grow. The most successful people I know in this industry are life-long learners who understand mediums and the messages that should come from each. In the book Grit, Angela Duckworth talks about perseverance and commitment over a long period of time. The most successful in this industry don’t take no for an answer and are always looking to learn and grow.
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