For our latest Marketing Insider, we interviewed our very own Donnie Turlington, Director of Strategic Communications, to get the scoop on his role with Bouvier Kelly and what Strategic Communications really means for a brand.
Bouvier Kelly: In your own words, how would you describe your role as Director of Strategic Communications?
Donnie: Being Director of Strategic Communications at Bouvier Kelly is about helping businesses tell their story. Public relations is about positioning brands as a storyteller. As a brand, you want to make sure the story you are telling resonates with your audience and lays the foundation for your reputation. Strategic communications looks at storytelling through multiple communications channels and planning out how a brand is going to connect with its audience.
BKI: What does an agency provide for brands that they may not be able to provide for themselves when it comes to communications?
Donnie: We can provide guidance, validation, and the execution of ideas. One person or small team may think a certain way, but a marketing agency is an outside source that has done research on best practices for more effective communications. When we collaborate with a brand, we can take their ideas and tell them if we think it will work, how it could be better, or provide a totally new outlook. I‘ve led strategic communications for local and national nonprofits, local government, higher education and for businesses before and I use all of that experience to inform my thinking and guide our feedback and response to assist clients. An agency takes some of the stress off the brand.
BKI: When do you think a brand should consider seeking help with communications? Does it depend on size or the presence of conflict?
Donnie: People often think of seeking public relations help for a crisis, but really it should be sought out whenever there is a story to be told. Every business, regardless of size, has a reason for doing what they do. When it’s time to get that message out there, it’s best to work with a professional so that it’s well-crafted and reaches the target audience. That message builds your reputation and can also help with what we call “issue management”, which is dealing with a problem before it becomes a crisis.
BKI: How do you decide which strategy is good for each business?
Donnie: Strategy is most closely aligned with audience. At Bouvier Kelly, we look at communications through channels. Different channels can include various media outlets, social media platforms, face-to-face, email, etc. For each of these channels, the strategy changes based upon the goal as well.
BKI: Wow, so it seems like there’s plenty of variety in your role as well.
Donnie: Yes, the role is constantly evolving. A few decades ago, it was all about websites, news releases, and media relations. We still look at all those things, plus social media, email campaigns, podcasts, etc. There are now more tools for communication in the toolbox which is good because audiences are far more segmented than they’ve ever been.
BKI: What’s the best part about being in this position?
Donnie: Reflecting on the 20+ years that I have been doing this, I have to say that helping people has been my overall favorite part. When you help a brand connect to an audience, it’s really just creating human connections. Looking at brands behind the logo and seeing them as real people trying to make real connections, is what it’s all about for me.