Nicholas Adams: Leveraging the power of partnership post-pandemic

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Everything PR News’ ongoing talks with industry leaders continues today with Ninico Communications CEO Nicholas Adams. Founded in 2011, the award-winning public relations agency has created campaigns, developed strategic messaging, and served as a publicist to some of California’s most celebrated brands and business leaders.

Q&A: Nicholas Adams + Everything PR News

EPR: What did 2020 look like for your agency?

NA: PR is always valuable, but it is particularly valuable when things are going sideways. As COVID-19 pushed businesses to navigate in new ways and develop creative pivots in record speed, public relations and advertising agencies found themselves in high demand. Business leaders realized they needed the right strategy, messaging, and the partnerships in order to achieve their business development goals under the unique conditions presented by COVID-19. Especially when getting it wrong at such a critical time could mean irreparable damage to the brand. That meant boutique agencies like ours, with a team of experienced professionals and strong connections to the community, became more important than ever.

EPR: How did the pandemic impact your communication with clients?

NA: Relationships involve communication and effort and connecting with clients is no different. Every client deserves special attention but understanding the dynamic culture of each client, finding out what is important to them, and meeting their specific needs took on new meaning when we could no longer meet in person. The key to communication during a pandemic? Overcommunication. Luckily, digital platforms enabled us to be transparent about our work by scheduling regular calls with clients to share information and provide support. In some ways I think that the pandemic created an opportunity for us to see how valuable these platforms are to maximizing our ability to communicate with clients when in person isn’t always an option.

EPR: With the possibility of a post-pandemic life seeming closer, how do you see public relations adapting to successfully navigate that transition?

NA: First, the power of partnership will continue to be a huge component of a smooth transition. The right strategic business relationships will enhance a client’s competitive edge and increase positive brand awareness at a time when things still seem uncertain. Second, we have to accept that virtual isn’t going away and embrace the flexibility it can add to scheduling and communication. We need to respect clients that are ready to start meeting in person as it is safe to do so, as well as the clients that aren’t there yet and may not be for a while. Lastly, communications strategies need to be seen as a fluid opportunity. As things change, you and your client need to be agile and ready to alter campaigns, pause social media, or jump on a great opportunity at a moment’s notice. The key is preparing ahead. Having a short-term and long-term strategy is an effective way to ensure you are ready to manage the recovery process as it happens.

EPR: Has public relations been changed forever by the pandemic?

NA: Definitely, but that doesn’t mean it has been changed for the worse. Public relations is an always-evolving industry. PR agencies stepped up during this pandemic and acted as trusted advisors to clients when everything was up in the air and no one knew what was going to happen next. And, that trust will stay with clients as we move forward and meet new challenges. For instance, PR agencies will be a valuable resource to prepare clients for hybrid events which will require a whole new set of skills now that speakers are expected to engage and interact with an audience that is both virtual and in person. Public relations work never ends. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

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