Today, a Q&A with V2 Communications’ founders & partners, Maura FitzGerald and Jean Serra.
- What led you to careers in PR?
Jean: I fell into PR, plain and simple. I ended up getting a receptionist position at a regional ad agency with plans to transition into account management, but the agency had a PR department and so I started doing work for them. I really grew to love PR, as it gave me the opportunity to write creatively that wouldn’t have been afforded to me had I been on the advertising side.
Maura: I worked as a reporter at a couple large newspapers in Miami covering a variety of beats like city government, feature writing, police and crime—the fun stuff. When I moved back to Boston, I freelanced, covering elections and writing for tech magazines. There were a lot of tech magazines then, and one of the editors I worked for had a friend who was starting a PR agency and asked if I would work with him. The entire agency was full of former journalists, so I joined and it turned out to be a great way to learn about agency life and have responsibilities to both clients and influencers. I haven’t looked back since.
- What are the philosophies behind your agency, V2 Communications?
Maura: Our vision and mission when we started V2 was to be our clients’ strategic partners, so we took a strong stance in measuring results. We understand that PR is an investment of clients’ time and money, so we’re very analytic in how we approach communications in order to demonstrate the value we offer. Something that really helps us achieve those results though is our commitment to building a values-based organization.
- What are V2’s core values and what do they mean for the agency?
Jean: V2 is built on six core values: Collaboration, Tenacity, Curiosity, Confidence, Transparency and Realness. The PR industry is known for over-promising and under-delivering, but V2ers take pride in redefining what it means to be a strategic communications partner that embodies these values throughout all agency operations. When you work with V2, you work with bold movers and big thinkers—and that translates to winning communications strategies.
Maura: These values have not only helped us develop strong client relationships, but they have also allowed us to nurture our award-winning corporate culture. At V2, we hold personal character to equal importance as an employee’s professional persona, so having these values defined serves as a cornerstone for employee growth. Embedded in the organization since day one, our values are vital to V2’s strength throughout challenges and proved especially critical during the pandemic.
- What’s been your experience running a PR agency during Covid-19? What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced?
Maura: When the pandemic hit in 2020, the topic of COVID-19 took over every single media outlet. V2’s biggest challenge during the pandemic waslearning how to traverse a media landscape that felt so chaotic and unfamiliar. When the news of COVID-19’s presence first broke out, V2 was left wondering how to best communicate in this new business climate.
In order to equip both our clients and staff with the information needed to shape campaigns, V2 went straight to frontline journalists and editors to understand the current priorities and pressures in today’s newsrooms. We quickly released the report “Roadmap for Navigating the Media Landscape During COVID-19,” which pinpoints current media challenges and offers advice on how to overcome them to help organizations devise impactful communications in a world turned upside down seemingly overnight. For PR professionals, it’s all about the story, but the question is: How do you tell a convincing narrative that supports your angle while still fitting within the current media and market landscape?
Jean: As the year went on, the way the pandemic was being talked about also changed. What was once a news cycle focused on the immediate impact of the virus had shifted to cover the long-term implications of the pandemic on the economy, society and how we work and live. On top of that, the new trends that had emerged since early March, such as the presidential election and the massive social justice movement that swept the nation, had created an even more complex media landscape. As PR professionals, we are at the forefront of media conversations and need to adapt to breaking news and trends.
Our biggest challenge as an organization was getting in front of journalists and standing out during a news cycle that’s more chaotic than ever—but with tact and ingenuity, we’ve been able to succeed in this endeavor.
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