Today we have a feature interview with Valerie Christopherson. She is founder and CEO of Global Results Communications (GRC), an award-winning public relations firm trusted by both entrepreneurs on the cusp of new discoveries and multi-billion-dollar enterprises breaking new ground. Renowned for her expertise in high tech, she is the driving force behind GRC’s targeted communications strategies that dramatically enhance client market presence and performance on a global scale.
Prior to founding GRC in 2005, Valerie held key positions at QUALCOMM, Porter Novelli Convergence Group and other niche agencies in the mobile, telecom and technology sectors. Over a span of 20 years, she provided unparalleled counsel and campaign management resulting in successful public relations and social media programs for Fortune 500 companies, major trade associations and start-ups.
Some questions for her:
Tell us about your journey into PR tech. What spurred you to start Global Results Communications?
I, like many other PR professionals, did not plan to be in the PR field. In fact, I sought after law initially. But, as my educational career progressed, and life happenings, I found myself taking communications classes and ended-up double majoring in both English and Communications. It wasn’t really the education that excited me, it was the internships, the real-experience and the thrill of the pressure of being put on the spot, combined with the good-doing that communications professionals can do. I’m a firm believer that you don’t find PR, it finds you and it’s the experience that you gain daily that makes the profession what it is.
Starting Global Results Communications was as much fun then as it is today. In 2005, after working 10 years in agencies, the market seemed right and I decided to venture out. Our focus at the time was on telecom and the emerging wireless, or mobile, market. As time progressed, so did the firm and today we fancy ourselves as a full-serve tech-digital PR firm.
How different is the PR Tech industry today than when you first started here?
Not to date myself, but in 1995 tech was fax machines, pagers were the hot commodity and mobile phones were really car phones. Laptop computers were only for the C-suite so you spent many, many, many late nights in the office. Press kits were paper in folders, and phone calls were made from ‘desk phones’. Offices had speaker intercoms. Today, we are mobile. We have phones we can literally use anywhere in the world, we have email, we have laptops, iPads and apps. We do meetings over video calls, we have clients globally that we can communicate to without garnering expensive phone bills. Tech is ever-changing.
What is the current state of PR for B2B in 2020? How do you manage to stay on top of the B2B industry?
We’re in the midst of a pandemic making B2B the most critical piece of the global economy. While consumer products and services remain a focus, it truly is the B2B aspect of keeping the world afloat whether it be the Internet, Mobile Services, Video Communications, etc.
You never really stay on top of the B2B market, you evolve with it and think forward in your strategies. Technologies can be pushed and often uncovers things you didn’t know where possible, your comms strategy needs to be pushed till you break the barriers.
What role do modern PR companies play in increasing the trustworthiness of B2B tech companies?
Given the current state, PR agencies are relied on more now than ever to be creative, forward-thinking and calm, thoughtful and embrace the minute-by-minute strategies needed. It’s also important you think global.
What trends in the technology industry are you following keenly right now?
Virtual and video. Again, given the pandemic, we have automated in a virtual society requiring more video to stay in touch with our personal and professional lives. The connected life is where we are currently and technology is the enabling ingredient.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
You humanize it. We are all human and for an AI-centric world, which was quickly enforced with the pandemic, you humanize it through virtual touchpoints, conversations and simply not forging humanity.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
I have found that even the most technical aspect of tech PR is interesting. Inspiring people requires painting the bigger picture, what does this technology do? What is this technologies purpose – once you give technology a purpose, it becomes sexy, and sexy is inspiring.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
My mobile phone and laptop/tablet.
What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
Industry trades to keep up on the industry in which our clients expect us to know. I also listen to a lot of C-suite focused podcasts.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a mentor?
Enjoy the journey. Doesn’t matter where the path takes you if you enjoy it. I’d also say, focus and listen to your clients, they tend to know what they need, and it’s your job to find the right path to reach their goals.
More information on Global Results Communications is available at https://www.globalresultspr.com/