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Caitlin Kelly and Neel Shah, of VIVID+Co, on the evolution of PR

I chatted recently with Caitlin Kelly and Neel Shah, Co-Founders of VIVID+Co, a technology-driven PR agency, to discuss where PR is today and where it might be headed tomorrow. Public relations practices have evolved significantly in the past 20 years, driven by massive changes in the way that journalists source information.

And yet it seems that the press release, which some might view as an archaic way to transmit company information, continues to be a viable mechanism; in fact one might argue that the press release — now that it is no longer a “flash in the pan” that might dominate the news cycle for one day but then quickly disappeared — has new life as an item of “earned/owned” media that, on the internet, retains more of its value than in days of yore. Additionally, the exercise of creating an effective press release, however it is distributed, is a valuable one because it forces the issuing brand into a thought exercise about its own goals, values, and newsworthiness.

In the complete interview below, I discuss with Caitlin and Neel VIVID’s origin story, how the company pivoted during the COVID pandemic, the need for agencies to be transparent about advising clients whose strategy needs to be realigned, the importance of agencies correctly setting client expectations, and the viability of the press release in the digital era.

Other discussion topics include the importance of maintaining robust media relationships, the fact that many smaller businesses with great stories often do not have access to competent PR agencies because of high retainer costs, how CEOs should define “earned media,” and other issues germane to public relations practices in the digital era.


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