By Alexa Grunder | July 20, 2020
As part of our spotlight series on the team members of MSR, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kaitlyn Lambert, Senior Account Executive at MSR Communications. After getting her degree from SUNY Geneseo in Upstate NY, she moved to Boston where she began working in PR at one of the world’s leading wine, spirits, and beverage companies. She’s been in San Francisco at MSR for two years now and enjoys collaborating with clients in a wide variety of industries.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Kaitlyn! Can you tell us about your journey into the PR industry?
I think my journey into PR is a bit non-traditional. After getting my degree in Political Science I began working at an NGO in Boston campaigning for public water, an issue that I continue to be passionate about today. At the time, I was working at a brewery in Boston and was learning the ins and outs of marketing and PR through a customer experience lens. I switched gears and began working full time for the beverage company on the PR team and have been focusing on PR and communications ever since.
What evolutions and changes have you noticed since the start of your career as a PR professional?
When discussing PR in the United States, I would definitely say that the 2016 election was a huge turning point. There was a lot of public criticism of how the media covered the election, and members of the media have been facing increased criticism from all sides of the political spectrum ever since. More people are realizing the importance of free and independent media, especially local outlets. I’d say there’s been a shift in the types of outlets people are turning to for information, and a general shift in how the public view journalists and the media.
Along with this, outlets seem to be shifting constantly and layoffs of journalists are increasingly common. It’s a very tumultuous time in the media industry which directly impacts PR professionals and how we need to work with journalists.
Tell us what the last few months have been like for you work-wise. In what ways has COVID-19 impacted the PR industry?
I’d say COVID has been sort of a mixed bag for the PR industry as a whole. The need for good PR for organizations has never been higher, but the news cycle has been a challenge to break into for a lot of organizations. The newscycle is difficult to navigate and I think a lot of PR professionals are struggling to break through the noise with news and announcements that don’t have anything to do with the pandemic. It’s been a time where PR folks have to be more creative to be successful and more in-tune with what’s being talked about to not miss out on any opportunities or commit a PR faux-pas.
Have you noticed any new PR and marketing trends emerge during the pandemic?
Hot media topics have changed but the PR basics are still the same, and maybe even more important now. The same advice for being successful in PR endures: do your research, pitch the right people at the right time, and make sure your news is relevant and timely.
Can you tell us about a quote that inspires you and how it is relevant to your life?
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
People seem to be so concerned about what other people think, or how others will perceive what they say or do, that they forget that what’s important is doing the right thing in the first place. If you act in a way that you truly think is right, it’s easy to defend yourself against criticism, and if you’re not acting in a way that feels right, it’s never too late to switch gears. I try to carry this philosophy in my work and my personal life.
Can you give us a sneak peek of the apps that are most used on your mobile device?
When I look at my top used apps they are: Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, and Google.
Instagram is my go-to personal social media site, I try not to spend too much time on it but I also use it’s messenger function to stay in touch with groups of friends- so I’m not surprised it’s my most used. I’m also currently planning a wedding so I might be guilty of scrolling through pictures of wedding dresses or other wedding inspiration pictures.
Twitter is a great social media site for PR professionals. I follow the reporters I regularly pitch to stay up to date on the types of topics they’re interested in and any stories they may be working on. It’s also just a great way to stay in-the-know with current and developing news, especially since the news moves so quickly today.
I listen to Spotify quite a bit- I am always listening to a podcast when I’m doing chores around the house or cooking. I also love working to instrumental music so again, no surprise that it’s one of my top used apps!
If I come across something that I’m not familiar with I immediately have to Google it and find out everything I can about it- I often go into rabbit holes. I think doing research and taking in a lot of information is the best way to fuel creative pitches.
What are your favorite San Francisco restaurants?
When I first moved to San Francisco, I lived in Dogpatch so I had a couple of favorite spots there and in neighboring Potrero Hill. Plow is such a great brunch spot, and always worth the wait! I also love Neighbor Bakehouse for their excellent pastries and desserts, and Just for You Cafe is a neighborhood standby for breakfast and brunch- so if you’re going out to brunch, Dogpatch/Potrero Hill is the place to be!
When guests visit I always like to take them to Nopalito or La Taqueria depending on how fancy we’re feeling. I often have guests visiting from the East Coast so having them experience the classic Mission Burrito is a must.
If you could meet any influential person, who would it be and why?
Probably Chrissy Teigen- bonus points if John Legend could join. I’d love to cook a meal with her and talk about life. Mostly because I love to cook and bake and I think it would be really fun to talk about recipes and cooking with her, and also because she just seems like a fun person to hang out with!
Thanks Kaitlyn for your insights and helpful PR advice!
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