PRSA Portland Metro Chapter

How a Car and a Watch Remind Me of the Big Picture

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May 15

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How a Car and a Watch Remind Me of the Big Picture


Mark Mohammadpour, APR

Senior Communications Strategist
PRSA Portland Metro President Elect
@MarkMoh

This Friday is a special one for the public relations and communications community in the NW region. It’s the 20th PRSA and IABC Communicators Conference. Held since 1996, hundreds of professionals in attendance learn the latest in communications trends and best practices.

A lot has changed in our industry since 1996. We email pitches instead of faxing them. Or maybe we just send out a DM tweet instead. We don’t rely on ad value or impressions as metrics. And our mobile devices require us to be available at 5:00 a.m. as much as at 5:00 p.m.

All that said, two things have not and will never change about our profession:

  • We’re a critical business function.
  • We’re about building and managing strategic relationships.

My point: just because new technologies come and go, we can’t forget why we’re here in the first place.

Let’s take cars and watches, as examples.

Last week, my friends at GM let me drive a 2015 Chevy Equinox for a few days. It’s a great SUV that’s easy to drive and a lot of fun. I was sad when they came by to pick it up.

Of course, the Equinox has bells and whistles. Back in 1996, power seats and windows were bells, air conditioning a whistle. Today, it’s Bluetooth calling, navigation, lane departure systems and USB charging, among others.

But nothing has changed with what’s really important when we drive a car; that we get from one place to another safe and sound. We can’t take for granted when we’re driving our car, big or small, cheap or expensive, that it gets us to our destination safely.

I was also fortunate to have played around with a new Apple Watch for the last couple weeks. There are a lot of reviews, so I don’t have to tell you that you can call taxis, read recipes, ask when the Timbers game is on, view your Instagram photos and make calls.

But, can it tell time? Yes, and very well. At the end of the day, isn’t that what’s most important?

So, I ask you, my fellow communicators, don’t forget what makes our industry tick.

Sure, it’s important to know that Snapchat is planning to launch a news division, Twitter might buy a mobile media news application, and Instagram now allows brands to create carousel ads.

But much like driving a car or wearing a watch, what’s important for our industry is that we remind ourselves the value we bring. Cars get us places. Watches tell time. Communicators tell the story.

We can’t take for granted what makes a respected communications professional. We help ensure that businesses and organizations get their stories told to the right audiences at the right time.

Never forget the big picture.

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