What media relations taught me about brand purpose

October 8, 2018

media relations and purpose

Before starting my business, I spent part of my career at PR agencies focusing on media relations. Not all PR professionals enjoy media relations, but I loved it. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realized what years of media relations taught me about helping companies define their brand purpose.  

Executive Vision

I think one of the reasons I came to love media relations was because I was often given the opportunity to work with senior leadership. Whether it was interview prep, media training or the actual interview, I was given an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the CEO or another senior-level exec.

I understood early in my career how valuable this time was. I was always over-prepared, asked good questions and listened more than I spoke. I took a lot of notes, underlining interesting soundbites, statistics or personal stories that would help with the next pitch. Over time, I also became attuned to their vision, the company’s business objectives and how the marketing strategy could support both.  

My Brand Purpose Takeaway: Start in the c-suite. Today, each project I work on includes an interview with the founder or CEO. Brand purpose permeates all aspects of the business so it’s important to me that it’s fully in-line with the executive vision.


One of the greatest benefits of doing media relations work for years was that I learned to write concisely. When crafting a pitch, I had to keep it short; to say as much as I could in as few words as possible. I learned to filter out irrelevant information and focus on nuggets that would capture a reporter’s attention and prompt a reply.

My Brand Purpose Takeaway: Keep it simple. The benefit of defining your organization’s brand purpose is to have a focused and succinct view of your brand. When you do this, it becomes something that everyone in the organization can understand, remember and share with others.

Prioritize What’s Most Important

The key to writing more concisely was learning to prioritize. I would identify the most important information and organize it in a way that was newsworthy, engaging and actionable. This skill has helped me throughout my career and was likely a precursor to what I’m doing today.

My Brand Purpose Takeaway: Prioritize. Keeping it simple means succinct but it also means honing in on a singular purpose. With this in mind, I designed my process to be a funnel. I start by gathering great amounts of information and then keep distilling down until we reach the brand purpose.

What about you? Are there aspects of your career that are serving you now in a new role? I’d love to hear your stories.




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Karen Bailey is a brand purpose consultant and specializes in helping companies define their purpose and align their business around it. In 2017, she launched the blog, Purpose Greater Than Profit, to start a meaningful conversation about the increasingly important role of brand purpose, purposeful leadership and a better way of doing business.


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