I am an unapologetic cat lady and a very hopeful future dog mom. With five years of pet parenting under my belt, which has aligned seamlessly with my five years of PR agency experience, I have come to find some unexpected similarities between these two full-time jobs.
There is no greater feeling that bringing home a furry, four-legged friend who looks at you with absolute adoration. Even better is the feeling of giving them the most amazing life possible; full of treats, toys, cuddles and pictures to capture every moment. In order to give our pets the life that we think they dream of, it also takes time, responsibility, routine and complete commitment.
Throughout my years raising my two cats, Tank and Jet, I’ve learned invaluable lessons on pet-parenting and what is needed to successfully give them the life they deserve. Below are three of the undeniable parallels I’ve found that connect being an amazing pet parent and being an astounding PR pro.
Create and Adhere to a Routine
One of the most crucial commitments as a pet parent is developing, and sticking to, a routine that fits your pets needs. As a mom of two cats, they are very reliant on their feeding, cleaning and sleeping schedules. If I am not up to give them their breakfast by 8:30am or home to feed them dinner by 8:30pm, I am quickly greeted by two sets of paws scratching at the door, walking across my body and loudly meowing until I give them the meal they are waiting for. Similarly, the cats start to drop hints as other tasks are needed, whether this is a refill on their water bowl, a fresh scoop of litter, or cuddles at their regularly scheduled times – as dictated by them.
As a PR consultant, expectations for routine are necessary at work as well. Clients often rely on their PR team to update them in real time on current events, recent media coverage, new social media trends and more. Getting into a consistent routine that works for both the client and your agency allows for a seamless working relationship in which you know what the client needs from you, and the client knows when they can expect ongoing deliverables.
As important as it is to develop a routine, nothing is more paramount than sticking to the schedule. Consistency shows your client that you are reliable and gives them the confidence they need to put their PR needs in your hands completely.
Predict What’s Needed Before It’s Requested
As a cat mom, I’ve quickly become acutely aware of my cat’s behaviors, communication style and mannerisms. Having a well-rounded understanding of their personalities allows me to be able to identify unusual behaviors, that may indicate they need medical attention or additional care.
For example, when Tank began showing areas of balding, which had never happened prior, I immediately jumped into mom-mode and made her an appointment at the vet. To my dismay, she was dealing with increased stress and anxiety, which I was unaware could happen to a cat, which was causing her to bathe uncontrollably and ultimately, pull out her fur. Luckily, with some medication and adaptations to her routine, the issue was quickly resolved, but had I not anticipated her needs, the situation could have worsened significantly.
By incorporating this proactive way of thinking to your work in PR, you are ensuring that you will be able to provide forward-thinking recommendations and expertise to your client without them specifically requesting it. This not only proves your value and commitment to the clients goals, but shows your strength as a communications expert. By displaying a driven and forward-thinking work ethic, you are establishing your expertise in elevating the client’s strategy in ways that ultimately drive traffic to their platforms.
Make Every Interaction Memorable
As is an unfortunate fact, the lifespan of our four-legged friends is much shorter than our own. Personally, this feels like a huge injustice that no pet-parent should have to live with, but such is life. Understanding this makes it of the utmost importance to make every interaction with your pet a memorable one. As the saying goes, your pet may not be your whole life, but you are theirs. Whether this means bringing home special treats for the birthday they don’t even know they have, or spending a few extra minutes cuddling them even though you have other work to get done, it all adds priceless value to their lives, and in turn, enriches yours.
Although a relationship with a client can last a lifetime, it is our responsibility as industry professionals to do everything in our power to prove our worth to our clients, to ensure a longstanding working relationship. There will always be another agency that can replace you, so making every meeting, phone call, strategic plan and social media post one they won’t forget will be your ticket to remain their agency of choice for the long-haul.
By bringing creative ideas to the table in every discussion, being present and engaged in every conversation and utilizing your network to advance the mission and success of your client, you will leave them thinking of you as an indispensable asset that is vital to their organization’s future.
Use Structure as a Foundation for a Successful Relationship (pet-parent or otherwise)
By creating a routine you can stick with that offers a sense of predictability and reliability, anticipating needs before they realize they need them and going above and beyond to make your mark on their lives on a regular cadence, you are equipping yourself with the tools needed to be a top-notch pet parent and an unrivaled public relations expert.