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7 New Year PR resolutions for you

So how is 2024 looking so far for you? Have you stuck to your resolutions, or are you beating yourself up for failing already? Or perhaps you think that resolutions are not for you. Every year, PRmoment likes to find out how PR people are planning to improve themselves, and their businesses.

Last year, other resolutions, our pundits vowed to have a dry January, go on long walks and water their office plants. This year, plans range from not wasting time on unnecessary tasks to spreading joy.

1. Say ‘no’ more often

Lottie West, global head of PR at PR agency Fox Agency: “One of my first observations when I started out in PR back in 2006 was just how many stakeholders there are. I remember as an exec the challenge of balancing the needs of clients, journalists, and internal leaders. It often felt like walking a tightrope. ‘No’ was not in my vocabulary - the golden rule was to say yes and make it happen.

“Fast-forward to 2024 and the world is (thankfully) a very different place. And the role that agencies play has evolved significantly. As an industry we have managed to elevate the value of comms and demonstrate the importance of our counsel. We are no longer order takers and implementers, but trusted advisors driving commercial outcomes for our clients. And in the spirit of consultancy, my resolution for 2024 is to say ‘no’ more often. No to leads where the investment plan is guarded like a state secret. No to vanity metrics. No to campaigns which aren’t rooted in insight. No to budgets which underplay the value of PR. As comms professionals, we play a key role in supporting our clients in navigating unprecedented challenges, and we should trust the value of our consultancy and feel empowered to say no.”

2. Be brave, confident and spread joy

Ella McWilliam, co-founder and CEO of creative communications agency Full Fat: “I love the practice of setting new year’s resolutions - opting for things I’m going to do and never things I will abstain from. Each January I optimistically type into my phone notes with the hope that this will be the year I regularly check in to keep me accountable. Chances are I don’t open it again until December, with curious trepidation about what I actually committed to.

“Past resolutions have included running marathons, reading more, getting strong, going to more gigs, learning German, giving back and so on. This year I set myself the goal to find the joy in my work, admittedly a very privileged goal, but something I hold high as a priority for how I want to live my life. It’s not been totally straightforward in a world that has a lot of darkness right now, but I’m rounding off the year feeling all the feels for Full Fat and what we’re achieving and where we are going. What made this year different? Committing to learning and development outside of what we know, creating and actioning a plan, split via quarterly targets and holding ourselves to account every step of the way.

“So what’s in store for 2024?

Being braver

Stepping into my power

Spreading the joy

“Let’s go!”

3. Integrate AI more

Yvonne Maher, managing director of PR agency Cognito: “My new year’s resolution for 2024 is to integrate AI more into my daily work schedule and encourage my team to do the same. If we can use AI to be more productive, creative and effective as team, we can focus on what really matters to our clients, which is great ideas, campaigns and results. Examples where we are identifying use cases include using Adobe’s suite of AI tools for image creation, leveraging Microsoft’s AI tools to be more productive and leveraging generative AI. We recently launched a secure ChatGPT called Cognito GPT to all our team globally, ensuring the highest level of security from Microsoft Azure whilst utilising the same model as Open AI. It means I can tap into the machine power of Open AI without putting private data at risk.

“We are also building an AI product using our owned and third-party data. This product will be able to help us with AI-enabled tasks such as drafting briefing notes, press releases, messaging positioning and support on competitor analysis.”

“I did dry January in 2023 and I’m doing it again this year - a good chance to reset before the busy awards and conference season begins in earnest again. We’ll be gearing up for Money 2020 in Amsterdam in June and Sibos later on this year in Beijing. And last year my intention was to have more productive meetings and be better prepared with a clear agenda for every meeting; an ongoing intention for 2024.”.

4. Work on my own business

Francesca Baker-Brooker, communications consultant at expert network And So She Thinks: “Inspired by a friend I’ll be spending the first half an hour of every day working on my business. I realised I spend so much time on client work and furthering other people’s businesses, I neglect my own. This might be social media engagement, pitching, working on proposals, updating my neglected website, CPD and training, or reviewing my brand. It will all start with a big audit of what I’m doing and where I can improve, possibly with a glass of wine to make the process smoother. I’m also hoping to get to more networking events. It’s a great way to learn, meet new people, and have fun in the process. So if anyone wants to hit me up for some London events, let me know!”

5. Spend more time with journalists

Mike Maynard, managing director of B2B agency Napier: “After a tough couple of pandemic years, my new year’s resolution for 2023 was to smile more. I’m not sure if I achieved it. I hope the team at Napier would say I did sometimes, but I am pretty sure there were many times when I failed to live up to my start-of-year optimism…

“In 2024, I want to spend more time with journalists. From a personal point of view, I found that Covid and remote working made us all a little more transactional. If I’m super-critical (and I am) then I’d probably say my focus has swung a little too much towards our clients.

“That’s a real pity. I believe that journalists and PRs should help each other. My resolution is to take a little time to understand what my friends in the media need, and doing more to help them. Of course, I’m hoping that it will produce more opportunities for our clients, but even if it doesn’t, I know that I’ll have some great conversations and hopefully a few lovely lunches too.”

6. Bring back some sparkle

Lorraine Calvey, Calvey Communications: “I said 2023 would be the year of failure. Not as dramatic as it sounds. I was giving myself permission for things not to work out; to try new things, new avenues, new adventures and be okay with it if it wasn’t for me or wasn’t a huge success. But then reality sets in and I can’t say I made the most of my year of failure, tending to stick to trusted and safe routes. But this has resulted in me being way too inside my comfort zone that it’s actually quite uncomfortable and limiting.

“So, for 2024 I’m spinning it on its head and calling it the year of sparkle. I want to do things both personally and professionally that bring my sparkle back, that make me remember who I am and how good life can be. I can’t give a definitive list yet but it’s going to include studying, learning something new, making new connections, working on things I’m truly passionate about and maybe most importantly being brave and saying no to those things that dull the sparkle.”

7. Network more

Leah Jones, deputy managing director at agency CommsCo: “The tech PR space has such a dynamic ecosystem, and in 2024 I plan to dedicate more time to networking and being part of this community. From ramping up our own events to carving out time for industry conferences and awards, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. That’s not to say that I was a hermit in 2023, but more time should be spent out and about in the coming year. 2023 was tough for the industry, and bringing the community together is integral to re-building confidence.

“Another resolution is to be more creative in the kitchen - limiting my staple dishes and trying to be more adventurous when it comes to food!”

And last, and least, here is why you shouldn’t worry about resolutions at the start of a new year -

Luana Ribeira, founder of agency Dauntless PR, says: "I didn’t make any resolutions and I won’t be this year either. I believe that the best time to make a positive change is last year and the next best time is now!"

Image credit: iStock/LanaSweet

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