Blog Culture/Agency Life

‘Cuse Chronicles by a CEO – #TBT… on a Wednesday

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Phil NardonePresident & Chief Executive Officer

Last week at PAN, we did something sort of fun, we hosted on a Wednesday a #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) party. Over the past year, we’ve experienced a tremendous amount of growth here at PAN, both on the client and agency side. At one point, it seemed like every other week the lovely team Elizabeth was introducing us to a new face. As such, the PAN Brand Ambassadors, a group of PAN employees who have banded together to promote PAN and plan fun things for the rest of staff, thought a #TBT party would be a great way to bring the staff together and get to know a little bit more about each other. They appropriately and quickly assigned everyone to wear their college gear to the party and sent around a survey of fun facts, which was turned into a trivia game.

During the party, we all had a great time reminiscing about our college days while snacking on college-inspired foods and drinking cocktails some of us hadn’t seen since senior year. It was interesting to hear the different generations at PAN talk about what their college experience was like and hear how things have changed over the years.

As this year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary here at PAN, the party really got me thinking about how the public relations industry has changed.  PR has been particularly impacted by the shift to a more digital, mobile, and connected culture, meaning that the way we do our business is much different now than it was even five years ago. Each year when I start working on the syllabus for the upcoming semester, I always seem to be adding in a new topic that wasn’t discussed the prior year.

This change that the PR industry has experienced is something I talk about pretty frequently with my students. It is important to me that they understand what PR used to be like, why things changed, what that change means and what is to come. Here are five ways the PR industry has changed that I’ve discussed with my students recently:

Move Over Reporters

When I first started working in PR, reporters ruled the roost. However today, things are much different. Many publications, like Forbes, have transitioned to have a robust group of regular contributors. We’ve also seen other influencers arise in the form of bloggers, analysts and industry experts.

Here Comes the Data

There used to be no real way to track how many people read an article. Today, we have access to tools that tell us exactly how many people clicked the link to a press release, what they did with it, and the reach it had.

From In-Person to Over-the-Phone

Years ago, if your client was putting out a big news announcement, it usually meant you were planning a cross-country media tour, scheduling in-person meetings between an executive and top regional reporters from around the country. Nowadays, the majority of interviews take place over the phone or via video conference systems like Skype. CEOs no longer turn their nose up to phone interviews.

PR Got Integrated

PR agencies used to strictly be made up of PR professionals, however given the new demands from our clients who want more than media coverage or well-written white papers, people like creative directors, digital content strategists and social media experts are now walking the halls of PR agencies. We are on the hunt for our first VP of PANdigital.

Social Media Makes a BIG Entrance

This might be one of the more obvious changes but it is the one that had and continues to have the biggest impact on the industry and how we do our jobs. From teaching us to think like marketers to giving us a much needed lesson in customer experience, social media will continue to change the PR game.

Lots more has changed in our industry and in my life over the past 30+ years since I graduated from Syracuse. But, events like our #TBT cause me to pause and reflect.  I can still see my fraternity brothers at Delta Upsilon mixing some concoction with grain alcohol and claiming it was the best “juice” we’ve ever had.  VP Gene Carozza’s mixture on Wednesday night was a close second (just don’t tell him that).


This blog post is part of larger series, ‘Cuse Chronicles by a CEO, from PAN President & Founder, Philip A. Nardone, Jr., as he chronicles his experience teaching two capstones classes at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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