As one of the true communications leaders, Laura Tomasetti has navigated the disruptive media landscape to 360PR+ into a highly-respected PR agencies. Under her leadership, 360PR+ has been named an Agency of the Year, Best Place to Work and earned honors for creative, breakthrough campaigns. Individually, Laura has been recognized as a PRWeek Champion and has served on the Board of Directors for the PR Council.
Laura will bring her insight and expertise to the Publicity Club of New England on Nov. 3 when she participates in a Masters’ Institute panel titled: “Creating Teamwork, Not Tension, in a Collaborative Environment.” The program, which is designed for senior level communications professionals, will focus on one of the primary challenges agencies and brands face today:
In advance of the panel, Laura took a few moments to provide some insight into the topic.
The evolving communications landscape, and path to optimizing success, demands cross-disciplinary experience and collaboration. What are the challenges and opportunities in achieving it?
We have more ways to reach and engage, and to add value, than ever before. To maximize the opportunity for clients and our agencies we must be expert at the full sphere of communications strategies and touch points available to us today and, at the same time, willing to collaborate when there are other resources in place. There’s no room for egos or individual agendas if we’re going to be successful.
This approach requires teamwork, but it also can create tension? How do you balance the two? And when is tension healthy, when is it destructive?
It’s important to have all of the right parties at the table to start, including internal and external communications stakeholders. That gives everyone an equal opportunity to learn about the challenge or opportunity and to contribute. The kick-off meeting, and the larger process, needs a champion — a true leader who’s adept at listening, at asking questions, and at inspiring and recognizing all participants. If you can, take budget off the table, at least initially. That will enable everyone to dream a little, instead of worrying about what ‘piece of the pie’ they’re going to end up with.
Does collaboration occur by decree? Organically? Or some other way?
I believe you have to engineer collaboration to an extent. It’s not enough for us to talk about integrated communications and not take steps to fully integrate our organizations. If there’s not a thoughtful approach to collaboration, you run the risk of having lots of terrific specialists who don’t know how to work together.
How have you fostered a collaborative culture and how critical is senior leadership in realizing success?
Collaboration has to start at the top to really pervade every corner of an organization. People need to see the most senior level executives meeting together frequently, respecting each other, and having fun together. You can also remove physical barriers. At 360, we don’t have doors, for example, and all of our people share space. That creates a different kind of dynamic from the outset.
What mistakes do brands and agencies make in making this a reality?
That’s a great question, and there are probably many answers. From my view, one thing that can trip up both an internal organization and agency is losing sight of the over-arching goal and getting caught up in tactical executions. It’s not about PR. Or digital. Or a series of events. It’s about the audience – and what they want – and moving the ball forward, together.
Interested in this program and others like it?
The Masters Institute is a private, invite-only event for PR practitioners with at least 10 years of experience. These events are free for members and first-time non-members. Check out our program archive to learn more.