2019 marks a very big milestone for Konnect Agency, and as we celebrate a decade of being in business, it’s important to put into perspective exactly how special this achievement is for any business. Statistically, approximately 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first four years and 7 out of 10 businesses fail within the 10-year mark. As we reflect on this, it’s important to note that while we still have a lot to learn, there are some very solid reasons why we are still here. For a decade, we’ve been applying our know-how and passion for supporting businesses we love and deeply believe in. We’ve been leading conversations about wellness, innovation in food, spotlighting trends, positioning thought leaders, establishing new business ideas and developing our national presence as a go-to, reliable public relations agency.
So, what are the secrets to our success? It comes down to a few simple things.
- It’s about more than work.
Ask any employee, especially the executives at Konnect, and they’ll tell you the work goes well beyond work. It’s all about the relationships and finding meaning in how we support the people we represent. For example, last week we headed to Expo
When you’re fortunate enough to work side-by-side with brand leaders and innovators doing amazing things and are surrounded by the kind of talent we’ve been extremely fortunate to attract at our agency, it doesn’t seem like work at all. Sometimes even the tough times and shared roller coaster of a campaign can make the connection with colleagues deeper and more meaningful, and the successes all that much sweeter.
- Be a company that is clear on purpose.
We didn’t always have our values prominently displayed or set in stone. When Konnect was founded, it was based on some simple beliefs, a lot of determination and openness to learning along the way. Ten years later, as we’ve grown and developed strong direction and leadership, our values have become clear and are integral to who we are as a company. Excellence, Flexibility, Passion, Positivity, Integrity
- Play to people’s strengths.
In public relations, we’re in the business of people. As our industry has evolved and the many ways we can tell a story have become more complicated to pursue and measure, it has become important to embrace the many facets of what our people bring to our organization — to acknowledge when there are new needs and talents that are required to keep up. In 2009, when Konnect was in the infancy stage, there was some level of parity between the number of PR practitioners and journalists, and the connections were productive and collaborative. It was relatively straight forward – you pitch an idea or product, the pitch is received and then becomes a story or the beginning of a conversation about a potential story. Ten years later, media is splintered, there are many ways to tell a story and some journalists have even switched sides to become publicists themselves.
Now, with social media, digital marketing and other disciplines working together with traditional media relations, it’s important to step away from building corporate structures vs. function and team-based structures. We are constantly evolving and changing in in order to keep up with the media landscape and the needs of our clients. We have been developing a strengths-based approach that allows us to best tap into our people’s talents in order to serve the people we represent most effectively in order to truly impact their business.
- Be fearless.
For some business owners change is a very scary thing. The fear that you might break what’s working keeps many businesses from adapting to the times, and this is probably the biggest barrier to success. As I’ve stated previously, the media landscape has changed immensely in the past 10 years and what has kept us strong is not being afraid to make mistakes and take risks as we adapt. As our clients have grown with us, they’ve relied on us to support more areas of their digital presence, marketing and communications, and we have moved into building expertise in these areas, experimenting with new approaches without fear that it might not work.
When you won’t accept no as an answer because you believe in yourself completely, you can do anything. The no-barriers mentality of our CEO, Sabina Gault, is directly correlated with the success of the company she has built. Knowing how fear can impact our lives, understanding that every failure is an opportunity to learn and perfect what we do as a company and being okay with being uncomfortable are just a few ways we’ve grown so quickly. She has built a team that is undaunted, ready to go out there and pursue bigger and bigger opportunities again and again and again knowing that, eventually, it will pay off for all of us.
Looking back, there are so many examples of why we love what we do and why we continue to thrive. What worked for us ten years ago as a maverick team of publicists is very different from what works for us today as a nimble team of communicators, digital media specialists and creatives, but we are still here because ultimately we’ve created a culture that encourages people to love what they do, and that’s the ultimate prize.