Name of Professional: Paula Steurer

Profession/Title: President and Founder

Business/Company Name: Sterling Public Relations

Date of Interview: 26 October, 2017

Interview Assessment #5

I greatly enjoyed my conversation with Ms. Paula Steurer; she was highly invested in the interview, and I could tell she was ready and willing to share her knowledge with me. As the founder of her own PR firm, Ms. Steurer was able to offer me insight into what building a business and building a brand from scratch is like.

Ms. Steurer had a very different perspective on public relations than my previous interviewees did. Instead of focusing on crisis management and interacting with consumers, she focused on creating and refining the holistic image that comes to mind when consumers think of a brand. Elements that I never even would have associated with PR, including colors, interior design of the brand’s physical office, social media presence (even on unique, lesser-used sites such as Pinterest), and website design, all play a part in making up the face of a brand. Ms. Steurer’s PR practice, unlike any I had seen before, was centered around tailoring all aspects of a company to reach a certain goal, attracting exactly the audience they want to attract, and putting out a clear message with all of the material they produce. This, again, reminded me of the varying nature of public relations; this industry and its strategies vary greatly, but any approach is a valid approach as long as it accomplishes the company’s goals. It also reminded me of the omnipresence of the marketing umbrella, and even moved me to begin exploring how different elements under the “umbrella” impact and interact with PR.

Furthermore, Ms. Steurer further educated me on the skills necessary to be successful in public relations. She, like my other interviewees, stressed the importance of being a good communicator and a good writer, but she also suggested some new skills, such as being educated on business practices. Business practices are obviously a huge part of a PR professional’s life, as their entire career is dedicated to maintaining the business’s reputation and ensuring that all goals of the business are met. Being familiar with the inner workings of a business can provide a PR professional with unique knowledge that may make them essential to a team, and thus provides a “leg up,” if you will. Thus, I will do my best to begin familiarizing myself with the goals and practices of businesses. Another skill Ms. Steurer mentioned was learning how to communicate and collaborate with other related professions. As she works with companies to build their brand on all fronts, Ms. Steurer collaborates with professionals ranging from the expected, such as journalists and marketing professionals, to the quite unexpected, including interior designers, construction workers, and building managers (of locations in which a client will be holding an event). She said that learning what these people need from you, what you need from them, and how to best communicate to make that happen will help expedite the process and make working together more efficient for all parties involved.

Leaving my interview with Ms. Steurer, I am reminded of how different PR can look to each individual company or firm. While the focus of each may differ, the fundamental goals and ultimate results are the same, and there are multiple approaches one can take to arrive there.