As a member of the Twitterverse for 14 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. One of my new connections is Bridgette Borst Ombres from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I invited her to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A about public relations and brand messaging. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.
A former TV news reporter turned PR and marketing professional with 15-plus years’ experience, Bridgette Borst Ombres left Corporate America during the pandemic and turned her side hustle into her main gig. Founder of The Commsultant, a boutique PR agency, Bridgette explains that B2B tech leaders and larger PR firms around the world hire her to consult on media strategy, thought leadership, and communications plans. Bridgette has media-trained more than 350 spokespeople and spearheaded communications efforts for a variety of companies from early-stage startups to large, multinational corporations. In addition, she is passionate about professional development, and over the years, has worked to place hundreds of students and young professionals in internships and jobs around the country.
QUESTION: According to Daniel J. Boorstin, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” As a PR professional, how do you interpret that quote?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: Every business leader and brand have a unique collection of experiences, distinct values, and attributes.
Savvy PR pros are naturally curious and skilled at peeling back layers to uncover the beauty, marvel, authentic, and relatable experiences in executives and brands. They’re gifted storytellers who can paint your true picture with words.
To me, PR isn’t about "dressing up" the mediocre or crafting an ingenuine message. It’s about sniffing out the compelling, untold stories or brand attributes and knowing which parts resonate most with which specific audience.
SHARE THIS: Savvy PR pros are gifted storytellers who can paint your true picture with words. ~@BridgetteBorst #PR #DebbieLaskeysBlog
QUESTION: What first attracted you to the field of public relations?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: I stumbled into a career in public relations and marketing while I was still working as a TV news reporter. I wanted more flexibility and creativity in my job, but still had a strong desire to keep my finger on the pulse of news, information, and storytelling. Through my network, I discovered I could earn my master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications online from West Virginia University. That terrific program introduced me to a wide range of marketing communications and job opportunities, including traditional public relations.
QUESTION: You were featured in an article for Business Insider entitled, “I cut my weekly work hours down from 70 to 20 after realizing the impact it had on my kid, and it's put me on a better career path.” Can you please share highlights?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: Leaving Corporate America six months into the pandemic to prioritize family and more flexibility has been one of the best decisions of my life.
The turning point for me to re-evaluate my priorities was when my toddler started imitating me on back-to-back Zoom calls. At that moment, I realized I wasn’t giving her the best version of myself and needed to make some changes. After transforming my side hustle in PR consulting into my primary source of income, I’ve maintained a much better work-life balance.
(Full article can be found here:
QUESTION: Please share your three favorite PR campaigns with reasons why.
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: Airbnb.org’s Ukraine campaign was a great example of how brands stepped up to support refugees. Airbnb partnered with international and regional nonprofits and governments to secure housing for up to 100,000 refugees free of charge.
As a female founder and mother to a little girl, Mattel’s New Career campaign for Barbie and Dove’s Real Beauty campaign were both so powerful in spreading positive messages, fighting toxic beauty standards, and celebrating women.
QUESTION: How do you think public relations aligns with branding and social media?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: PR, branding, and social media all help shape the PERCEPTION of the business and share some of the same foundations such as research and writing. But, while PR and social are about managing key relationships, branding is centered on identity.
The lines between traditional PR and various areas of marketing have grown thinner and thinner. Today, communicators need to think more holistically to ensure that all promotional activities across the marketing mix are aligned.
QUESTION: What are your favorite brands, and why?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: I’ve been hard-pressed to find brands that deliver more consistent, quality products and service than Costco and Cover Girl.
My gratitude to Bridgette for sharing her public relations, brand storytelling, and messaging insights.
Connect with Bridgette at these links:
Image Credit: OnyxRain.