Taking a Leap

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This is my last blog post. This Friday will be my last day working for YUI+Company.  

To try and summarize what I’ve learned and observed over the past four years would be impossible. Yes, my writing has improved and my press wrangling skills are sharper, but there are other things too, outside of what you think about when you think about PR.  

As someone who came of age with social media, I know just how vital it is to modern communications. But it is only a tactic, one that needs to be backed up by a deep bench of content. In turn, that content has to be grounded in values. It’s a significant investment for clients, especially when they need something as complex as a white paper. One of our clients launched an Internet access managing tool online navigational tool for teachers and needed a lot of content quickly to help differentiate them in an already saturated field. We were able to create a series of white papers for them, which contributed to a solid foundation for marketing communications and identity branding. The white papers ended up being evergreen, with utility in email marketing campaigns three years running. The papers allowed them to position themselves as more than just an edtech company, but as a company that truly cares about the educational experience, along with digital citizenship, student safety, the digital divide, productivity, differentiated learning, and other aspects of outgrowths of the integration of technology into the classroom. That helped them connect more authentically to bloggers, who have absolutely no interest in being sold to but want to explore meaningful solutions for students and educators.

My work at YUI+Company has taught me about the power of authenticity. Our clients have one thing in common:  they’re working to make the world better. It’s up to us to make sure their stories get told, authentically. In the cleanteach space, we’re not fans of greenwashing to engage investors, journalists or customers. When we approach messaging for a client, we make sure anything going out is grounded in the company’s core values. It is not enough to tell you why the technology makes a difference; we have to believe it too. Anyone can rattle off a list of features or endorsements, but that doesn’t make for engaging content. I’ve learned to push harder and to go deeper when thinking about the impact our clients can have. It’s not always easy to talk to clients who need to turn a profit into this type of higher-level thinking, but it always pays off.  

Leaders always respond positively with this type of thinking when you can tie it back to profits and potential. Sometimes they have blind spots that prevent them from seeing their own light. It is our job as communications professionals to reflect it back to them. We worked with large, legacy institutions to identify how they could connect in sectors more meaningfully, on important global challenges, from packaging to diversity to women’s and children’s health. Through my work, I have learned to link something basic, like packaging or concrete, to the bigger picture, like access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa or reducing CO2 emissions. Truly remarkable communications make these links effortlessly.  

My biggest take away from my work at YUI+Company is to live my values. When you anchor in something that is real and true, it radiates out. Not only does it inform the way I approach communications, but the way I approach my life. Light attracts light. Investing time and effort into a deeper purpose will always pay off in the end. I’ll take these lessons with me, from Eagles parades to canvassing sessions to book club.  

It’s been a pleasure Selling My Soul.

Molly Devlin