Working Across Industry Verticals

As we finally ditch our winter parkas in New York and prepare for the warmer months ahead, I’ll attempt to philosophize about a quintessential part of summer: ice cream. Many people divide themselves into camps: is your favorite vanilla? (A refreshing and sweet flavor and my personal preference.) Or is it chocolate, cool and rich? Each flavor gives a distinct experience – but when you want to have the best of both, the classic chocolate-vanilla swirl offers the beauty of each individual flavor while also creating something new together. 

The ice cream debate reminds me of how each The Bliss Group practice group is like a different ice cream flavor that, when combined, creates a swirl of new possibilities. 

When I first started at Bliss, I was placed on three accounts: one in healthcare, one in professional services and one in financial services. By serving clients in each practice group, I got to try my hand at numerous elements of PR, from media relations to content writing to social thought leadership. Having clients across these different spaces led to a diversity of work assignments and experiences – I could be writing a byline about health equity one day and pitching insights about a Federal Open Market Committee meeting the next.  

Each practice group builds unique PR strengths and mindsets, but the most powerful part of working across industry verticals has been pulling these lessons together to apply them in new contexts. Here are some of the best transferrable lessons and skills I’ve adopted from each industry that have been applicable to clients in other fields: 

Healthcare: A Scientific Mindset to PR 

Working with my healthcare clients has demonstrated the importance of integrating data into a story, whether it be a short LinkedIn post or an 800-word byline. Since my healthcare account represents doctors and other medical executives, it’s important that our communications are guided by evidence-based assertions and a scientific mindset. I’ve become more comfortable navigating medical research from trusted peer-reviewed journals and studies from government bodies. For one byline for a healthcare client, I even did my own calculations using Census data to give our piece the context it needed. My healthcare accounts have taught me the importance of verifying data, finding trustworthy and evidence-based sources and using numbers to tell a broader story – skills that have been extremely useful for my clients operating in other industries. 

Financial Services: Dealing with Change 

In financial services, things can change drastically and quickly – the latest numbers can indicate a new direction for the economy, banks can collapse, companies can go bankrupt. Today’s volatile landscape means that it’s important to stay up to date on the news. For my financial services account, I’ve learned how to monitor for the latest news stories by scanning newsletters and staying on top of the economic calendar, so the client can enter important moments of conversation. This proactive mindset has helped me identify pitch topics for my other clients as well.  

Professional Services: What’s Your Story? 

As our professional services co-leads Keri and Ken said at this year’s Bliss ReGroup, the professional services sector is all about what story you tell your clients. My professional services experience has made me more aware of the client’s audience and better able to intuit what experience they’re looking for. It’s a skill that’s made my work with my healthcare and financial services clients more successful too. I’ve learned the importance of defining your audience – whether it be institutions or individuals – and identifying what they want from your client before starting each new piece of content or media strategy. My work for my other accounts has been strengthened because I’ve honed in on the message we want to send to each stakeholder group.  

A Swirl of Possibilities 

Though each industry has taught me unique insights, many of the skills I’ve built have been transferrable across contexts: my experience with healthcare clients has made me a better resource for my professional services and financial services clients, and vice versa. Though I’m starting to find my personal preferences and identify which industry spaces I enjoy working in the most, I am also enjoying this early phase of my career, where I’m building a variety of skills that I can carry with me across any industry vertical. It’s been an exciting journey to see the new possibilities that arise when the lessons and flavors of each practice group are combined into a fulsome experience.  

By Hailey Oppenlander

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