Member Profile: Isaac Kos-Read
Meet Isaac Kos-Read,
President, Kos Read Group, Inc.
We periodically feature veteran and new PRSA San Francisco members and tell the story of their public relations career. If you would like to suggest a PRSA San Francisco member for a profile, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why did you join PRSA and what is one of your favorite benefits that the organization provides?
I joined PRSA to stay abreast of the crazy fast pace of change in PR. Every day it feels like there is a new tech platform or tool for telling better stories, managing clients and projects, or measuring our impact. I look to PRSA for trainings, advice from colleagues, and information about the latest to stay on top of the rapid change. I also hope to expand my network of colleagues and contractors as I grow my civic-oriented firm and assemble teams for specific projects.
You have been in PR for over 16 years. Share a few ways it has changed over the years and where you see it going.
In the nearly two decades I've been in PR, I've seen some major changes. The biggest is of course the shift to digital. For every dollar you have for a campaign of any sort, you have to be committing an increasing share to digital. I've also seen a move toward greater integration of the many subspecialties - public affairs, marketing, PR, and even government affairs at least attempting to work in greater coordination for complex organizations and projects. We’re definitely also living a continued shift to social and omnichannel, decentralized communications further facilitated by the continued ascendance of mobile technology.
Tell us about one of your most memorable experiences during your career.
When I was leading external affairs for the Port of Oakland, I remember finding out that Occupy Oakland had decided to shut down the Port after the conclusion of their General Strike in 2011. There was no stopping it – we had two days, they were expecting (and indeed saw) tens of thousands of people, and truth is as a governmental agency in a progressive area, there were mixed feelings about the right approach. So what could we do to ensure everyone's safety while making it an educational opportunity about the jobs and economic impact the Port contributes to the region? At the end of the day, we were able to do both, ensuring minimal disruption, no major injuries or damage, and getting people to understand that the Port was where the 99% work.
What’s your best advice to the new generation of PR professionals?
Notwithstanding the pace of tech and change, which we of course need to stay on top of, there remain tried and true elements to long-term success both professionally and in the larger sense: build authentic relationships (with clients, reporters, etc.); focus on compelling stories; and hold firm to your ethics and integrity, recognizing that PR can help shine the light on the truth rather than mask it. In our current, scary times, the latter is especially important.