Fender’s Manager of Communications Shares Her Tips for Upcoming PR Pros
by Amber Batchelor
A guest speaker in a public relations class is a treat but it's even more exciting when it's a prestigious, PR professional that happens to be a CSULB alumni. Heather Youmans is an award-winning, multi-talented, dynamic PR expert that truly embodies a variety of qualities that she's developed while working in public relations and marketing.
Heather currently is the in-house Manager of PR and communications at Fender. Over the course of her 14-year professional career, Heather has accomplished greatness at the young age of 25.
I couldn’t be more intrigued learning about Heather’s road to success and these are the three takeaways I felt most valuable for upcoming PR professionals.
1. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
Before Heather’s current position at Fender, she was an Account Executive at Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), one of the largest PR agencies in the world. At the time, Heather was working on the account team for Fox Home Entertainment and they were preparing to release a DVD Blu-Ray of the movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was Heather’s team’s responsibility to come up with an unique marketing idea.
Thinking outside the box, Heather presented the idea to build the Grand Budapest Hotel out of Legos as a marketing strategy. The Lego idea sparked because Heather worked at LEGOLAND in the past and was reminded of the life-like replicas of buildings, built out of Legos. Even though her creative idea was not chosen right away, she always brought up the Lego idea for every potential strategy until finally Heather’s idea was chosen. With the help of Heather’s past colleagues and connections, H+K built a Lego version of The Grand Budapest Hotel that was made out of 50,000 Lego pieces, weighed 150 pounds and stood seven feet tall and 6.5 feet wide.
This campaign earned Heather’s team a PRSSA Prism Award, ranking in the top-3 best-selling Blu-ray during release week and features in Ad Week, PR Week, Yahoo, Forbes, and Reuters. If it wasn’t for Heather’s confidence and creative plan, The Grand Budapest Hotel Lego replica might not have happened at all. Heather’s goal behind her strategy was to engage the existing Wes Anderson fans, create new fans and to stand out from the competition. She did exactly that; with her out-of-the-box idea.
2. If you can, work at an agency before working in-house
When a peer asked the question, “In-house PR department vs. PR agency?” Heather proclaimed that working in an agency has given her a breadth of experience, which has led to all opportunities she has today.
Crediting her curated skills and leadership to her diverse PR experience working with multiple accounts, Heather says this is the best way to learn the industry. She advocates that working in an agency has motivated her to feel she can accomplish almost anything. Heather’s past work experience includes working with multiple high profile clients and Fortune 500 brands at H+K Strategies.
3. Be passionate about what you do
Throughout Heather’s entire presentation, you could feel the passion she has for all the work she’s accomplished in public relations and marketing. Heather might have had some adversities but she’d make it evident that these too helped her in a positive way. Her excitement about different campaigns, consumer marketing and media placements exemplified what it looks like to love your job.
Heather is a perfect representation of a passionate PR professional. Her enthusiastic conversations about her rich PR experiences electrified my peers and I, to be passionate about our future careers. Heather Youmans’ road to success and passion for this profession is what every PR professional hopes to achieve.
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