From The Rock

Staff Spotlight – Kelli Brignac

By | November 01, 2019

Our office is full of SEC alumnae, so it’s only fitting that one of our fall staff spotlights would be riddled with football references. Kelli Brignac – our colleague who works remotely from Lake Charles, Louisiana – has been enjoying a season of dominating performances by her LSU Tigers (and their stud of a QB Joe Burrow), but her PR skills and leadership qualities have always been Heisman-worthy in our book. In this month’s staff spotlight, Kelli breaks down PR schemes and tactics in a way only a true football fan could.

In recent years, we’ve seen AP change its ruling on “over” versus “more than” and allow % to replace “percent.” What AP style standard do you think will fall next?
Ugh. They’ll go with whatever people complain about the most. I honestly think I could get them to adopt the post office state abbreviations instead of spelling them out in sentences if I started enough Twitter accounts to advocate for that. Actually, that might be next thing given how many people make the mistake!

What’s a rookie mistake that PR professionals make, and how can it be avoided?
I think the biggest challenge for anyone in their first job is professional maturity. I encountered the issue, and pretty much everyone does. I think the best thing to do is to listen more than you speak. Don’t be afraid to offer new ideas – I love the fresh ideas some of our youngest Obsidianites bring to the table. But take the lead from the professionals who came before you, too. To that end, older professionals – just because it’s the way we’ve always done it doesn’t mean we can’t (or shouldn’t) change!

Fill in the blank: I wish I hadn’t focused so much on _______________ early in my career.
What others thought. (That’s a life lesson, too.)

What do you think about TikTok – worth the investment for businesses or too early to tell?
I’m watching it, but I’d say it’s a little too early to tell. It depends on what “investment” looks like for an organization and who the audience is.

If it’s a significant investment (like a whole new staff person or agency retainer just to handle it), probably not yet. If it’s just testing with your existing social staff, give it a go! But there have been so many platforms to get popular but not really take off for businesses, so I’m hesitant to recommend committing significant new dollars toward it just yet.

Also, pay attention to your audience! TikTok users are, for the most part, significantly younger than the other major platforms. Middle schoolers, for example, use TikTok but not Instagram, even though Insta has long been the “younger person’s” platform.

It’s a great year for LSU football! What are your odds that Joe Burrow wins the Heisman?
Hey, hey, hey! I’d say “Burreaux” has a pretty good shot. According to last weekend’s comparison of the top four contenders, he’s ahead in all the stats except one (number of touchdowns). And even in that stat, he’s only down by one. Even if he doesn’t win, I’m still enjoying watching a powerful offense. It’s unlike anything we’ve had in recent memory.

If you could go back and add one fictitious course to your PR curriculum, what would you add?
No fictitious courses. Real ones. I would require speech classes for everyone (public speaking and interpersonal/small group)! PR people have GOT to know how to interact one-on-one AND in front of a crowd. I pursued a minor in communication studies simply because I thought the extra 15-20 hours of speech communication classes would benefit my future career. In my exit interview with the counselor, she asked what I’d change about the curriculum, and I told her I had no idea why I was required to take four histories and zero speeches 🤷. Plus, in my small group communication class, my teacher taught us the most effective way to break up with someone. So, life skills.

Try any new crock pot recipes recently?
Crock pots are so 2000-late. I’m all about the Instant Pot now. That may or may not be because I often forget to defrost meat for supper. Heading into cold weather, I’m ready to make some tortilla soup — the best of the “dump” recipes!

What’s the biggest difference between being a family of three and a family of four?
As a family of three, it’s pretty easy for mom and dad to each get some “alone” time. For dad, that meant playing golf. For mom, that meant Winesday and a Bachelor fantasy league. As a family of four, we’re on man defense. When the grandparents take one, we thoroughly enjoy how “easy” it is to just have one (even though we thought it was hard when the first one came). We’ve talked about having a third, and my husband’s first question was “are you any good at zone defense?” I figure if I’m a good enough coordinator, we can make anything work 😉. *channels inner Dave Aranda*.