How do you know when your public relations company is for real? Is it when you land that first placement in a major glossy publication? Or is it when you make the investment in Cision? Maybe it’s when your clients reach the 1,000- 5,000- or 100,000-friend mark on Facebook. Or when you get to be on a first-name-basis with that hard-to-snag journalist.
While all of these events are fantastic signals of progress, I would argue that the moment is much more subtle. A public relations firm becomes official when it holds its first holiday party. For us, that was last Thursday.
It hit me as the four of us – Chanae, Jamie, Linda and I- stood at the tasting room bar at Dierberg Vineyard, sipping a star-kissed 2007 Chardonnay. Our holiday party consisted of touring Zaca Mesa Vineyard, having lunch at Petros in Los Olivos and later, tastings at a few wineries. Certainly, we had talked business. And of course, we’d covered personal stuff too. But the wines, the foods, and the talks we shared blurred the line so much that business and pleasure were nearly indistinguishable.
The hospitality industry is a tricky one. It’s easy to start believing that this industry’s sun rises and sets with the newest hot spot, the latest vintage, the ungettable get. But it doesn’t. Like everything, hospitality and public relations are about people.
As we four stood in that Westside tasting room, interweaving conversations about travel, old boyfriends, favorite recipes and (what else?) our desert-island wines of choice, we became official. Neither consciously striving to appease clients nor actively scheming to acquire more, we were simply enjoying the pleasures of the table together. If we can’t do it ourselves, how can we expect others to?