So this past week, I had the amazing opportunity to tour local PR agencies through a Maymester course I was selected to participate in at Kennesaw State University.
I intend on blogging about every single agency I visited, but I’m definitely going to start with one of my favorites, Porter Novelli.
As we were greeted by this sign and an almost breathtaking conference room view, Porter Novelli’s VP of HR, Tia Jackson, sat us down to tell us the beginnings and values of Porter Novelli.
A Little Bit of History
Porter Novelli was founded by Jack Porter and Bill Novelli, both of which were in advertising and worked for the Peace Corps. Porter Novelli’s primary goals are to change behaviors and raise awareness, and that is shown through their client list, which consists of mostly healthcare companies and public policy industries.
Among many famous campaigns, Porter Novelli is best known for creating the very first Food Pyramid campaign and the anti-smoking Truth campaign that began in the 90s. Jackson says that Porter Novelli’s offices still maintain the passion to bring awareness and change behaviors, and felt that the Food Pyramid and Truth campaigns did a fantastic job with that, and I am inclined to agree.
You want an internship? (Said like TrimSpa)
So Porter Novelli has a very unorthodox but very effective and professional approach to internships. Jackson says she won’t even look at the resume of a candidate unless they have had three prior internships, just so she can be sure that this is the industry they truly want to be a part of, which I totally understand. There’s no point in investing time and energy into an employee who might not even want to be within the PR industry, so making sure that this is truly what they want to do is saving your company and the candidate a ton of potential wasted time. Not a popular opinion with my peers, but I totally get it.
If you are fortunate enough to score an internship with PN, you are matched with a mentor to help guide you along the way, and the wonderful thing about this mentor is that they are usually a person who also went through the PN internship program, so they know from personal experience what it’s like to be in the intern’s shoes. I personally love that. Nothing in life feels better than having someone guide you through something they directly experienced and can tell you how to deal with certain situations and feelings and why specific events take place. As far as I know, it’s very unheard of for an internship program, so PN shows how ahead of the pack they are, even in their office culture.
Circles! (Not the Mariah Carey song)
So, as you may have discerned from what I have written so far, Porter Novelli seems to pride themselves on community and togetherness, and their “Circles” program is very telling of this.
So what are the Circles?
PN’s Circles are in-office groups that share a common interest or have a common goal that could either help the office or enrich their own personal lives. There are Wellness circles that focus on healthier practices and habits, and intern circles that focus on bringing the best interns possible into the office, along with a social media circle (!!!!!) that stays on top of the latest SM trends and websites, and even a prank circle that recently pulled an office prank and unplugged the in-office Starbucks machine. I imagine the reaction was a little something like this:
harsh language, but it illustrates the point.
Radar Room…not Panic Room. Not always.
So this wonderful control room on the right is known as the PN Radar Room, something exclusive to Porter Novelli.
What makes this room so interesting and cool (seriously, I couldn’t stop staring), is that there are 6 huge screens that showcase all the news outlets and people in the radar room watch these news outlets and track concurrent social media to give the results and reports to their respective clients on a case-by-case basis. Although PN doesn’t have a specific social media DEPARTMENT, the majority of their social media tracking is done in this room, especially during times of crisis or strife.
I don’t remember the name of the girl pictured, but she was on FIRE at the keyboard. Just in and out of all these programs, tracking information and in the zone. I was seriously in awe.
So the visit to Porter Novelli was amazing. From my previous interaction with PN representatives at multiple events and conventions, I had always wanted to work with this agency, and finally having the opportunity to tour the facility just ignites that passion even more.
While maintaining professionalism, PN doesn’t sacrifice quality of work or quality of workplace in their pursuit to be one of the best firms in Atlanta. The supportive office culture and circles environment certainly promotes a working relationship unlike any other workplace I have seen before.
Curious about Porter Novelli? Visit their website here and tell me what you like most about Porter Novelli in my comments!