PR Legend: Kim Hunter


This post is part of The Plank Center’s Legacies from Legends in PR Series that was begun in recognition of the 40th Anniversary of the Public Relations Student Society of America in 2007.Kim Hunter

Kim L. Hunter is the CEO of LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS, a multimillion-dollar integrated marketing communications agency. He has an extensive background in brand marketing and strategic positioning, crisis management, media community and government relations. Hunter brings 36 years of corporate and agency experience in advertising, marketing and public relations.

It has been a little over four years since I decided to take a tenacious public stance regarding the lack of diversity in our profession. I identified a major issue in our industry that needed to be addressed. So, I made the strategic choice to go directly to the source of the issue and create a call to action. Making the choice to write a letter, get it published by an extremely popular publication in the industry and sign it to the CEO’s of some of the top agencies in the world is a perfect example of how I practice public relations. If I could capture the essence of my approach to this business in three tips for future public relations professionals they would be to, take initiative, push the envelope and most importantly be inclusive.

Take initiative  

The first step to any communication plan is identifying a need or an opportunity. This is the step that everyone is aware of which can make it both very simple and very difficult. Simple because it is usually obvious what trends are occurring in society and as a professional communicator, you see those and react. However, the difficulties lie in the fact that there are many other communicators just like you who have also identified the same trends. This is when it becomes imperative to take the initiative. As soon as you recognize an opportunity or in my case, an issue, be the person to make the first move and make sure it is a recognizable one.

Push the Envelope

In my letter to the top 10 agencies in the world, I stated that the entire industry ‘lacked courage.’ This statement, among the rest of my assertive letter, shocked the media. The publication in which I was featured for the letter specifically said my statements “rattled the industry as never before.” However, if I had played it safe and made general comments to a general audience, my letter would not have caught nearly as much traction as it did. More importantly it would not have reached the people who needed to see it the most, the CEO’s with resources to make change.

Be Inclusive

Last but certainly not least, you must make sure that everything you do is inclusive. Having the responsibility of professionally communicating on behalf of others is extremely complicated. It involves balancing between your voice and the voice of someone else. You must also consider all possible reactions of your communication from both your intended audience as well as the many others your message reaches. Some companies run into major crises due to the lack of consideration and inclusivity of their messaging. In order to avoid one of those inexcusable reputational nightmares, ensure your message is including as many types of people as possible. I say ‘as many’ because no message is perfect and there will always be at least one person unhappy with your decisions. However, one unhappy person as opposed to an entire race, sexual identity or religion.

Published: April 5, 2019