We found out last week that we did not win a PR Couture Bespoke Communication Award. We submitted several months ago for “Best Agency To Work For,” and while I’m bummed, I’m shifting my mindset to focus on the positive. Instead of wondering what could have been and yearning for a more desirable outcome, I’m choosing to celebrate what I learned through submitting, and if you will, the benefits of not winning. Because, honestly, nothing really changes just because we didn’t win. If anything, it provided me with another incredible platform to learn and grow, as a business owner, mentor, publicist, and human being.
+ It reinforced that I employ the best of the best
Part of the application was to include testimonials from employees. I needed to submit three, but at the deadline, I had five. Reading the testimonials from the women I’ve employed over the years made this *very* unemotional Capricorn *very* emotional. As a business owner, it’s one thing to think that you’re creating a unique environment that fosters kindness, creativity, growth, opportunity, and collaboration, but it’s another to hear that you’re actually doing it. ACPR wouldn’t be what it is today without all of the incredible women who have come through these doors. And I’m eternally grateful to Caitlin, Emily, Casey, Bailey, and Sarah for taking the time to put pen to paper and share their experiences with me and the judges. You have made it easy for me to want to provide you—and future members of ACPR’s girl gang—with the most incredible working environment and the very best benefits I possibly can.
+ It gave me the chance to refresh our brand identity
As publicists, we preach the importance of a strong brand identity to our clients. But when I initially sat down with the application, I realized that ACPR’s identity wasn’t as strong as I had previously thought. The application process gave me the chance to really sit with the brand and explore where we are now at year seven, where we were at launch in 2010, and where I want to be in the future. I was able hone in on our mission, values, and our point of difference—all things I’ve wanted to do for years but never could seem to find the time for. And boy did it feel good. Like gooooooooood. Beyond the feeling, it infused new life into the business, and I know having a strong and clear identity only benefits employees, clients (current and future), editors, and brand partners. Timing-wise, it couldn’t have been more perfect, as if you’ve been following along on IG, you know we’re in the midst of a rebrand! Be on the lookout for a new website this summer.
+ It forced me outside of my comfort zone
I’m not good at vulnerable. Putting myself out there means opening myself up to criticism. And I’ve got the “disease to please” (thanks to goop I have a name for it), so flying under the radar for the last seven years, intentionally not submitting for opportunities like this felt like my favorite pair of sweatpants. So comfortable (and forgiving if you eat too much at dinner). Keeping my head down would prevent me from giving my imposter syndrome a soapbox to ask all of the questions. Like, what if they don’t like me? What if they don’t like ACPR? What if we don’t win? It’s always been so much easier just to skip the vulnerability altogether! But a long time ago, someone very wise told me that if I’m not a little bit scared, then it’s not worth it. And that every day as an entrepreneur is a little scary, so get used to it! So I forced myself out of my comfort zone and applied. And you know what? It turned out ok. I’m still here. ACPR is still here. And we’ll still be here in the future.
+ It showed me how far we’ve come as a company
As I’m sure you saw in my post earlier this year, six years has come and gone so fast. We’re no longer a new or “startup” agency, and it happened in the blink of an eye! This application gave me a prime opportunity to take a tour down memory lane, and I got to really see just how far we’ve come. ACPR’s humble beginnings, with just me and three clients in the guest bedroom of my home, has evolved into a bonafide company with employees, freelancers, interns, 12+ clients at any given time, and an office space (that’s very pink) that I am so incredibly proud of. I get to do what I love and I get to work with the people and brands that I love while still learning, growing, and being challenged. I’m truly grateful for this journey and consider myself insanely lucky that ACPR is my company.
Win or lose, don’t forget that it’s all about the journey. And we’re just getting started. So stay tuned for so.much.more.
P.S. Huge congrats to our friends at Victory PR on their win for “Best Media Placement!” Proud of you, Andrea!
Allyson Conklin is ACPR’s founder and dogmom to three rescues: Whitney, a 12 year old border collie mix from Arkansas that Allyson adopted when she was living in NYC, Macon, a three year old yellow lab mix from West Texas with a heart of gold, and Amos, a two year old spitfire border collie mix who was a total surprise.
Photo courtesy of Cassie Rosch, Photographer