In 360PR’s 10th year, we are celebrating by sharing some of the things we’ve learned along the way in a “10 minutes with…” series featuring interviews with our practice leaders! Last time we chatted with SVP of our Entertainment & Electronics practice, Stacey Clement. Now we’ve sat down with Victoria Renwick, SVP of our Healthy Living practice, to learn more about her and some of the trends she has spotted over the past 10!
What are some of the trends you’re seeing in the Healthy Living practice?
One of the most significant trends we’re seeing is the stepped up role consumers are playing in educating and empowering themselves before they make a purchase. So much is happening before the consumer gets to the grocery store or other store or considers an online purchase. Yes, price is still a consideration, but there’s a lot more that factors into what we buy these days. This presents an opportunity for brands to act as educators, resources and connectors, instead of marketers.
How important is it for brands to “go green”?
The term ‘green’ has been thrown around pretty freely. Brands were calling themselves and their products ‘green’ or ‘natural’ and the public, for the most part, took that at face value. Consumers are more cognizant of green washing now and are making brands more accountable for their claims. People are more aware of how to read labels and investigate the products they are bringing into their homes – and certainly there are a proliferation of resources at consumers’ fingertips to help. I love the Environmental Working Group site – The Skin Deep section is especially eye opening and a great place to decode confusing labels for cosmetics and health & beauty. The Organic Trade Association is also a great resource consumers can turn to for the latest news on organics and legislation as well as practical tips.
Green business practices are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but an expectation. We expect companies to be conducting business in a way that is ethically sound, better for the environment and better for us as consumers. A broad spectrum of CPG companies and food manufacturers has sustainability plans and goals in place to quantifiably demonstrate how they will be greener in the coming years. It’s all a step in the right direction.
Are there any particularly memorable 360 moments that stick out in your mind?
The way 360PR has been a leader in the social media space stands out to me. Being part of that evolution over the last three years has been really exciting. 360 was one of the first agencies to really get the mom blogger space. We started connecting bloggers and brands in high touch settings like our Blunch™ series. That was right around the time I started here.
We’ve worked on some really fun campaigns over the years too. Just recently we were teaching the country to can as part of National Can-It-Forward Day, a campaign we created for the Ball® brand. From grassroots to top-tier media, we really struck a chord with people looking to eat more fresh and local year round.
You spent a good part of your early career in the event-planning industry. How important do you find events to be to your client work here at 360PR and for public relations in general?
Events are part of our 360 full-circle approach. We’re an agency that does events and does them well. Events offer brands a high-touch, relationship-building forum with consumers and consumer-influencers, and that’s important as part of an integrated strategy to engage consumers. At 360, we always have something exciting on tap – whether it’s cooking in the Muppets’ Kitchen or solving the Rubik’s Cube on the National Mall! It’s also important to keep the formula fresh – virtual events via Livestream & Facebook help us extend the reach of ROI of a client’s investment in a physical event.
As the head of 360PR’s healthy living practice, have you found that your client work has had a significant impact on your personal life?
Absolutely. I’m so lucky to be exposed to the type of clients we have and the resources and knowledge that comes with them. We’re PR practitioners but we’re also consumers. Keeping on top trends for clients, you can’t help but take what you learn and apply it to your personal life.
For example, we conducted a speaking tour recently with food activist Robyn O’Brien on behalf of our Stonyfield Farm client. Robin’s a mom of four who compiled a staggering amount of information about our broken food system. As a new mom, I was a sponge, soaking up everything she had to offer. I’ve bought her book, The Unhealthy Truth, for everyone of my friends who is a mother. It’s just too important not to share!
We also work with PBS KIDS. When my son is ready to start watching TV or go online, I feel lucky to know what to look for when it comes to healthy, educational media. And as a busy mom, I really do rely on our clients’ services to make like easier. I use Peapod for grocery delivery every week (it’s a lifesaver!) and I do my family’s meal planning through Allrecipes.com. This summer I planted a (small!) garden, started composting (it’s surprisingly easy!) and joined a CSA too – all things I probably wouldn’t have tried previous to heading the Healthy Living practice.