We are Christina and Peter Pilarski founders and leaders of CIPR Communications.
Christina was always very interested in current events and always knew she wanted to be a journalist when she grew up. Writing was something she was very passionate about. She always liked English and social studies and ended up doing her degree in communications studies with a focus on media.
She remembered sitting in a lecture one day thinking to herself that she didn’t want to be the one asking questions, she wanted to be the one with the answers. At the same time, she had begun to become quite heavily involved in politics. One role in particular – Chief of Staff really sparked her interest. So when she finished university she rediscovered what she wanted to do and this motivated her to take her master’s and study further because she felt she still had more to learn.
Her thesis centred around politics but it was looking at social media at the time when Barack Obama was elected president and the use of social media leading up to that that really sparked her interest. It seemed at the time that the person with the most Facebook group members seemed to win more votes.
It was this notion of online marketing and how it was changing elections, and two interesting bills in legislation at the time that were being debated – one was education-focused the other was electricity-focused and how the public was reacting to it on social media that made her interested in exploring the field of digital marketing even more. It was also how public policy was changed or not changed based on social media engagement and social media’s role in public policy development that made it the focus of her thesis.
Fast forward to a role where she really got to practice her expertise helping member companies develop social media policies. Most of them had never ventured online yet. They didn’t have an online presence. This is where she first got schooled in persona development and why that was so important.
Politics, in general, has been a great training ground for both of us in terms of being in a position to run an agency because politics is usually at the forefront of a lot of social changes and technology, and Christina was in the middle of all of that as it was busy developing and all of those changes transitioned her into the leadership role that she now has in our company.
The biggest thing she has learned is the importance of strategy and building and executing tactics based on that that makes a difference for our clients.
Focus on your expertise
Our history in politics really taught us that you can’t please everyone all the time and a lot of companies struggle with this.
Our advice to you is to focus on what you’re really good at – you can’t be everything to everybody and if you want to be everything to everybody you’re probably going to end up being nothing significant to anyone in particular.