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On the Case With…

Each month, as part of “The Business Case for Public Relations,” PRSA asks an industry leader to reflect on his or her career and make a “business case” for public relations.

More from “On the Case With…”

On the Case with Geri Allen

November 3, 2011

Geri Allen is manager, corporate and brand communications, Pepperidge Farm. She provides editorial management and content for PF Forum, manages the company Twitter handle and works on social media initiatives. Allen is also on the Marketing Review Board and is a member of the Social Media Advisory Council.

“The holiday season is Pepperidge Farm’s biggest selling season,” she says.  “From our stuffing and holiday cookies to our Puff Pastry and seasonal breads. Pepperidge Farm could never support each of our products with advertising or promotions — public relations allows us to promote more products and reach a broader variety of consumers.”

Name: Geri Allen

Childhood ambition:
To be a vet — until I learned what it involved

Current livelihood:
Communications manager at Pepperidge Farm, wife, mother of four (two humans, two canines), fashion lover, avid gardener, antique hunter, sucker for dogs

What changed (i.e., how you became interested in public relations):
I majored in broadcast journalism and wanted to be a reporter. When I covered the police beat, I didn’t have the stomach to stick a microphone in someone’s face and ask how they felt when a tragedy occurred. Public relations allows me to be involved with media, but in a more positive way.

First public relations job:
The Rowland Company working on DuPont fibers — I loved that it was about fashion, clothing and designers.

What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
That there would be a large part of my day dedicated to something called “Twitter”

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
To always follow your gut and to sweat the small stuff — public relations requires attention to a lot of detail

Greatest professional accomplishment:
Representing my client, VTech Toys, during the “Today” show’s annual toy drive

If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
Living on a tropical island and owning either a clothing boutique or a flower shop

Desired legacy:
Passionate PR person, amazing wife and mom and lover of life — or, according to my son, the one who made Goldfish crackers

Make a “business case” for public relations:
Public relations is a critical component of the marketing mix, especially with the explosion of consumer engagement in the social media space. It’s no longer about pushing messages out to media and hoping those messages stay intact. Now, it’s about delivering those messages directly to our consumers.


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