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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.

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On the Case with Steve Cody

July 1, 2011

Steve Cody is the co-founder and managing partner of strategic communications company Peppercom, Inc. where he’s responsible for overall agency direction and management, new business development, new product development and agency marketing. Since co-founding Peppercom in 1995, Cody has authored numerous thought leadership articles, delivered speeches on social media issues and trends, and written a book on sales. Cody was recently named one of Northeastern University’s 100 most successful alumni. (Twitter: @RepManCody)

Name:  Steve Cody

Childhood ambition:
To play center field for the New York Mets

Current livelihood:
Running Peppercom, Inc.

What changed (i.e., how you became interested in public relations):
My co-op experiences at Northeastern University introduced me to public relations. It was love at first sight. Plus, I couldn’t hit a curve ball.

First public relations job:
Junior account executive at Hill & Knowlton

What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
That it’s OK to fail if one learns from failure. I’d have taken far more risks earlier in my life if I’d understood the importance of failure.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
Help young people so that when they reach your level of success, they’ll feel compelled to do the same thing.

Greatest professional accomplishment:
Building a $15-million strategic communications firm that encourages risk and innovation, and learns from failure

If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
Conquering Aconcagua, Denali and other summits I’ve yet to attack

Desired legacy:
Always found time to help others and never, ever took himself seriously

Make a “business case” for public relations:
We own conversations. We understand better than any other marketing discipline how to engage in conversations and, critically, how to create compelling messages that will be passed along because they’re relevant and informative. That trumps advertising any day of the week.


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