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'Create content people want to see': Beyond the Brief featuring Steve Radick, Brunner

Steve Radick, VP, director of public relations, Brunner

Advertising courses — and agencies across the country are starting to reflect the growing need for integrated marketing, where people like Steve Radick, Brunner’s vice president and director of public relations, have just as much say on the creative output as creative directors.

A perfect example of this: the Pittsburgh agency’s work for local brand 84 Lumber, one of this year’s biggest Super Bowl surprises. The campaign his team created wasn’t just a splashy debut for a national audience, but a poignant statement that wove inclusion, immigration and blue-collar values seamlessly for the millions that saw it. “The Journey Begins,” it’s YouTube-only follow-up (which crashed the client’s website) and accompanying social presence was a critical PR tenet of fostering good relationships with consumers through elevated advertising.

It’s also a testament to Radick’s career. A native son of Pittsburgh, he spent the better part of a decade at firms Cramer-Krasselt and Booz Allen Hamilton before joining the Brunner in 2014.

Along with 84 Lumber, he helps oversee integrated work for other Huffy and Owens Corning, among others. He also holds the post of president of PRSA’s Pittsburgh chapter, spoken at events for UBM TechWeb, and had his words published in Entrepreneur and others. Radick brings the same sort of Steel City pride, passion, and intensity to Brunner as his favorite teams (naturally, the Penguins, Steelers and Pirates) do night after night.

A publicist who has a love for integration, one who brings consumer and client together through compelling content, Radick has forged a life beyond the brief.

What keeps you sane in this industry? What keeps you driven to do great work?

The worst part of my job is sometimes helping to create marketing that works for the client, but what, as a consumer, I consider bad advertising. Banner ads, pushy lead gen tactics, and a glut of social media posts begging for likes - there's so much more positive impact that we can and should be having in this industry, but every day, I'm reminded how much further we still have to go to get there.

What is the least pleasant aspect of your job, and why?

The future of advertising lies in creating content that people WANT to see, that people WANT to consume. I'm a PR guy —that's what we do best. The growing integration of the PR perspective into the creative process is what keeps me motivated. We're the ones who are driving the creation of advertising that is not only effective, but is newsworthy and shareable as well.

What skill/personality do you have that draws colleagues to you?

I've always had an ability to connect with people. From millennial home buyers to hardened four-star Generals to affluent sports car buyers, I can put myself into their shoes and empathize with them. That allows me to then apply and share that perspective with our teams so that we create content that really resonates.

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown? What (in)tangible thing have you taken from there?

My favorite thing about Pittsburgh is the people. There's no pretense when you talk with people from there — just a genuineness that you don't find anywhere else. I've carried that with me everywhere I've gone. Some people say I've got a talent for communication, but I think it's much less than that. It's just who Pittsburghers are — we're easy to talk to and we're able to make friends wherever we go.

What non-advertising things do you draw inspiration from?

Sports. I draw inspiration from seeing the work, the dedication and the passion that athletes put into their craft. When I see those athletes raise that championship trophy and see their emotions take over when they realize they've achieved everything they've been working for, I wish that I had that same passion for my job and that same payoff.

To celebrate its 100th Anniversary, the 4A’s has partnered with us at The Drum to pull back the curtain and look at an industry full of problem solvers, creative types and analytical minds. But what keeps them going once the briefs are written, the campaigns executed, and the pitches won (or lost)? We’re interviewing 100 people at 4A’s member agencies — across all disciplines, levels, regions, and agency types — to get a glimpse into what drives them at work and what fuels them in life.

To pitch someone from a 4A's member agency for Beyond the Brief, please complete this linked form.

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