Caroline Burks, Executive Director of Laurel Mainstreet and owner of Guild and Gentry, spoke to members of the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM) during their monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 21.
Burks’ presentation, “Telling Our Home Town Story: Publicity and Promotion” highlighted the founding and evolution of The City Beautiful as well as its recent return to the spotlight.
Burks noted that while “you can’t control what people say about you, you can lay the groundwork for how people receive the information that they get about you.” And that, according to Burks, comes down to good storytelling.
Burks focused on how to craft a compelling brand story and noted that Laurel’s founding families did just that when building their lumber town into a great place to live. More recently, residents and business owners have continued to build on that story. So much so, that the city now plays host to a popular television show, a thriving business culture, and a renewed interest in community development. The key, she said, is creating a vision and believing in that vision. “You have to believe in it so strongly that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she explained.
PRAM is a professional organization for public relations practitioners. It is a part of the Southern Public Relations Federation and has chapters throughout the state.