Mr. Reilly has one of the best PR philosophies I have yet to hear. As he and I delved into a conversation outside Panera Bread, I asked how he gains recognition in public relations area. He responded, “I treat everyone like they are my clients.” He elaborated that the best networking principle he uses is simply treating everyone with respect and curiosity regarding his or her situation. Doing so, Mr. Reilly is “planting the seed of goodwill.” Eventually, someone will need PR or marketing services and a friend or family member will recommend Mr. Reilly, simply because he treated him or her with respect and professionalism. This was the start of an enlightening conversation, and one of the best breakfasts of my life.
Mr. Reilly received a BS in Journalism from Suffolk University, pursued a few internship opportunities in the journalism world, returned to school at BU, earned an MS in Communications, then started his own company. His business, Reilly Communications has remained small for over a decade, but as he explained, that size has fit him perfectly. He works every day of the week, mostly in his office, and almost constantly in his head. Mr. Reilly likes to do the busy work, and said he could never picture himself as a figurehead for a massive firm. He has one man working for him full-time and one outdated website (which is being updated with the latest technology and programming and should be running shortly). Investment firms, nonprofits, construction companies, media outlets, and new technology co.’s compile his portfolio of clients.
His methods are as unique and effective as is his history. Blending the PR and marketing world is Mr. Reilly’s specialty. He knows how to ask the right questions and how to give advice in a complimentary way. Mr. Reilly is tuned to the contingency theory of PR, concerning particular clients and their audiences. “Broad” and “general” are not in his professional vocabulary nor do they describe his finished products. He stresses giving a client only what he or she asks for cannot satisfy him or her. Instead, he likes to use the creativity of marketing to form the perfect message, and although there is much trial and error involved, he enjoys the challenge.
Instead of describing Mr. Reilly’s character further, I will relay one of his experiences. A few years ago, a friend sent him an opportunity for a high-paying VP position at a successful PR firm. While researching the position, Mr. Reilly was directed to the position’s benefits page. He found a figurative essay of benefits from bonuses to weeks of vacation to company perks. Many would accept the position without hesitation, even if it didn’t have any benefits. Instead, Mr. Reilly turned the firm down and referred it to an equally qualified peer. I was baffled by this story, but when he explained his reasoning, I not only understood, but also respected his professionalism and passion for PR. He simply explained that PR is always being perfected, so if he took the VP position with long vacations, he would get twice the income for a fraction of the quality work he could offer. Sounds like heaven for most people, but obviously Mr. Reilly is not like most people.
If you considered a PR firm a pyramid, then the CEO and dominant coalition would be “finders” of new clients, the campaign managers would be “minders”of new strategies, and the employees or interns would be “grinders” of grunt work. Mr. Reilly could potentially be all three, though he does not need to find clients because his professionalism and personality brings them to him and he has an employee to work on items he assigns, so what remains? …He is a “minder” at heart: constantly working, constantly being creative, and constantly perfecting his ideas. He always keeps his vision central to his business.
Though Mr. Reilly mostly works with an older generation of clients, he is current with all forms of communication. He has formed new media relationships, worked with social media outlets, directed e-marketing programs and incorporated video into many of his projects. Though Mr. Reilly doesn’t have teams of social media experts broadcasting his client’s company or achievements, he has previously teamed with the proper resources and added subtle features to traditional campaigns to keep the interest of a younger public, while maintaining the loyalty and standards of an older one.
I get the impression Mr. Reilly has seen all sides of the communications field, even though he is a middle-aged man with many more years to give the PR community. You may never hear of him as the next CEO or founder of a fortune-500 firm, but that is by his own design. Mr. Reilly would be much happier quietly perfecting some project or bolstering equally small companies in an effort to find satisfaction in his work and their success, not just to turn a profit. He is a PR and marketing guru, and the immeasurably worthy of your time and a cup of coffee, should you ever have the honor of meeting him.
To see more about Mr. Reilly, see his site: www.reillycommunications.com (soon to be updated)
Also, here’s a link to a video by one of Mr. Reilly’s clients: Bioengineering Group