Earlier this year, we welcomed PR pro and tech maven Nicole Murphy as our new executive vice president. She hit the ground running (so much so that we could barely hold her still to write this blog!) and has been invaluable for our team.
As we round out the end of 2023, we sat down and picked Nicole’s brain on her background, why she was excited to join Greenough, her plans for our rapidly expanding tech practice, and predictions for 2024. Read on for her insights (and cute dog pics!).
Tell us a little bit about your background? What brought you back to agency from in-house?
I started my career on the agency side and spent many years at firms focused on technology and life sciences. When I moved to Silicon Valley a few years back, I had the opportunity to move in-house at a global public company. This experience was invaluable, as I was able to gain a deep understanding of how internal marketing and comms departments function and how comms initiatives can truly move the needle on corporate goals.
When Greenough’s President, Nikki Festa O’Brien, reached out with this exciting opportunity at Greenough, I knew I couldn’t say no! I love the fast-paced nature of agency life and getting to dip my toe into so many different industries. Coming to Greenough feels like returning to my roots in the best kind of way. Plus, it’s a really exciting time for us, as we’re experiencing growth and expanding our tech practice!
What are you most excited about in joining Greenough?
The people! Both the internal team here at Greenough and our clients have been amazing to work with. Everyone is so smart, collaborative, and creative! I can already tell that we’ve got a dream team here and are poised to do even more great things in the near future!
We’ve already seen a lot of interest in our tech practice over the last few months. Where else do you see opportunities for growth?
It’s a really exciting time in tech and there are so many cool companies in areas we support including AI, clean/green tech and semiconductors, to name a few. Personally, I’m passionate about real estate/prop tech and cybersecurity – two areas where I have a lot of experience. I’d love to see us expand in those areas as well.
At a time when so many organizations have limited resources, what’s your most compelling argument for the importance of external communications?
I love this question! In my mind, external comms has two huge advantages over other marketing vehicles – it’s relatively affordable and it adds a huge amount of credibility for a brand. Anyone with the money can buy a Super Bowl ad or a billboard in Times Square and millions of people will see it. But it will cost you a tremendous amount of money and may not have the desired impact. On the other hand, if a person reads an article about your company in The New York Times, they’re going to walk away with a good idea of who you are, what you do and why they should know your name.
What advice would you give to in-house teams looking to bring on a PR agency or maximize ROI from this partnership?
There are two big pieces of advice that I would give. First, it’s so important to think about your agency as an extension of your own team. The more access, information, and resources that the agency has, the more empowered they’ll be to deliver great results. The second piece of advice is to look for the right fit. Find an agency team who understands what you do, is passionate about it and shows up with energy and excitement.
If you couldn’t work in PR, what would you be doing?
It’s hard to imagine doing anything other than PR! A little fact about me: I knew I wanted to do PR in high school and selected my college based on their corporate communications program. If PR wasn't an option, I love to cook and entertain, so I’d probably be doing something in that space -- maybe write a food blog or go into event planning? I briefly considered going to law school, but decided I would have more fun in PR!
What’s been one of the most notable highlights or PR win in your career so far?
Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really great media outlets. And while landing The Today Show or Good Morning America is an amazing feeling, it’s sometimes the smaller, more impactful hits that mean the most. For example, landing a profile for a startup that led directly to sales for the company or put them on a VC’s radar for their next funding round. One specific piece that stands out for me was an NPR segment about helping homeowners protect themselves against the risk of flooding amid climate change.
What’s one prediction you have for communications in 2024?
I think we’re going to see a lot more M&A activity next year. We had several years where money was basically free, but the Fed’s tightening cycle means that it’s getting harder and harder to fund a business. Without easy access to money, a lot of companies will be looking for an exit. I’d love to see the IPO market bounce back next year, but I think the market is still on edge and there are a lot of questions around how to appropriately price IPOs.
On the tech side, I think 2024will be a year of reckoning for AI. Last year we saw nearly every company jump on the AI bandwagon, many without stopping to think about the associated risks. In 2024, I think we’ll see some real consequences of this (sensitive data leaks, deep fakes, etc.) before we come back down to earth and realize that AI provides a tremendous amount of value, but that it must be handled with care and human intervention.
Thank you, Nicole, for sharing those insights. We can’t wait to embark on 2024 with you helping to lead our team forward. And now, as promised, a few highlights from Nicole – including highly anticipated dog pics.
Greenough is absolutely an extension of our PR team and they’ve had no challenges in navigating the complexities of a highly matrixed organization like Sodexo. They’ve been instrumental in telling our story in the New England market and beyond and as a result, our partnership continues to evolve and expand.
Digital Communications and PR lead for Weavr Health
The Greenough team has been instrumental in helping us with our Marketing and PR projects. They truly care about our business and we see them as part of our team. Their expertise and background has helped us flesh out many ideas to avoid missteps before they happen. Not only are they intelligent and nimble, but they are a pleasure to work with.
CEO, Arbella Insurance
Our Greenough team has excelled in learning our business and our challenges and has been extremely effective in developing and executing a PR strategy that helps drive our success.
Global Marketing Communications & Public Relations, Wolters Kluwer
Our Greenough team has been a strategic asset in sustaining targeted growth in our PR and external communications. The team really operates like an extension of our internal team, aligned and effective. They've deftly balanced the needs of multiple sub-groups' objectives and needs, getting great results in the publications our customers read.
Director of Marketing, Anika
Christine, Ben, Angela and the remainder of the Greenough team are amazing and continuously exceed expectations. They are a true and trusted partners of our organization and consistently go above and beyond. We are grateful to have the team at Greenough as one of our valued partners and look forward to working with them for years to come.
Chief Communications Officer at GlobalFoundries
It is hard to believe that we have been working together for less than a year. Our Greenough team joined us at the most exciting time for our company and they have been invaluable. Greenough has built a strong relationship with our CEO and others throughout our organization. They are my trusted advisors, and I am looking forward to all that we will accomplish together.