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Scott Lorenz: President and Founder of Westwind Communications

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''It is imperative that I manage expectations. Everyone can imagine being interviewed on Oprah,'' Scott Lorenz proclaims.

Yes, everyone may want to promote his or her product, book, or new CD on Oprah, but the real work of a publicist begins when he or she must meld that hope with reality and find a venue that is feasible and effective.

"People need to understand that success can come in many ways by being interviewed by numerous media outlets," adds Lorenz.

Lorenz graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management. While he did not undergo any formal training in the field of public relations while in college, he did hold various positions, such as student body president and activities chairman, which allowed him to become familiar with public relations and marketing.

After overseeing the public relations activities of several companies after graduating from college, Lorenz founded his own PR firm in 1980. Today, Westwind Communications, based in Plymouth, Michigan, creates and implements communications strategies for clients ranging from doctors and lawyers to inventors and authors. Moreover, the firm has produced coverage for media outlets such as The Today Show, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.

In his role as president, Lorenz meets with potential clients to determine their needs and develop effective proposals, maintains an open dialogue with current clients in order to prepare press kits and other materials needed for promotion, and serves as a liaison with members of the media. Essentially, Lorenz says, his daily workload is "a mix of verbal, written, and personal communication with clients, contacts, and other media professionals."

Having spent nearly 30 years in the public relations field, Lorenz has seen it evolve into the vibrant and rapidly growing sector that it is today — one that is becoming increasingly important to businesses.

"PR is taking over a larger role in the way products, goods, and services are introduced and promoted in the marketplace," he says.

According to Lorenz, with the increasing prevalence of devices such as TiVo, which allows viewers to skip television commercials, marketers will be forced to find new avenues by which to spend their marketing money, and Lorenz believes some of that money will be spent on public relations.

However, even though the field has grown at such a rapid pace, it continues to fight the stigma that its professionals are dishonest. As Lorenz sees it, truth — not deception — is at the center of everything a publicist does.

He explains, "I deal with the media every day, and if I misrepresent a story, I am done with that reporter and possibly the media outlet. With that kind of pressure, who's going to lie?"

Since the role of a publicist is to nurture relationships with writers, editors, and producers, trust and honesty must always be at the forefront because they are the only ways to maintain those relationships.

In fact, Lorenz believes so strongly in the role of publicist as truth seeker that he feels it is the responsibility of publicists today, as it will be in the future, to illicit the truth from government leaders, businesspeople, and heads of organizations and institutions.

"Who will insist that the truth is told? That responsibility will fall upon those of us in the public relations field more than ever," Lorenz states.

And finding the truth applies not only to companies with whom you have no contact but also to those you represent.

"I don't take on clients if I cannot represent their beliefs or if they are counter to my own in a significant way," he explains.

Ultimately, though, as Lorenz sees it, any negative aspects of the job are always outweighed by everything he loves about the field — a field that he finds highly fulfilling.

"I definitely enjoy the contacts I've made in the business and the diversity of my clients, from book authors, balloonists, and financial management firms to plastic surgeons and lawyers. I learn from every one of them," he says.
On the net:Westwind Communications

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