By Chaundra S.
Photo credits: HNUB Creative Company
Public Relations can be seen as the practice of managing information to affect public perception that’s controlled internally for a person, brand, or organization. The art of public relations relies heavily on relationship building based on its management of information. Relationship building is built upon authenticity, transparency, and adaptability to create longevity. Candice Nicole is one publicist who embodies these traits. Not only is she trailblazing within her industry but she’s also impacting communities of color, the boardroom, and even aspiring public relation professionals.
“95% of our clientele is Black and Brown individuals; and businesses who look like us. Having this component allows our agency to tell their stories without misinterpretation and with consideration and understanding of the media’s portrayal,” states Candice. “Even if a team member of mine is of another race or ethnicity, we are very upfront about our clientele and the importance of telling Black and Brown stories,” she continues. Aside from impacting the community within public relations, Candice’s Black Girl Magic is also effortlessly leaving a mark.
She’s on a mission to create value and safe spaces for BIPOC professionals in their own light and truth. “It shows up by me being authentic, transparent, and adaptable in any room. Another part of my Black Girl Magic is creating my unique safespace and having empathy,” she adds. “I believe putting yourself in someone else’s shoes grants better relatability and consideration of others within the boardroom. That has always been a quality of a Black woman because of how we were historically raised to be able to adapt,” she continues. I had the pleasure of speaking with her to learn more about her career path, plans for the future, and how she’s impacting other public relation professionals. Here’s what she stated:
What advice would you give to an entry-level public relations professional of color?
“Always remain a student in your life and career. It is essential to have thick skin because everyone is not going to give you a yes, and that’s okay. Perhaps you are asking the wrong person. Extend yourself grace as you’re asking questions and thinking outside of the box. Also, never let yourself get above the work as you’re elevating in your career. I am celebrating 15 years of PR and I am still approving press releases, sometimes jumping in to assist with copy for clients, having strategic planning conversations with my team, and more.”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“My advice to my younger self would be to be kinder to myself and refrain from taking myself too seriously. Stop grilling yourself for your mistakes because no one is perfect. Every encounter, no matter the outcome, is a lesson.”
You’ve been an entrepreneur for years. How did you shift your mindset, career plan, and more to make the steps to be your own boss?
“It was actually ongoing when I made the decision to begin operating CNPR full-time, and it’s because at that very moment I was in a position where I felt like my back was against the wall. I had to ask myself, “What are you going to do? You are crying on your commute to the office. When are you going to trust yourself and trust God to be honest with you?” And so I actually credit my shifting mindset to my family and my faith. Having a great support system encouraged me to quit my full-time job and pursue CNPR full-time. They believed in me and that is all I needed.”
What has helped you maintain your current career span of over 15 years?
“I’m not afraid to reinvent myself by being resilient. I believe my “why” is ultimately bigger than me. My “why” is my family. I want to inspire my family members to pursue their dreams and aspirations as I did. Of course, the standard path is securing a high school diploma, a degree, and a job. But what if instead of throwing yourself into an established job field, you pursue building and branding your own business? Even if at this moment you’re not fully prepared to solely dive into your own business, I at least want others to be inspired to carve out time outside of their career to follow their passion and vision. I want to show others that you can be successful by going left because it feels right to you.”
What is the difference between marketing and public relations?
“The easiest way to explain it is that public relations equals visibility and marketing equals sales. PR caters to amplifying the story and the public’s perception regarding the story. Marketing focuses on the figures of that company by basing their research around how to increase sales and interest for a product, service, or event.”
What PR suggestions would you give for a small business that doesn’t have the budget for a full PR campaign?
“Firstly, I recommend that your graphics and marketing materials are cohesive. Canva is one of my favorite graphic design platforms to use! For years until I actually invested in Canva, I used their free basic package to create my marketing materials. These same materials will be used to reach out to various media outlets. Secondly, make sure you follow other publicist professionals and PR agencies on Instagram for free PR tips. Hashtags are a great way to search for the information you need as well. The following hashtags will be helpful in your search: #publicist, #media, #pragency. Ultimately, you can follow CNPR on Instagram for free PR tips. Lastly, carve out time every day to create your PR strategy. You may or may not have the finances to invest in your business but you do have the time. Schedule out a sitdown with yourself or with your team to create your goals and a plan of execution. Also, figure out who your audience is and what plans can you create to reach them.”
Candice is a vision of success right before our eyes. Her legacy will be one of many accomplishments, resilience, and endurance. She’s not stopping here either! “Teaching is what’s next for me. I absolutely love to teach, and my ultimate goal is to become an adjunct professor at an HBCU while mentoring other publicists,” says Candice Nicole on what’s next for her. Connect with her by following her online at www.candicenicolepr.com. Stay in touch with her brand by following her on Instagram as @candicenicolepr, on Facebook as @candicenicolepublicrelations, and on Twitter as @candicenicolepr.
Writer, C. Scott, is a mompreneur, author, MSW, and freelance writer.