A company that deals in creating the future needs its top PR professional to be more than simply a silver-tongued communicator and a great strategist. He must be a true beacon of new media knowledge who is capable of maintaining his Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS feeds and personal blog in perfect Zen balance while simultaneously conducting a conference call and responding to emails from the press. Ryan Anderson is that man, and I caught up with him by rotating my chair slightly to the left and throwing a paperclip at his head.
1. You started at Fuel in 2006. What was the communications department like at that time?
At that time, the communications department was about 5’8 with blond hair and glasses. I was really the first person Fuel hired to act in an official communications role – until then it was part of what Mike and Sean did. At the time, we were a lot smaller than we are now. We’ve since more than doubled in size and started working with even bigger clients and creating our own properties. With that growth, we’ve expanded what we do to promote ourselves and our clients, which has grown the communications department from a dude with a phone to a few people, each with their own expertise.
2. What are your main priorities as Director of Communications?
My main responsibility is to spread the gospel about Fuel and our client and internal projects. We do it through media relations, speaking, and marketing through our website and other channels. When you work with talented and smart people who create amazing work, the job of showing that off is actually pretty easy.
3. What makes doing PR at Fuel different from a traditional agency?
The people. There’s no PR firm in the world that has this much creativity under one roof. Combine that with the fact that I’ll get pulled away from writing a press release to record a funk solo for a kid’s show or be asked to do voiceovers for trailers, and this is a dream job for a PR guy. The biggest adjustment coming from the world of PR firms was not wearing cufflinks at work. Doing PR is much more comfortable in jeans.
4. Fuel’s grown tremendously over the past year—how has this growth affected your PR strategy?
It’s grown both in size and in scope, and that’s affected what we communicate quite drastically, but not necessarily how we communicate. I view what we do not so much as PR but as education. As we get into new areas like licensed properties and joint ventures, we’re not changing the strategy per se, but we are changing what our message is. At the end of the day, we’re still building audiences through branded entertainment.
5. For an unspecified reason, you’ve thrown someone from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. How do you spin it?
The real issue here is that we remain committed to the goal of excellence and focus not on that which is being pulled down, but that we keep our gaze firmly planted skyward and toward the future.
Then I would hit you with a chair and run away.