Ashley Graham of The Conscious Publicist on Media’s Role in Authenticity, Diversity, and Connectivity

Ashley Graham of The Conscious Publicist on Media’s Role in Authenticity, Diversity, and Connectivity

Interview by Ricardo EstevesRicardo Esteves
Published: June 02, 2023

Who Is Ashley Graham

Ashley Graham is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief at The Conscious Publicist, a public relations and thought leadership concierge that helps purpose-driven brands share their stories and methodologies. Graham has always had a passion for writing, communication, and storytelling, and after working at traditional PR agencies and in in-house director roles, she wanted to do something more meaningful with her career, creating The Conscious Publicist.

“Through collaborative efforts, individuals and organizations can create a ripple effect that extends beyond the immediate impact of the story, promoting lasting positive change.” Ashley Graham

In a world increasingly driven by media, the power of storytelling as a tool for conscious awareness and personal growth is becoming more prevalent. As an expert in field, Ashley Graham, the founder of The Conscious Publicist, delves into the role of storytelling and the responsibilities of media professionals in shaping these narratives.

Learn the importance of community involvement, authenticity, and diversity in reenforcing the impact of a story, as Ashley sheds light on her successful storytelling campaigns. And as a bonus, she also shared some valuable tips and strategies to enhance our own storytelling abilities.

The Conscious Publicist logo

Spotlight: How can storytelling be used as a tool for conscious awareness and personal growth and what role do media and communication professionals play in this process?

Ashley Graham: Storytelling can be a powerful tool for conscious awareness and personal growth as it can engage and connect with individuals emotionally and intellectually. Engaging with narratives in media and communications enables us to empathize and find commonalities with different personalities, relating their journeys to our lives.

Through this process, storytelling creates a space for conscious awareness, expanding our perspectives, and overall gaining insights into our strengths and weaknesses, and areas for growth or expansion.

In this context, media and communication professionals play an essential role in shaping and disseminating stories that promote conscious awareness and personal growth. They can curate narratives that inspire, challenge, and uplift audiences.

Whether through journalism, advertising, or other mediums, these professionals are responsible for presenting diverse voices, fostering empathy, and encouraging new ways of thinking.

Overall, media and communication professionals are responsible for ethical storytelling practices. They should strive for representing diverse communities, but most importantly representing authenticity, accuracy, and inclusivity in their narratives.

Doing so contributes to a more equitable and just society, fostering conscious awareness of social issues and promoting personal growth through a deeper understanding of the world's complexities.

In what ways can community engagement and collaboration help amplify the impact of a story? How can individuals and organizations work together to create a more positive ripple effect?

Community engagement and collaboration can significantly amplify the impact of a story in several ways, as individuals and organizations can leverage their efforts and resources to create a more positive ripple effect when they come together.

Involving community members, individuals, and organizations can ensure that the story accurately represents the realities and nuances of different communities. This authenticity strengthens the story's impact, as it resonates more deeply with the intended audience.

Through partnerships and collaborative efforts, individuals and organizations can tap into existing networks, platforms, and channels to amplify the story's message. This helps the story reach a larger audience, creating a more significant impact and increasing the chances of driving meaningful change.

Collaboration also enables the pooling of resources, skills, and expertise. Combining strengths in these areas can involve sharing financial resources, leveraging social media platforms, providing technical support, or offering specialized knowledge. The collective effort allows for a more comprehensive and practical storytelling approach.

When community members are actively involved, they become invested in the story's message and outcomes. This sense of ownership can lead to increased participation, advocacy, and the creation of grassroots movements that further amplify the story's impact and drive positive change within the community.

Connecting individuals and organizations around a shared story makes it possible to identify common goals and work towards sustainable impact. These connections can involve organizing community initiatives, implementing policy changes, or supporting initiatives that address the underlying issues highlighted in the story.

Through collaborative efforts, individuals and organizations can create a ripple effect that extends beyond the immediate impact of the story, promoting lasting positive change.

The Conscious Publicist work picture
[Source: The Conscious Publicist]

Tell us a bit about The Conscious Publicist. What’s the story behind its name?

The Conscious Publicist is an organization that recognizes the power of consciousness in our digital and media spaces. We understand that media can be consciously or unconsciously activated and aim to promote and create consciously activated media.

Consciousness, often associated with spirituality and heightened awareness, goes beyond the surface level of things and encompasses a deeper understanding of the world around us. In today's media-saturated world, we are constantly exposed to various channels and content, but not all media is created equal.

Consciously activated media is crafted with intention and awareness. It is well-researched, well-written, and well-produced, serving a valuable purpose in connecting people with similar beliefs or interests. On the other hand, unconsciously activated media lacks thought or intention, often feeling empty or hollow and challenging to communicate with on a deeper level.

The Conscious Publicist believes in harnessing the power of consciousness in our media spaces. We work with individuals and organizations committed to living and breathing consciousness through conscious PR and media practices. By creating consciously activated media channels and content, we strive to connect with others on a deeper level, build stronger relationships, and positively impact the world through our circle of influence.

What makes your agency different from other PR and media relations firms out there? What goals do you hope to achieve with the company?

What sets The Conscious Publicist apart from other PR and Media Relations firms is our distinct approach to aligning our services with our client's mission and purpose. Unlike many companies in the industry, we prioritize creating a balance between "doing" and "being." Our offers go beyond traditional PR and media strategies by addressing the personal and interpersonal aspects of our clients' work.

We believe that true success lies not only in external achievements but also in personal growth and fulfillment. That's why we help our clients develop the character traits and strengths needed to succeed in their mission. We create a supportive space where they can feel confident, seen, heard, and recognized, empowering them to shift and transform through their work to make a lasting impact.

At The Conscious Publicist, we emphasize conscious connections and relationships as a fundamental part of our process. We recognize that building meaningful connections is crucial for creating a more conscious and sustainable world. Through our "People Relations" focus, we assist our clients in developing the practices and modalities needed to establish authentic and impactful connections.

Our agency offers an all-inclusive approach to our offers that combines the expertise of a public relations and thought leadership coach, a conscious communications guide, and an executive media strategist. This comprehensive approach ensures our clients receive personalized support, guidance, and resources tailored to their needs and goals. We provide a full-service concierge experience that enables our clients to effectively share their mission and message.

Can you share some of your successful storytelling campaigns that have had a meaningful impact on society? What can we learn from them in terms of effective storytelling and media engagement?

At The Conscious Publicist, we have undertaken several successful storytelling campaigns that have made a meaningful impact, including the launch of The Conscious Publicist Podcast.

This podcast serves as a platform where we delve into public relations, thought leadership, business, and entrepreneurship, all focusing on conscious storytelling.

By exploring the habits, strategies, and mindset shifts that have empowered leaders to overcome self-doubt and comparison, we inspire our audience to become the thought leaders they aspire to be.

The lesson here was to identify a compelling theme or topic that resonates with our target audience and deliver valuable insights to drive personal growth or transformation in their lives.

In addition to the podcast, we are soon introducing an executive contributors program for our media platform. This program will allow leaders from various fields to share their experiences, expertise, and stories with our audience.

By providing this opportunity for recognition, we encourage collaboration and amplify the voices of others. This collaboration teaches us the importance of creating a space for others to contribute and be acknowledged, fostering a sense of community and shared success.

Furthermore, we are excited about our VIP Day experiences, which offer clients comprehensive guidance on managing and executing their PR, media, and thought leadership campaigns. By providing valuable insights on crafting media releases, building relationships with journalists, and effectively sharing their messages, we empower our clients to succeed in reaching a wider audience.

In your opinion, how can media outlets and PR professionals use storytelling to bring more attention to important social and environmental issues?

Media outlets and PR professionals can prioritize authentic storytelling by focusing on real experiences and genuine voices.

Sharing stories highlighting the lived experiences of individuals affected by social and environmental issues can create a deeper emotional connection with the audience and generate empathy. These impactful narratives help humanize complex problems and make them relatable to a broader audience.

Utilizing various multimedia formats, such as videos, infographics, and interactive content, media outlets can enhance the storytelling experience. Visual elements have the potential to capture attention and convey messages effectively, but partnerships are also important.

Collaborating with organizations, influencers, and community leaders passionate about social and environmental causes can amplify the reach and impact of storytelling efforts. Partnering with trusted voices and experts in the field brings credibility to the narrative and helps reach diverse audiences.

Supporting narratives with data and evidence enhances credibility and reinforces the importance of the highlighted social and environmental issues. PR professionals can work closely with media outlets to gather relevant data, statistics, and expert insights, providing a broad context to the stories they tell.

Lastly, media outlets and PR professionals have the opportunity to amplify the voices of marginalized communities and underrepresented perspectives. Giving a platform to individuals and communities often unheard or marginalized can help bring attention to the social and environmental issues affecting these groups. This inclusive storytelling approach promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in the media.

The Conscious Publicist Ashley Graham
[Source: The Conscious Publicist]

Looking back on your career, what lessons have you learned that have influenced your approach to conscious public relations. How have they shaped your vision for the future of the industry?

The following lessons have greatly influenced my approach to conscious public relations. They have shaped my vision for the future of the industry in several ways:

Emphasizing Long-Term Impact: I understand the importance of taking a long-term perspective in conscious public relations. Building meaningful connections, fostering trust, and creating authentic narratives requires time and consistency. Instead of focusing solely on short-term gains, I strive to develop sustainable strategies prioritizing our client's messages' long-term impact and resonance. This approach aligns with the ethos of conscious public relations, which emphasizes building relationships and making a positive difference over time.

Collaboration and Mentorship: I believe in the power of collaboration and seek guidance from industry experts and mentors. The lessons I have learned from seeking advice and insights from those who have achieved success in conscious public relations have been invaluable. To shape the industry's future, I aim to foster a culture of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and mentorship.

Integrating Self-Worth and Values: Recognizing the importance of self-worth and values in business has been transformative. I aim to infuse these principles into our approach at The Conscious Publicist. By prioritizing our client's values and aligning their missions with their public relations strategies, we can create authentic and impactful campaigns that resonate with their target audiences. Integrating self-worth and values adds depth and meaning to our work and allows us to make informed decisions that align with our clients and our visions for a conscious future.

Balancing Metrics and Meaning: While metrics and data are essential in public relations, I have learned the significance of balancing them with the meaningful impact we strive to create. By measuring success in numbers and the positive change we bring to society, we can redefine the industry's success metrics.

Our vision for the future of conscious public relations involves embracing a holistic approach that goes beyond surface-level metrics, ensuring that our work aligns with our values and creates meaningful transformations.

By incorporating these principles into our strategies and practices, we can foster a more conscious, impactful, and sustainable future for the public relations industry.

What advice would you give to individuals or organizations looking to cultivate a more holistic and heart-centered approach to their PR and media strategy?

Define Your Purpose and Values: Start by clarifying your organization's purpose and values. Understand what drives you and the positive impact you want to create. This foundation will be a compass for your PR and media strategy, ensuring your messaging and actions align with your core beliefs.

Embrace Authenticity and Transparency: Cultivate an environment of authenticity and transparency in your communication. Share your stories, successes, and even challenges with honesty and vulnerability. Authenticity builds trust and fosters genuine connections with your audience, allowing them to connect with your organization on a deeper level.

Listen and Engage with Your Audience: Listen to your audience's needs, concerns, and feedback. Engage in meaningful conversations and create opportunities for dialogue. By understanding your audience's perspectives and incorporating their insights, you can shape your PR and media strategy to be more relevant and impactful.

Emphasize Human Connection: PR and media strategies should prioritize human connection. Craft narratives that resonate emotionally and focus on the human stories behind your organization. Highlight your impact on individuals and communities, showcasing the positive change you are creating.

Collaborate and Amplify Others: Find opportunities to collaborate with like-minded individuals, organizations, and thought partners with similar values and goals. Amplify their voices and support their initiatives. Building solid partnerships can extend your reach and create a more significant impact.

Measure Beyond Metrics: While metrics are essential, broaden your perspective on success. Look beyond numbers and analytics to evaluate the meaningful impact you are making. Consider the positive changes you drive, the stories you tell, and the connections you nurture. These qualitative measures provide a more holistic view of your PR and media strategy's effectiveness.

Stay Committed and Evolve: Cultivating a holistic and heart-centered approach to PR and media strategy is an ongoing journey. Stay committed to your purpose and values, and be open to continuous learning and evolution. Embrace new technologies, platforms, and storytelling techniques that align with your mission and resonate with your audience

Finally, what are your long-term aspirations for The Conscious Publicist and its role in promoting conscious awareness and storytelling?

Our long-term aspirations for The Conscious Publicist revolve around amplifying conscious awareness and storytelling on a broader scale. We are committed to utilizing our platform and resources to promote meaningful dialogue, foster connections, and inspire positive change.

Furthermore, we recognize the importance of securing funding to support our growth and reach. We are actively enhancing our investor pitch to attract venture capitalists and investors who share our vision and believe in the power of conscious PR.

With increased funding, we can expand our capabilities, resources, and reach to make a more significant impact on promoting conscious awareness and storytelling.

As we continue to grow as a business, our core values and mission will remain at the forefront of our endeavors. We are committed to conscious awareness, authentic storytelling, and promoting positive change.

By nurturing our relationships with clients, partners, and collaborators who share our values, we can collectively contribute to building a more conscious and compassionate world.

Thank you for your time, Ashley Graham. Best of luck to you and The Conscious Publicist!

Keep up with The Conscious Publicist on LinkedIn and read about other successful businesses here.


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