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An Exclusive with Element’s New Public Relations Manager

With more than 15 years of experience in publicity and PR, Element’s new public relations manager, Kristen Schremp, is no stranger to the world of perfectly-crafted pitches and cutting-edge campaign strategies. We sat down to learn more about the Seattle-born caffeine junkie’s favorite destinations and what makes a great public relations campaign.

How did you first become interested in public relations?

My friend’s mom had a career in public relations. She let me job shadow her for a few days and I loved it. After taking a few college classes in biology and chemistry, I quickly realized my future would not involve DNA sequencing or chemical reactions, and public relations became even more attractive as an option.

What movie or television show character are you most like?

In terms of personality and lifestyle, I’m similar to Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. She is a hardworking single mom with a few close friends that views sarcasm as a perfectly acceptable form of communication – which sounds an awful lot like me.

If you were given an entire week with an endless supply of money and zero responsibilities, how would you spend your time?

I would travel to the Greek Isles or Dubai, and end with a day or two on a sandy beach in the Caribbean. (After all, shouldn’t all vacations include a little sun and sand?)

With summer rapidly approaching, what is your favorite warm weather pastime?

It’s easy for me to enjoy just about anything as long as the weather’s warm. I can be found swimming, boating, or just hanging out near the water for a good portion of the summer.

Name your favorite destination you’ve ever traveled to:

Giving you a list of places I wouldn’t go visit would be much easier. I’ve found there’s nothing quite like traveling abroad. I particularly loved visiting Austria and Germany. My best friend lived in Stuttgart for two years, which gave me the perfect opportunity to spend some time with her and travel. Not to mention, the Alps are breathtaking.

Where is next on your list to visit?

I am up for traveling almost anywhere. I’ve lived in seven states and have seen most of the U.S., so my goal is to get out and explore more places overseas. I have a few friends in India and another in Sweden that I’ve promised to visit, so those are next on my list.

Kristen and her friend, Alison, enjoying the rapids on the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Kristen and her friend, Alison, enjoying the rapids on the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

What is your favorite example of a major PR campaign done right?

I loved National Health Service’s (NHS) 2015 Missing Type campaign that was launched in the United Kingdom. Nationally known newspapers, major businesses, and even the Royal Air Force abruptly removed A, O, and B (the letters that make up the blood groups) from their websites, social media names, and signage. During National Blood Week, they removed or covered the same letter from street signs. The campaign was enormously successful and encouraged a record number of new donors to sign up in the first two weeks following the campaign. They also used the hashtag #MissingType to track its success on social media.

We decided to put Kristen’s public relations skills to the ultimate test with a fishy situation in serious need of some help.

Imagine Starbucks recently came out with a frozen drink that (intentionally) tasted like smoked salmon. What would your PR campaign look like to get customers excited about trying the flavor?

Oh, boy. Salmon? I know they are based in Seattle, but, salmon? If I couldn’t convince them to do a few more focus groups in a broader area to test out their flavor choice, I would target sushi lovers or talk about the natural benefits of salmon frozen drinks for health-conscious patrons. Next, I’d launch a grassroots campaign that plays off the idea of swimming upstream/going against the tide to get back to your roots and do what you were born to do, which salmon are known for. For each drink sold, money would go to support someone going against trends to create good.

While we can’t say we’re holding our breath for a revised Vitamin-E packed Starbucks drink menu any time soon, it’s evident we’ve got a media mastermind to assist our clients in all realms of public relations. Welcome aboard, Kristen!

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