Q&A with Katherine Heaviside


What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Epoch 5 over the years?

Hire the best people and then stand back and let them do what they do best. We’ve attracted some of the most experienced and skilled people in the tri-state area. They are great at what they do and will walk through walls for our clients — which is why we keep clients so much longer than other agencies.

What was the best advice you received in your career?

Focus on the basics and do them well, every day. A close second – don’t let the urgent drive out the important.

Where does the name Epoch 5 come from?

Sorry. We only tell clients that after they’ve been with us for 10 years.

The New York Times once ran an article on your crisis management skills, calling you “The Crisis Queen.” What advice can you give to an organization that wants to avoid a crisis that could damage their reputation?

One of the reasons organizations invest in a public relations program is to create balance for those inevitable times when their company has made a misstep or is in a crisis situation. An ongoing program of good public relations acts as an insurance policy against negative press — especially these days, when years of working to build loyalty in the marketplace can be lost in a blinding flash when a company is attacked online.

It’s been reported that the field of public relations is growing, while other forms of sales communications are shrinking. Why?

A study by P&G showed that public relations had a 275% higher return on investment (ROI) than advertising. Additionally, more companies are recognizing that a good reputation leads to more robust growth, more profitability and helps to recruit good people.

What has been the biggest change in PR since you started Epoch 5?

Without a doubt, the Internet and social media. Information is moving faster and reaching more people than ever before. Inaction is not an option. Clients expect us to maximize blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other social media networks. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in this business.

What are some of the reasons clients come to Epoch 5?

Of course, there are many reasons, but one that keeps coming up is that it gives them access to our network of influencers — people we have forged great relationships with who can help facilitate business.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at Epoch 5 today?

I love being outdoors, so I’d be hiking, kayaking, running or biking. Otherwise, I’d be reading some nonfiction book — probably on business, marketing or history. When I find time to read, I like to make it a learning experience.