Noah Gold: “Public relations is a people profession. You should enjoy working with and across the aisle with people.”

Noah Gold: “Public relations is a people profession. You should enjoy working with and across the aisle with people.”

The PR mastermind standing behind Nike's, Super Bowl's, and Gatorade's campaigns reveals backstage details and shares what it takes to be a successful PR practitioner.
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Noah Gold has pioneered the modern world of marketing as a Public Relations Executive for countless brands with global recognition.

In 2007, Gold designed and executed the communications strategy for NBC and MTV's $40 million joint venture Dew Action Sports Tour, setting the standard in alternative sporting ventures for decades to come.

Gold has also worked with every major men's American sports league, as well as orchestrating several marketing campaigns for Super Bowl commercials. As the Public Relations Executive of Nike and Gatorade (PepsiCo) respectively, Gold worked on monumental marketing campaigns including Nike’s 2018 reinvention of the “Just Do It” slogan. Provoking national dialogue on women's empowerment, it stands as Nike's most successful PR campaign to date. 

With a deep breadth of knowledge and a wealth of experience, Noah Gold's background has become indispensable to the PR industry. His course on Public Relations allows us to dive headfirst into real world Public Relations and learn the art of keeping your product and company top-of-mind through timely, effective communication campaigns, media outreach, and events.

We've had an extremely inspiring interview with Noah, covering:

  • Current state of public relations;
  • 30 second TV spot of fame (at the Superbowl);
  • Learning to have what it takes;
  • What it took for Nike to “Just Do It”;
  • Course @ ELVTR

“It’s really difficult to get your message pulled through when you’re hearing from every brand under the sun.”

Do you feel social responsibility for businesses and brands is just a fad, or is it something that is here to stay?

Every company should look at gender equality, pay equality, political action in general from an authentic standpoint. The issue of social responsibility for businesses and the corporate landscape is here for good.

It started well before 2020, although it was accelerated when people were hurting, losing their jobs, and trying to find themselves. While my time at Nike was amazing with the, “You can’t stop me,” campaign and what we did to commit ourselves to bettering society through our workspace, you’ll see many other corporations' in that space as well.

From oil and gas to technology and others, social responsibility will play a major part in reputation, helping with crisis management, and public perception. Social responsibility will continue to climb to the top.

So then with the new scope of public relations and perception, how do you measure the success of a marketing campaign in the modern era?

The measurement of a PR campaign and the success of a PR campaign has been changing over time. With the evolution of the digital space, it is very difficult to track whether your message is being pulled through in a positive light; if your brand reputation is constantly being put on a pedestal in a positive light; or when at times you may actually be creating a negative atmosphere.

That said, there are many tools that will help you recognize key performance indicators. How to reach that level of success you are hoping to reach. It doesn’t matter if you're a big or small company. It matters truly what you’re trying to accomplish.

Most products are not unique. Several companies create a variation of a demanded item. Even sneakers are just shoes. How do you differentiate yourself and make a seemingly generic product have its own authentic marketing position?

It’s really difficult to differentiate yourself. What I would say, besides authenticity, is that you also need to identify certain elements that are built into a PR plan.

This is where you are very critical of what you’re saying, why you’re saying it, and who you’re saying it to. That is just as critical as your authenticity.

“…to actually have a successful Super Bowl campaign is a whole different ball-game.”

What is a challenge to a campaign like the Super Bowl that most may not see?

I think everyone should participate in the larger, global advertising events. It is a really difficult place to be and it is absolutely a memorable experience.

Because it’s a really difficult avenue for a business to walk a tight line. You need to constantly be asking, ‘What is my message, and will my audience remember it?’

With such an oversaturation of advertising then, what is it like to work on something as mythic as a Super Bowl marketing campaign?

I’ve been lucky enough to work on 14 super bowls now, both on the internal side of the business with the NFL directly as well as the external from a corporate side of it, from a brand side. The campaign work on a super bowl is unlike any other, to be honest.

With a successful campaign, we were able to spotlight what was happening in American culture, highlight new products, or just change how people interacted digitally with the brand.

Do you enjoy working on campaigns like the Super Bowl? What is your favorite media to work with?

My favorite media to work with are those that are legitimately interested in the product or the company in which you represent. When we talk about the Super Bowl or these mega-events across the world, it makes it easier to gain the attention of the media.

When you work for companies that are lesser-known, that is when it becomes critical to use your voice. Explain why it is interesting, and why it deserves a marketing campaign.

With such an oversaturation of advertising then, what is it like to work on something as mythic as a Super Bowl marketing campaign?

I’ve been lucky enough to work on 14 super bowls now, both on the internal side of the business with the NFL directly as well as the external from a corporate side of it, from a brand side. The campaign work on a super bowl is unlike any other, to be honest.

With a successful campaign, we were able to spotlight what was happening in American culture, highlight new products, or just change how people interacted digitally with the brand.

“If you’re not authentic in the tone of voice and messages you’re creating and putting out into the public, it will fall flat no matter what.”

What would you say to someone who is just entering the field of public relations and is struggling to have their voice heard?

For those beginning their career in public relations, there are critical pieces that will ensure your message is heard and then internalized by the consumer. You need a good and honest foundation of what you are trying to convey to the user. You walk into a PR campaign with an idea already of what you want to get out of that PR campaign.

These are the critical pieces to have anyone be able to digest your message and then act on your message. When it comes to finding your tone of voice for a company, brand, or even a product — it’s important that your authenticity and intention shine through.

What are the critical qualities for a career in public relations?

One that stands out is being able to convey yourself through the written word. Words will always be a key piece.

There are also a number of other critical qualities that any successful public relations practitioner should have as well, beyond the writing component. You need to be able to convey yourself in the written word, but also be able to stand up in a room confidently and have your message heard.

That said, you need to be able to have your message drafted in advance, and then be able to be critical of your written, drafted, and spoken word components.

Then is being a good writer all there is to public relations?

The idea of writing, while it may seem daunting at times, shouldn’t be something that holds you back from entering the field. Within our course, writing is something that we’ll focus on: from message creation to PR plan draft, to actual writing and critiquing Press Release and Journalist Pitch.

Public relations is a people profession. You should enjoy working with and across the aisle with people.

It is something that is critical to this profession. Having an enjoyment around being with people. It helps provide authenticity to you and the company which you represent to demonstrate your knowledge and enjoyment in the brand you’re representing.”

‘Starting your Public Relations career’ corner

Developing Tone of Voice: 

  • Make sure you have...
    • Authenticity: If your message does ring true, it will flat no matter what;
  • Make sure you know...
    • What you’re saying.
    • Why are you saying it?
    • Who you are saying it to?

Building a Good PR Plan: You must be able to...

  • Create and find your objective. What do you want?
  • Highlight the strategy of your plan. Why will it succeed?
  • Tactically implement your plan. How will you do it?

Setting and Accomplishing Goals: They must be...

  • Well-formulated. Are they easily understandable to an outsider?
  • Able to be critiqued. How does someone adapt and adopt your plan?
  • A tangible result that can be attained. What does success look like?

“We had the power at Nike to really champion the voices of others. Our constituents were athletes, they were the voices that we are trying to convey.”

When creating a marketing campaign and a social movement at the same time, how does a company like Nike set objectives and define success?

Objectives need to be something tangible in nature but also need to be critical to the growth and trajectory of your company. In a company like Nike, a leader in the footwear space that is also diversifying the brand, their objective might be to reach a new, younger female consumer by a certain percentage.

You’re being critical in what you are trying to achieve and highlighting key forms of success, but you still need to be critical in what you want to achieve. Your objectives have to be critiquable, they need to have an attainable key result, and they need to be digestible to an outsider.

With goals having such scale, do you think a social awareness campaign like this is only something large businesses can utilize or be involved in?

The ‘Just Do It’ revitalization campaign kicked off a movement. And yes, it is a major brand, and Nike is globally known, but smaller brands are working hard to make sure their voice for gender and racial equality is being heard.

At Nike, we had a clear path with athletes who were voicing their own concerns with political, racial, and gender-motivated issues. It should always come through in a natural way though, whether you’re a corporation like Nike or a start-up. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a big or small company necessarily. What matters truly is what you’re trying to accomplish and how you reach that point. Those are the most critical pieces of a public relations campaign and measuring for those key performance indicators.

Simply writing a press release doesn’t guarantee anyone will see it. 

If someone doesn’t think they are a good writer, can PR be the field for them? Or is it hopeless?

Maybe they don’t think of themselves as good enough writers. When in reality, it can always be learned. There are tips, skills, and there are keywords that are critical to the success of a PR campaign. In this course, writing will be one of the main focuses. Drafting, writing, and critiquing marketing pieces.

So is this just a writing course, or will there be other ins and outs of public relations and the industry at large?

Simply writing a press release doesn’t guarantee anyone will see it. You need to surround yourself with other tactics that help get your message into the market. In this course, I will be sharing some of that knowledge from my career as to what works to gain attention beyond just drafting, writing, and distributing a press release.

I focus on three main elements. The core elements are:

  • creating and finding your true objective;
  • highlighting the strategy of your plan;
  • tactically implementing your plan.

It will differ on your industry, company, or product of choice. But when it comes down to any PR plan, those elements are mission-critical for success.

What is the ideal target audience for your course?

The ELVTR public relations course is for a number of people. 

One: those who are currently in the PR profession. You’re looking for critical skills to accelerate your career and feel more confident. 

Two: small, local, or entrepreneurial businesses that are getting off the ground and may not have the resources to hire external PR professionals, so you really need that knowledge and basis to create your own PR plans and carry them out yourself and implement them.

Three: those who are transitioning in their career. Those who have always had PR in the back of their mind, but have been sure whether not now is the time to switch. I’ll tell you right now, following 2020, we’ve seen a spike in the need for smart and thoughtful PR practitioners. It’s a great time to enter the field. And it’s a critical piece for growing any business.