In 2010 we announced Arment Dietrich was no longer a PR firm.

It was pretty amazing to see what happened, almost overnight. Clients and prospects, alike, stopped asking us to do only publicity and instead began to bring us in on integrated marketing communication programs.

Even though we were constantly demonstrating our capabilities, we weren’t seen as an integrated firm until we drew a line in the sand.

I didn’t even realize I was doing something trendy, or what the startup world calls “pivot,” I was simply responding to client needs and to the big shift the web was creating for the marketing and communication industries.

It turns out, about six months earlier Eric Ries introduced the idea in a blog post called, “Pivot, Don’t Jump to a New Vision.”

Pivot is used to describe smart startups that change direction quickly, but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future.

I envision the business owner standing with one foot firm on the ground (the vision) and the other foot pivoting around to test new markets, new products, new services, and even new customers.

We discovered this very early in the building phase of Spin Sucks Pro. Because of all the speaking I do to CEO organizations, I wanted to build an online business that taught small- and medium-sized organizations how to do their own PR and marketing.

But through research, surveys, and examining the current Spin Sucks audience, we discovered business leaders were not the right target. We pivoted to another audience: PR and marketing professionals.

On one hand you have an established business (Arment Dietrich) and a startup (Spin Sucks Pro). Both are still focused on the vision, but pivoting to react to changing trends, be flexible, and grow.

The challenging economy is not behind us. We’re still doing more with less. In order to compete, we all have to be flexible and adapt.

Consider pivoting in your business the next time you think your vision or your strategies are wrong.

Special thanks to the very hilarious image from Grasshopper Herder. This blog post first ran in my weekly Crain’s column.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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