Global Partner, Chairman + CEO
Scott Allison is chairman and CEO of one of the fastest-growing global communications firms in the industry. Allison+Partners was named PRWeek’s 2015 “Midsize Agency of the Year,” In2 SABRE’s 2015 “Most Innovative Agency” and The Holmes Report’s 2014 “Agency of the Year.”
Known for its unique culture, Scott founded Allison+Partners with a vision to build a positive and entrepreneurial environment where talented people could do great work and thrive. The agency’s motto, “it’s about the work,” is sustained by a set of core values that reward collaboration, professional growth and a commitment to excellence.
Scott oversees the firm’s international growth, while continuing to provide communications counsel to many high-profile executives and clients. He is an expert in issues management, crisis communications, and media and presentation training and is regularly called upon to speak about issues facing the public relations industry. Prior to founding Allison+Partners, Scott was the West Coast president of Connors Communications and a senior vice president and partner at The Gable Group. He also served as a supervisor with Direct Communications, a San Diego-based political consulting group, and as deputy communications director with United States Senator Pete Wilson.
Scott is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and serves on the board of directors for ISOThrive, Northgate Community Pride Foundation and the Church of the Resurrection. He is a recipient of the Monty Award given to San Diego State University alumni and a finalist for both the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® and the American Business Award’s Communications Executive of the Year. A patron of San Diego State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, Scott provided a founding gift to the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations and funds a scholarship that supports internship opportunities for students.
What's the most interesting thing that you do every week?
We have such a diverse client roster; the ability to work with clients like WhatsApp, UL and Toyota allows us to contribute to broad challenges and opportunities. This is what has kept me in the agency business for over 25 years. Every week is different, and the communications field is changing so rapidly that it is an exciting business to be involved in.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
My partner Andy Hardie-Brown. We started this business with a simple plan that we sketched out on a napkin and we have built one of the world’s largest firms. For over thirteen years, I have valued Andy’s incredible insight to the complexities in building our global business.
What do you wish more people knew about?
Allison+Partners? Excuse me while I climb on my soapbox... I truly believe that you cannot commoditize the PR business. The most essential components in a successful PR campaign are people and passion. I wish I could show every prospect how we're different and how we generate results that just blow away what they've seen in the past. Our clients also appreciate that in addition to having some of the brightest, most energetic people in the business, our team is a nice group of people to be around.
Where do you think the PR industry is going?
I believe we've entered a golden age of PR; while we need to adjust the models and the people who manage them, the industry is going to grow as never before, in directions that we're just beginning to imagine. It is going to be very competitive though, and smaller firms will struggle to keep up with the changing technology needed to grow. PR firms will need to invest in research and data analytics tools to keep up with changing client demands. The small firm that focuses primarily on media relations will struggle in this environment.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. It was hard to be a kid in the early 70s and not want to be an astronaut.
What's your biggest success?
Avoiding all of the clichés; in addition to having two kids who have grown up to be terrific people, I've been able to spend enough time with them, from coaching my son's teams to having breakfast with my daughter each Friday. And obviously, I'm proud of how our company has grown and flourished; we've done great work for clients and created great jobs at the same time.
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