Jack Martin’s Words of Wisdom

Jack Martin, Global Chairman and CEO of Hill + Knowlton Strategies

Jack Martin, Global Chairman and CEO of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, delivered an insightful speech, “Democratization of Data: From Research to Insights to Effective Communication” at the University of Maryland’s annual Grunig lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 23.


Martin grew up in rural southern Texas, about two hours from the Mexican border. He lived in a world of farming and ranching, expected to become a farmer like the rest of his town. In other words, with his  upbringing, it was unlikely Martin would end up as entrepreneur of the communications consulting firm, Hill + Knowlton Strategies.

Martin’s “passion for people” began in 1968 at in the World’s Fair in San Antonio. As he stood on the 600-foot Tower of Americas, he discovered his curiosity of people and where they were going, their journeys and their stories. His newfound interest led him to an internship as PR director at the Council of Government where  he developed his notion of “measurement” and the importance of having a real understanding of the public.

The Public is Key

In politics, Martin noticed an ongoing pattern: when politicians were not successful and could not deliver effective messages to their audiences, they went home. Thus, he found that the most important thing in the field of PR is the public; without public feedback one cannot succeed in anything.

“If you’re not going after change, you’re really not accomplishing much,” Martin said.

To achieve change, one must measure public thought. The measurement of the public tells one how he or she can provide wisdom. The public is eager for leadership, eager for wisdom and eager to learn what it should care about. Therefore, it is crucial that any PR firm understands the public of its clients and is able to become the deliverer of any large company.

Today, the public is not only interested in a company’s brand, but in its reputation and its core values. As our social media era progresses,  PR professionals will reach the public in a more efficient, targeted way, allowing them  to be closer to the public, build a positive reputation and strong relationships, and to understand the public better than anyone else.


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