There is a Difference with Kathy Ziprik

March 2, 2021


In a world where things are certainly changing, Draper DNA embraces doing things differently. Through a series of interviews with experts in their field, we will share just how there is a difference across the industry through thoughtful conversations.

Our first interview is with a PR powerhouse, Kathy Ziprik. Kathy started her career at Georgia Pacific and after finding success there, she decided that she wanted to see what it was like to work with multiple brands as an independent practitioner. Since making that move, she has grown into an industry “Hall of Famer” … literally. Kathy was the first to be named to the PRSSA National Hall of Fame. Her many accolades and experience make her a perfect guest to the There is a Difference series.

Hear what Kathy thinks the state of conducting public relations in such a bizarre time looks like and where it is headed.

What is one thing you anticipate being different in marketing trends as we begin 2021?


Kathy: We will absolutely continue to see a rise in online purchasing, especially companies we would have never expected. Marketers need to be smart in how they’re promoting the ease and safety of online sales. The pandemic isn’t going away any time soon. With that, consumers are going to be much more dependent on online shopping, which can be worrisome and intimidating if that’s now how you’re used to making decisions.

Have you shifted the way you pitch media since the pandemic began? If so, how? I’d imagine you’re having to get creative! 


Kathy: My clients are specific to home and building – Roofing materials, garage doors, stairway systems, molding, millwork, privacy windows and more. During COVID, the home has become a safe haven, but people are also becoming frustrated at spending every moment of their lives there. So yes, media pitching has definitely become a little more creative. DIY projects like real stone countertop kits for around $250 or floating wood shelves for just under $50 have an audience. Larger projects like replacing roofs are happening because money that would have other been spent on leisure or travel is now expendable.

Have you noticed a change in how media is reporting news? 


Kathy: Absolutely. Things are so much more frantic and intense than years past. News that’s being reported is bad and scary. We’re listening to news about politics and about the pandemic which is taking up space for “good” news. Amongst all of this, not too many people are interested in a new color palate for a rooftop, so we, again have to be super creative in how we’re talking about it while being sensitive to the state of the country.

How have you made sure that you’re telling the right story during such a sensitive time? 


Kathy: The operative word here is sensitive. We absolutely have to be sensitive to what is going on around us. A new color announcement isn’t as important – even to the trade media – at this time. They’re focusing on stories giving guidance to how to work with fewer employees due to COVID and how to keep the doors open on a business. My clients don’t necessarily have “life or death” products or services so we’re taking a back seat to other more critical issues and news. Finding a niche story or a niche audience is a thoughtful way to gain attention. For example, my acrylic block client came up with rolling privacy walls, to create separation of space in workplace and hospital settings. THAT product was pitched and got good coverage related to COVID. We also need to remember there are other things happening in the world. Wildfires are rampant. A story on Wildlife Urban Interface (WUI) regulations that require flame-resistant products on structure exteriors is becoming a large issue, especially on the West Coast. Pitching exterior products — roofing, siding, doors — that meet WUI codes has been very productive. Writing stories on this topic for trade publications, like Architectural West and Western Roofing magazine, helps get attention for these issues. All about creativity!

What are your thoughts on virtual media events? They are obviously happening more frequently. Have you seen any success in attending or hosting? 


Kathy: I have not attended or hosted them at this point because my clients don’t presently have a need for them, but I certainly applaud companies that organize these. I think these will become a trend long after COVID because they save on travel costs, editor’s time, and, if done correctly, can be effective.

Do you anticipate any trends in storytelling in 2021?


Kathy: I would imagine that businesses, agencies, anyone involved in messaging, will latch on to any success stories they may have related to COVID in order to provide “proof” that they’re in charge and/or on top of a situation. We will hear a lot of stories about just how hard everyone is working to protect their employees and products. A turn to human interest pieces as opposed to product pieces. There will continue to be a lot of conversations about how companies are adjusting to COVID restrictions. People that none of us knew years ago will gain notoriety. For example, two years ago no one knew who Dr. Fauci was and now we trust him with our health and wellness.

Please click HERE to view the full interview with Kathy.

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your thoughts and insights into how there is a difference.

Interested in talking with Draper DNA about how you see there is a difference? We would love to connect. Feel free to send a note to

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