Discover recently hired Burson-Marsteller as PR AOR. How involved were you in that process?
Nelms: I was quite involved and attended as many agency presentations as I could. Certainly, we have a lot of internal expertise at Discover. We also included a number of other areas of the company, such as marketing, which could weigh in and help ensure we made the best possible choice for ourselves.
It was great to see different approaches and then be able to choose the one we thought was best.What are the business issues you deal with on a daily basis?
Nelms: Right now, our industry, both financial services and credit cards, is really under attack, and we're being blamed for a lot of things.
We need to rebuild trust and, even if we didn't have a direct role in some of the things that are being attacked, we're still part of an industry that is under extreme pressure. There is a lot of confusion and finger-pointing. We have to rebuild our reputation as an industry.On a personal level, who do you rely on for business counsel. Is PR part of the equation?
Nelms: Absolutely. Our head of PR is on our management committee and we have a very collaborative organization at Discover. For example, we had to make a lot of changes over the past year with the Credit Card Act, the new legislation. We had to figure out what changes we wanted to make, how we sought to make them, and how to communicate those internally and externally. PR played an integral role.What would you deem to be success in PR for your company?
Nelms: We want to be a preferred provider with consumers. We want to grow in market share. In our case, our share of wallet and spending has grown more quickly than many of our major credit card competitors over the past two years. It really comes down to business results that, in part, are impacted by our PR efforts.