Using Both Light and Truth in Public Relations


By Alyssa Minor

The BYU PR Intelligence Lab is an active hub of data collection, brainstorming sessions, and client meetings for BYU students in the PR program. But sometimes the name of the Lab brings a pause to students. What exactly makes this an Intelligence Lab? 


Data intelligence is the process of using tools and methods to gain insights and knowledge through data analysis and interpretation. The BYU PR Intelligence Lab provides the best available tools for search engine optimization, social and news listening, keyword research, YouTube analytics, and more, to ensure that all insights that come out of the Lab are driven by the most current and reliable data for our clients. 


At the BYU PR Intelligence Lab, “intelligence” has an even deeper meaning as well. Being at a Christian university means that we have a unique charge to not only speak the language of intellect, but also to speak the language of faith. Our faith teaches us that true intelligence requires a combination of both truth and light. This means that we use our intellectual resources in our professional work as well as guidance that comes from our Christian values and beliefs. When we do this, we are mastering the art that our university president, President Shane Reese, calls “embracing our double heritage.” 


To understand this idea further, I sat down with Sean Clemence — Marketing Director for BYUtv. He shared experiences and lessons with me that taught him about the importance of using both secular and spiritual excellence to bring his best self to every position he has held. 


Clemence shared that he used to “compartmentalize” his lifeseparate the spiritual and the secularbut that all changed for him after a powerful experience he had when applying for a job. As he prepared for a presentation to determine whether or not he would get the job, he relied on prayer to help him. As he did so, he said: “I felt pure light. It’s hard to describe, it was like a clarity of intellect that I hadn’t felt before. And I know it was beyond my own capacity.” For Clemence, this experience helped him understand the importance of relying on his faith, which can expand his capacities far beyond just his own. Now, as Clemence leads strategic communication messages for BYUtv, he continues to bring his faith into his work. He insists that it makes all the difference in his effectiveness as a leader and a communicator. 


Additionally, Clemence talks about the importance of using information, facts, data, and lived experience to guide all of the decisions he makes in his work at BYUtv. He says, “We collect and interpret data or metrics from dashboards to help us plan marketing strategy and campaigns.  Information (data), knowledge, and faith influence what we choose to do,” and has seen many times how this powerful combination leads to the best strategic decisions for the content produced by Clemence and his team members.


In the BYU PR Intelligence Lab, students have the opportunity to experience this same phenomenon. As we work with clients, including Sean Clemence’s team at BYUtv, we can truly do so with intelligence as we use both research-based methods and faith-based values to guide our communication recommendations. As Clemence shared in the end of our discussion, when we choose to lead with both truth and light, we choose to bring our very best selves to the clients we work for in a way that is inspiring and impactful to the world around us in unique and positive ways. 


Source: Doctrine and Covenants 93:36