I love a good product jingle. My favorite ones are the successful tunes that develop a life of their own and become a part of pop culture history.
Catchy tunes come and go, but Gatorade remains my go-to. I love the “Gatorade Has Evolved” jingle that was launched during the 2010 NBA playoffs. It’s my fight song, and its familiar refrains powered my Communication Management Professional (CMP) certification journey.
Is Certification Worth It?
Like so many other communication professionals, I asked the question: Is certification worth it?
I felt that my years in the industry and volumes of portfolios should be enough to prove my expertise.
That’s when the Gatorade jingle came to mind. R&B singer Kermit Quinn infectiously sings:
“If you want a revolution
the only solution: evolve. You gotta evolve.”
I realized that becoming certified wasn’t about my past knowledge and experience. On the contrary, it was an investment in my future. As the often quoted advice says, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” Certification would open new doors in my future by teaching me how to better think and perform as a strategic communicator.
Becoming a Trusted Strategic Adviser: Advice From Recent CMP Certificants
Six recent CMP certificants share why they pursued CMP certification, specific tips for preparing for the exam and how they believe their careers will grow with their newly achieved designation.
Put in the Work
The Gatorade anthem goes on to say:
“Make no mistake about it.
You gotta evolve.
Blood, sweat and tears around it
and a lot of resolve.
There's no way around it.
Gotta give it your all.”
Preparing for the certification exam takes work. You can’t just wing it. Communication is a diverse industry with so many subsets. Do you work in media relations? External communication? Internal communication? Something else? The CMP exam is comprehensive, and when you sit for the test you must understand how our multi-faceted industry works together to build mutually beneficial relationships with our publics.
IABC offers wonderful resources to help you prepare for the scenario-based certification exam questions. I recommend the IABC Academy Communication Management Professional (CMP) Refresher series. This suite of online courses and the IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication offer a comprehensive look at best practices in strategic communications.
“If you’re considering certification, please understand that it’s not a one-and-done situation. It’s the beginning of a commitment to lifelong professional development.”
Evolution Never Stops
If you’re considering certification, please understand that it’s not a one-and-done situation. It’s the beginning of a commitment to lifelong professional development.
Once you pass the CMP exam, you must adhere to the annual maintenance requirement. Each year, you must complete 40 points of professional development. To be honest, this initially just sounded like more work to me. However, the Gatorade jingle never lets me down. It had some final words of wisdom to impart:
“You gotta do more than try to get by.
Evolution is the key and that’s no lie.”
Talk about your “a-ha” moments! OK, Gatorade, I get it. I embrace the lifelong commitment to evolve.
Ready to become certified? Visit the IABC website to learn how you can get started with CMP or SCMP certification.
Peyton Woodson Cooper, CMP, CPC
Peyton Woodson Cooper, CMP, CPC, manages the award-winning internal communications team for Houston’s Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) Hospital, the busiest level III trauma center in Texas. She is an agile communications leader with more than 20 years of experience as a journalist and marketing communications professional.
A proud Dallasite, Peyton earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with double minors in sociology and religious studies from Southern Methodist University (SMU). During her time on the Hilltop, she was a dedicated staff writer for the SMU Daily Campus.
Upon graduating from SMU, Peyton was selected for the acclaimed Knight Ridder postgraduate newspaper internship program. She would go on hold positions as a crime reporter and general assignment reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Hartford Bureau of the Associated Press.
Peyton eventually transitioned to marketing communications. As a strategic communications leader, she has worked for the University of Connecticut, Baylor College of Medicine and CenterPoint Energy.
In 2018, Peyton was honored by Ragan Communications, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for her award-wining LBJ Hospital crisis communications response to Hurricane Harvey.
Peyton is a respected speaker and lecturer. In 2021, she taught a course for the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers’ Certified Public Communicator Program at Texas Christian University. In 2018, she delivered the keynote address for the 2018 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s National Employee Communications Conference.
Peyton is a member of IABC Houston and is a former board secretary for PRSA Houston. A lifelong learner, she is certified by the Global Communication Certification Council (an IABC Initiative) as a Communications Management Professional (CMP), and is a Certified Public Communicator (CPC) by the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers/Texas Christian University. She is a master’s degree candidate in strategic communications at Arkansas State University.