By Roxanne Leone, Director, Marketing & Communications You can either work at developing a company’s culture, or leave it evolve on its own. The problem with allowing culture to take its own course...
World Wrestling Entertainment was my entire world as an adolescent. Little did I know then that I was learning invaluable lessons that would prepare me for my future career in PR.
Growing up attending a Catholic grade school, I was always told pro-wrestling is a sin and the staff urged parents not to let us watch. In fact, our teachers once thought they could eradicate our fascination with wrestling by informing us it wasn't real. Au contraire… we would incorporate the storylines during morning prayer. "My cousin Steve (Austin) was hit by a car recently, and I just want to ask that he have a speedy recovery." Pretty soon we all had a cousin “Steve.” Luckily the teachers never caught on – they just thought our families had horrible luck.
At the time, I didn’t think that watching wrestling would prepare me for the business world, but after working with our client, Anthem Sports & Entertainment, which owns Impact Wrestling, it’s clear to me that I’ve been applying lessons learned long ago.
Although the action-packed fights, larger-than-life personas and drama-filled storylines aren’t real, the lessons learned, however, are practical. Here are the top three lessons I learned from watching WWE that have helped me in my public relations career. Be prepared to accept failure (and grow from it) My first phone pitch was a failure. The reporter asked me a minor detail about the client I was pitching him and I stumbled…badly. The reporter smelled blood and told me if I can’t explain the value to his readers in 30 seconds or less, why was I wasting his time by pitching him. Instead of letting this experience bring me down, it drove me to come in well prepared for all future calls. Adapt or perish Like a wrestling match, working in PR requires you to react quickly and confidently, otherwise you’ll get knocked down. One of the first media interviews I set up for a client wasn’t going as well as planned – the reporter was going off topic, asking hard-hitting questions that the client clearly didn’t anticipate, and I had to react quickly to pivot the conversation, highlighting recent wins in order to keep the conversation positive. It takes teamwork to make the dream work Working in a collaborative workspace is very similar to tag-team wrestling because no matter what kind of beating work hands you, there’s always someone in your corner to have your back. For example, I was recently tasked with compiling a dense report on a very quick turnaround. Although the task was daunting and somewhat overwhelming on my own, my colleague had my back and not only assisted with the report, but also gave me tips to speed up the process while improving the quality.
These three life lessons have shaped me into the professional that I am today. Professional wrestling is more than just oiled up actors wearing speedos in a reality-tv drama fake-fighting in a ring. It's a way of life and taught me very “IMPACT-ful” lessons along the way.
Bob Gold & Associates (BG&A) is a results-driven, boutique-sized agency headquartered in Southern California with a trusted global PR network supporting international campaigns. The BG&A team specializes in public relations and digital media to craft persuasive communication strategies that ensure your message is delivered accurately, at the right place, at the right time. With more than a 20-year history of relationship-building, our agency brings instant credibility to your business and provides unparalleled services to tell your story and generate results that you’ll be proud of. Whether you are a start-up, Fortune 500 firm, or content creator, we will enhance your unique brand story and secure more buzz for your budget.
BG&A is proud to announce that we have been named by Clutch as the 4th best crisis communications PR firms and 3rd boutique PR firms in the Industry. These rankings come from their 2019 report in which they featured only the highest performing companies on their platform.
Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews firm that ranks companies according to a number of criteria including how well they’re reviewed by their past clients, market share, and ability to deliver. The web platform at Cluch.co is intended to allow users to see how businesses and solutions compare in a specific market and discover industry insights from thought leaders.
This recognition carries a heavy weight, as we have achieved a position in the top 15 firms out of over 800 on each list, thus placing us on the Clutch leader’s matrix.
The leader’s matrix is based off of a company’s ability to deliver and industry focus. Ability to Deliver includes the company's client reviews, past work, market presence, and prestigious awards. Focus is a company's level of specialization in a given service.
Of all the methods used to evaluate a company, Clutch places the most emphasis on conducting verified interviews with former clients. These reviews take place over the phone to ensure the integrity and honesty of responses. Once the clients share their feedback, Clutch Analysts compile the information into a clear and concise fashion and then publish the review to the company’s profile page.
This type of feedback helps our team identify what our clients appreciate most about our work, or in other words, what practices we should continue in our daily processes; and what behavior needs improvement. Our reviews have been positive so far; however, we are excited to see what our clients will share with us in the future and are eager to improve our methodologies.
Our team is thankful to have a platform like Clutch to help promote our business and convey our competence and honestly to potential clients. We’re excited to receive more constructive feedback with every subsequent review published on Clutch and our team will continue to operate with complete transparency to ensure your success!
Public relations is a cost-effective way to bring awareness to a brand and insert key voices into industry-shaping conversations. This can be invaluable, especially for startups or smaller-sized operations that may have less capital. However, success cannot be achieved with a cookie-cutter methodology. Instead, it requires creativity and constant momentum; otherwise, you might find yourself treading water with wasted wire distributions and misplaced news.
To help you tap into your full potential and build momentum, here are some tips to ensure an effective PR strategy: Make the most of your news: If you have ground-breaking news, great! Additionally, it’s also ok to praise newly appointed associates and promote a solid company culture with news releases, but these types of announcements should be augmented by tying them into key messaging, themes and objectives to make the biggest impact. The idea is to create engaging content while tying in your key messages, so they relate to your target audience’s interests.
Pitch your news: If you want attention for your brand, it’s not enough to post news solely on your company blog or social media. Make sure you’re distributing news to the proper media channels. Stories such as a new client, a fresh case studies, or even just a product update can be of interest to the right journalist.
Find the right journalists: Unless you’re Google, Amazon, Facebook or a similar giant in your industry, posting on the wire alone won’t get you beyond the “press release” feed of local broadcast station landing pages. To ensure your news is seen – and covered – it’s critical that you directly engage with the key journalists covering your industry. Simply reading the news, and knowing who is saying what, will help you find the most appropriate journalists and guide you into the right conversation.
Synergize PR & marketing: Marketing content like a white paper, byline or case study can create useful website and social copy and help PR secure coverage at the same time. Therefore, it pays to have your marketing and PR teams operating in sync, so everything comes together, your company news is fresh to reporters and your messaging reaches a broad audience.
Leverage original data: Reporters can’t get enough data, and if it’s exclusive, it’s that much more newsworthy. If you don’t have your own in-house generated data, use a platform like Google Survey or SurveyMonkey to generate new data. This could place your company at the epicenter of a developing conversation, and you may see your name quoted a lot in citations.
Developing an innovative product or service is not enough. You must find a way to communicate to the public and maintain momentum. Follow these tips to develop a well-rounded PR program, and if you don’t see the success you think you deserve, reach out to a reputable PR agency, such as BG&A, to leverage industry connections.
By Roxanne Leone, Director Marketing & Communications
Mentoring is a two way street. If you’ve already made your decision to become a mentor to a college student, a new employee or other aspiring professional, I would recommend you put yourself in their shoes to ensure you are filling their needs as well as your own. I’ve chosen the top 5 tips that helped my mentor and I be successful and grow my career. Assess your own skills. Identify your skillset and which skills you feel your mentee would benefit most from. You don’t need to have experience with every skill your mentor may need – or want – but you must be willing to grow and learn with them.
Take time to analyze how you started in your own career and document the guidance that you found the most, and least, helpful to you as you moved up the corporate ladder. Set goals jointly. It might seem like a small task, but setting up the logistics of when, where and how often you’ll connect is very important. My mentor put the needs of his sales department first, as most VP’s do, so our mentoring time was set weekly between 5:30-7:00 pm after sales were closed out for the day.
Set expectations for the mentoring relationship from the get-go. By understanding your mentee's goals will show your commitment to the relationship and his or her professional development. A goal may be narrow in focus or on overall career progression.
For me, it was critical to get more comfortable in front of an audience. By being a more effective communicator I could strengthen my leadership skillset. I joined Toastmasters International, a local public speaking club, during evening hours and my mentor, also my manager, planned all of my corporate presentations first thing in the morning to lower my anxiety. I spent 2 years in the program and then became the founding member of a club within our own organization. Listen I’ve seen mentors so excited to help a mentee that they make decisions for the individual instead of listening to what they want. Sure it’s a difficult ask, but do your best to stop what you’re working on, focus and listen. And if you can meet outside your office and in a common area like a conference room that may work out best. The more you listen, the more you discover and your colleague may just surprise you.
My mentor chose to mentor me after we attended an industry trade show. He said his issue with me was that I was all business. But after a week on the road getting to know me on a personal level he felt I had the creativity, confidence and passion to drive my success. Be professional. Trust and respect is of the utmost of importance to any professional relationship. It’s also critical to make your mentee feel safe and that what you choose to discuss will remain confidential. Both of you should have the comfort level to have dialogue to work through issues without passing judgement.
With my mentor’s 30 years of experience in the industry I was new to, he served as a role model with very high standards for professionalism in the workplace. I was also the second women to join a team of 30 white men. One of his management goals was diversity and inclusion and growing our staff to include more women and people of color. Share your network. I think one of the most valuable things you can pass on to your mentee is your professional network. People across the globe are expected to communicate and build camaraderie to get the job done, and done well.
Working on a professional network takes years of practice and is always ongoing. To prepare your mentee for the long road ahead, introduce your mentee to relevant contacts that can be valuable resources for them today or in the future.
In addition, ensure your mentee participates in professional development programs such as the Intrapreneurship Academy (IA) to strengthen leadership skills and grow their network. The Cable Center’s IA Program has a robust training program suitable for people in the cable industry or any technology industry driving innovation.
One of the most worthwhile networking opportunities offered to me was managing my VP’s public relations interviews with the trade media. I was able to plan and attend speaking opportunities, professional meetings with the press, meals with high-level colleagues, customers and partners.
Keep your mentee’s interest at heart through laser-focused attention on opening doors of opportunity.
With a simple Google search, any PR professional can find dozens of listicles, recommendations and tactics on how to successfully pitch a story to the media. So, why do most editors still say ALL the pitches they receive are bad, not useful, or an embarrassing display of awkward transitions? If you’re having a difficult time earning coverage for yourself, a client or a brand, it’s time to buckle down and commit to the following five core principals of pitching. If you do, you’ll improve your chances of earning the respect, attention and, most importantly, interest from reporters. Know your audience. We all know each reporter covers a different topic or “beat.” So, doesn’t it make sense to read their previous stories for an indication of whether they might be the right person to cover your story? Yes. The answer is yes. Give your story a chance to be heard by taking the necessary time to find the right people to pitch. And when you do, try incorporating a ready-to-use quote or stat to make things easier for the reporter, while proving you’re a valuable source.
Pitch like a human. This is what separates us PR professionals from the animals…I mean robots. Machines can blast generic emails to media lists, but you? You’re better than that. Your pitch needs to be personalized to individual editors and publications as if…here me out…it didn’t come from an automated platform.
Less is more. It’s time to parlay Marie Kondo’s method into your pitch writing. De-clutter your pitches and aim for one to two paragraphs. Be short, straight forward, and show value. Writers, editors and producers are generally so busy that the less information they must read, the better the chances that they’ll read it. Make sure to answer these two questions: What is exciting about this story, and how is it relevant to the readers of this publication?
Do NOT attach. If you’re sending pitches with attachments and wondering why you hear crickets afterwards, it’s probably because your pitch ended up deep within the confines of a junk or spam folder. However, reporters love visuals, so be sure to provide multimedia elements by including a link to view or download them.
For Pete’s sake, pick up the phone. Following up on a media pitch is as important as sending it in the first place. When I first begun pitching, I made follow-up phone calls a priority and guess what happened? I was able to build more personal relationships with reporters who later became future core contacts for entirely different clients. Just make sure to start the call by asking if it’s an OK time to talk – this shows you understand deadlines and respect their time. Follow these five principals and you’ll be pitching like a pro and building meaningful relationships in no time. Now repeat after me: “I shall not be flagged as spam once more,” and repeat.
By Roxanne Leone, Director, Marketing & Communications I’ve been a marketer for over 20 years…and in my opinion only a select few of former employers have managed headcount optimally. Therefore, I’d like to share one piece of advice that helped me along the way: align yourself with top performers across the entire organization. It’s the key to shortening campaign timelines and driving success. As a marketer or communications professional, you may agree that your role becomes critical only after other departments such as engineering deliver first -- like sharing new product benefits and specifications for you to develop promotional materials. Depending on others can mean days, weeks or months of waiting for assets, and by the time they arrive, you’re already expected to have results in hand. Whether you’re flying solo, or leading a small team, bandwidth is likely your greatest challenge… but it doesn’t have to be.I overcame bandwidth constraints by building camaraderie with colleagues across the entire organization that most resembled my perfectionist-like working style. As Morten Hansen documented in his best-selling book, Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More the people that outperform their colleagues are those that Do Less, Then Obsess. Based on his research, these people are able to set a few key priorities and do them exceptionally well.I agree with Hansen’s research and always kept my priorities in check. So, whether I was tasked to lead a new product launch or secure attendees for a special event, I knew that when I didn’t have my own staff, I would have to broaden my reach. Until I could build a case for new headcount, I nurtured long-lasting relationships with these individuals. I counted on my extended team to shorten my marketing timelines as they related to sales materials, advertising, website development, and media relations. By working diligently through this process I realized that securing headcount was not as critical as I had thought. By building relationships with mission-driven colleagues I was able to push off the immediate need for staffing, secure budget to grow the business and work my way up the corporate ladder.
By Roxanne Leone, Director, Marketing & Communications Facebook’s made its share of crisis-communications missteps over the past two years. Among other stumbles, the company has been accused of slow responses to various reported breaches and allegations. These include data-protection lapses resulting from its involvement with Cambridge Analytica, as well as sharing of personal data with device manufacturers including Apple and Amazon, and inflating video-view metrics in its dealings with advertisers.But this isn’t to pile on. Actually, the opportunity remains – as it always does for companies with substantial resources, frankly -- to repair its reputation substantially…perhaps even to net out ahead of the game. But first, let’s cry over a bit of spilled milk.Facebook, like so many companies that achieve market dominance, has long been the target of critics. It hasn’t helped that legacy media organizations feel frustrated by the social network’s ability, alongside Google, to soak up most digital ad spending, even as the platform uses much of their original content to draw traffic. According to eMarketer, nearly 60% of all 2019 digital advertising dollars are expected to go to these two companies, Facebook and Google; about 15.5% is projected to go to Amazon, Microsoft and Verizon…leaving the remaining portion – less than a quarter of the pie – to be fought over by countless other digital-ad sellers, including the many legacy media companies scrambling to offset the sagging flow of ad dollars to their traditional platforms. In short, Facebook has long needed “friends.” So, when it got rough for the social network starting more than a year ago, there seemed to be little sympathy. Just the same, Facebook had the opportunity to seize the narrative quickly toward its advantage – and the playbook has been there for decades. It’s the cornerstone crisis-communications example of the mid-1980’s Tylenol scare and Johnson & Johnson’s now-textbook response. After it was learned in 1982 that Extra-Strength Tylenol had killed a number of consumers, J&J CEO James Burke was faced with difficult decisions. No doubt he was receiving advice from legal advisers to say virtually nothing in response to the crisis. Fortunately, he listened to the advice of public relation’s experts who helped him understand the need to communicate in order to save his brand. First, J&J smartly made it clear that it was the victim of an attack. Then the company undertook great expense to remove the product from all shelves and to re-tool all new bottles with the tamper-proof protective sealing we all know today. And at every step of the way they communicated with all their constituents – current and prospective Tylenol consumers, distributors, retail stores, regulators, politicians, shareholders, the media and others. The result was that Extra-Strength Tylenol – and J&J – came back stronger than ever. Had Facebook taken a similar route from day one – namely, acknowledge that it had been the victim of hacks, and that it would staff human curators, reinforce security protocols and to do essentially whatever it would take to earn back the trust of its users – then the narrative over the past year may have been different. As it is, calls have grown for Facebook to be regulated – a near-nightmare-scenario outcome for this publicly traded company.Nevertheless, it’s not too late for a company with Facebook’s resources to polish its image. Mark Zuckerberg’s obviously a very intelligent guy; he listened to his advisers and he acquitted himself deftly during his 2018 Congressional hearings. But it’s actions more than words that truly sway consumers, regulators and legislators, and Facebook has been taking action as well. In an arguably overdue olive branch to the legacy journalism sector, Facebook has committed to invest $300 million in local-news initiatives. And most recently, Zuckerberg has sought to get out in front of the issue by calling for a greater role for government – of course, on terms he finds more palatable. “Facebook already publishes transparency reports on how effectively we’re removing harmful content, he wrote in a March 30th Washington Post opinion piece. “I believe every major Internet service should do this quarterly, because it’s just as important as financial reporting.” However belated, it’s all a step in the right direction towards brand recovery.
In a recent report released by Clutch, a B2B research and reviews firm, Bob Gold & Associates is featured as an industry leader and Bob Gold shared his insight on how businesses should approach corporate social responsibility. Most people say businesses across industries should commit to corporate social responsibility, regardless of industry. How a company approaches corporate social responsibility can influence people’s buying decisions and people want to support businesses that share their values. Gold emphasized the importance of trust, consistency, and value to a business’s PR strategy. “There are three core qualities that are essential to every business,” Gold said. “These are trust, consistency, and value. Business need to ask themselves how do we build trust? How do we deliver consistency and what does that look like? What is value?” When approaching corporate social responsibility, businesses need to consider how they display trust, consistency, and value in their brand and how they relay these qualities to their customers. Understand the Value and Fragility of Trust With social media and the internet, the world is more transparent than ever and people expect businesses to be transparent and hold themselves accountable. “Trust is in every step of the supply chain,” Gold said. “When you say something, you should mean it.” Businesses should not only talk about why social responsibility is important, but embody social responsibility in every part of their business model. Build Trust Through ConsistencyBuilding trust is a gradual process that depends on your ability to communicate consistent messages about your brand and its value to your customers. Anytime a business adopts policies of corporate social responsibility, they should think about how it relates to their brand purpose and their customers’ values. “You always want to stay close to the mission of the brand so that it’s an authentic statement,” Gold said. “It’s authentic in that’s consistent with the values of the brand and it provides continuing value because we believe in what’s going on.” Perception in PR and Corporate Social Responsibility Matters PR and corporate social responsibility are closely linked, but are not synonymous. If corporate social responsibility is approached purely from a PR standpoint, people may view the brand as unauthentic. A brand that doesn’t consider their PR strategy at all when approaching corporate social responsibility also doesn’t consider their brand purpose or customers, which can mean people may start to view the brand negatively. “Businesses have to believe in what they’re doing,” said Roxanne Leone. “We don’t believe in publicity stunts. We believe in recommending the right publicity with the right social reason.” PR and corporate social responsibility are interconnected, but different aspects of business and brand. Businesses should consider their PR strategies when adopting socially responsible policies that are both relevant to their brand and customers. Consider What Makes Sense for Your Brand Bob Gold & Associates approach corporate social responsibility how it makes sense for our individual clients. As one of the top PR agencies, we help our clients identify their brand values and expectations of their customers so they can adopt corporate social responsibility policies that will elevate their brand, the cause they choose to support, and their customers who share the same values.
Since our company’s start in 1997, we have consistently delivered powerful results through strategies that reflect our unparalleled connections and industry insights. For years, we have been recognized for our strategic thinking and our expertise across all areas of communications in industries as varied as cable TV, programming networks, sports, telecommunications, technology, real estate and health care. To continue growing our clientele and our brand, we partnered with Clutch.co this year. Clutch is a business-to-business ratings and reviews firm in Washington, DC. After being with Clutch for only a short period of time, we have received five incredible reviews by our clients, earning us a 5 star rating! Our clients have shared some incredibly kind comments, like: “They did a great job introducing our company to the world.” – Founder & CEO, Global Net Solutions “[Bob Gold & Associates] provides a good product, a good profit, and good process management.” – Executive Director & Founder, MESA “They’re the best firm we’ve ever worked with.” – Chief Marketing Officer, Viamedia Because of our positive client reviews and our strong market presence evaluation, we’re ranked on Clutch as the number one PR firm in Los Angeles, we’re listed on their sister-site The Manifest amongst the top 100 PR firms worldwide, and we’ve joined the elite Clutch 1000, which is a new award rolled out this year that highlights the best agencies on Clutch regardless of industry. We can very confidently say that 2018 has been a great year, and we’re very grateful to our business partners and supporters over the years who have helped Bob Gold & Associates get to where it is today. Public relations firms have always been an integral part of running a successful business, and it’s only becoming even more important for brands to maintain a solid reputation in today’s digital age. As we continue to grow as a company and as we accomplish new goals, we are excited for the projects that we’re working on now and for the new projects that will come our way in 2019. Reach out to us today to get started!