Yep, we’re crazy. Thanks Steve.
February 11, 2016
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. ― Steve Jobs
This quote always reminds me of why we started Barokas Communications 18 years ago. In our case, we wanted to influence the world of PR and erase the paradigm where agencies serve as a “yes man” to their clients. Fast forward to 2016, and we’ve made great strides. One of our new team members recently mentioned to me that our agency has a very different way of approaching PR. Of course, that was music to my ears. And the result of some trial and error, and a lot of love, sweat and tears.
Like any PR firm, we continue to evolve and I give all the credit to our team. In late January, we got together for our annual Winter All Hands. While the two-day event contains a line up of inspiring speakers, including journalists and former clients, I believe the most important element of the event is the time we spend bonding with our colleagues and exchanging ideas. It’s in moments like these, where I see our team inspired to push the bounds of PR and redefine how we pitch the media, build relationships and strategize with our clients.
Here are a few examples of how our team is changing the world of PR, one step at a time:
Walk the Talk:
As an agency, we are committed to avoiding all of those loathsome practices that give PR agencies a bad name. You know what I’m talking about. Bombarding the media through a ‘spraying and praying’ approach to pitching. Wasting time and money to build out a master media list of 100-200 contacts, but only a handful of which you should really pitch at any given time based on the relevancy of a pitch or news item. As an agency, we are committed to targeting the select media and influencers that will drive the most impact for our client and customizing our outreach to them. Carpet-bombing isn’t a word in our vocabulary (sorry Ted Cruz).
Death to Bad Pitches:
500 word essays. Sentence after sentence of buzzwords, jargon and clichés. Redundant paragraphs. A pitch addressed to your fellow reporter at InformationWeek when you write for InfoWorld. We’ve all seen the horror stories and it’s time to rid the world of bad PR pitches.
At Barokas Communications, we aim to relate to reporters on a human level. You might be thinking, “but I have an enterprise tech client in the cloud computing space and it’s hard to relate to that.” BS. We all put our pants on one leg at a time – it’s possible to find a connection. For example, one of our AEs had the brilliant idea of playing a pitch off of the movie “Sex Tape” for one of our cloud clients that sells to large enterprises. Sex tapes – whether you have or haven’t made one (no I’m not judging), make headline news. Talk of them is prevalent in society and you can probably name a few celebs that wish they had never gone down that road. That makes it relatable. The movie purports that nobody understands the cloud and that it creates a lot of FUD – fear, uncertainty and doubt. We pitched an article to CNBC that debunked these myths, and voila, a few days later we had a tier 1 business press hit for our client.
Focus on Solutions, Not the Problem:
On a recent trip to Africa, my husband and I had the pleasure of getting to know the client services manager at the resort where we stayed in Mozambique. This king of customer service – aka Valentine – was one of the key reasons we had the best trip of our life vs. one that nearly ended with us checking out of the hotel and taking a boat to a resort on a nearby island. I’ll spare you the details (but start with a room hotter than a Bikram yoga class), and get to the point – he’s a shining example of the importance of customer service, whether you’re in hospitality or PR.
Valentine’s motto is “there are no problems, only solutions.” We’ve adopted this approach as our theme for 2016 as a constant reminder to keep our eye on the outcomes we can affect for clients. In the world of PR, where it feels like information and noise is coming at you from every direction, it’s easy to be distracted from a goal. A simple shift in mindset to focus on the solution vs. the myriad of things that may be pulling you away from it, leads to more productive conversations, and ultimately, better results for clients.
Yours in the quest for change,
And just for fun, a quick pick for our team.