Speaker 1 (00:02):
This podcast is for PR pros who are looking to discover the best strategies for landing their dream retainer clients and scoring them top tier media coverage. I'm your host, Jen Buron. And I want you to have a fulfilling career in PR that totally likes you up without sacrificing your personal or family time or your sanity. Welcome to the pitching powerhouse podcast.
Speaker 2 (00:31):
Oh my God. I am so excited for you guys to listen in on this chat with brand groupies, Lauren Jane and Carrie Begg. I hope I'm saying that, right. Um, they are so fun and awesome, and their energy is infectious. It's really a great chat with two PR industry veterans. Um, it makes them sound very old, but if they do have over 45 years of combined experience doing fashion PR just between the two of them, and they found a way to leverage that fashion expertise to work with commercial architecture, engineering, and construction brands on their marketing and social media and PR, which for me initially was like a big leap to wrap my head around and that's coming from me. I went from law to PR, but it's really cool how they tell their story and they're able to kind of make these, these, you know, not so traditionally cool come companies really sexy through amazing branding, cohesive messaging, um, and they really have a passion for their clients and they have just a great strategy for going for fewer better clients, where they can get in really deep and, you know, just really make an impact for companies that they truly believe in.
Speaker 2 (02:04):
And one of the things they've done is they coined this term. So PR, which is the fusion of PR and social media, because they see that the two really go hand in hand and that they can leverage and amplify each other's E efforts that they're making through social and PR all to the, the benefit of the client. So they have this really cool approach for promoting these companies and they are doing all the things, you know, including branding and building websites. And they also align messaging across all disciplines so that they can make a really memorable impact. And it allows them. It's very cool because they're turning these formerly kind of stuffy businesses and the founders into the rock stars of their industry through this SOPR magic. So, and they become the ultimate groupies for their clients, hence brand groupies. Um, but we had a really good talk about how they're able to do all of this and balance being moms. I can't wait for you to listen in such an energizing conversation with Lauren and carry bell.
Speaker 3 (03:19):
Hi guys. Welcome to our show. Lauren Kerry. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for having
Speaker 4 (03:25):
Us. Thank you for having us. We're excited.
Speaker 3 (03:28):
I love it. I love that. You're actually in the same room. It's like progress is happening. Um, yeah. And then, uh, so you're located in New Jersey. You just told me the
Speaker 5 (03:39):
In Redbank, New Jersey red bank, New Jersey, top of Manhattan.
Speaker 3 (03:44):
Oh, so awesome. Um, well, okay. We've, you know, introduced you to our audience and told them a little bit about brand groupies, but I'd love to hear from both of you actually, how did you two get your start in PR and in social media, um, and would love to hear kind of about the creation story for your business? Oh,
Speaker 5 (04:07):
Sure. Awesome. So few years older than Lauren and I actually, um, uh, majored in PR in journalism at the university of Maryland. And, um, I just, I had a, um, internship in PR and it happened to be at a fashion PR firm. And I said, oh, I like fashion. And my minor was Italian. And I said, oh, I love it Italy. And there's a lot of fashion in Italy. So, um, I ended up doing fashion PR for many years. Um, producing fashion shows. I lived in Milan for almost three years. Wow. And, uh, worked with a lot of, uh, global designers. And then, um, ended up in the watch industry doing, uh, PR for Gucci watches and who blow, uh, watches. So my whole career was kind of, uh, fashion, uh, back in the day. And, uh, you know, then since then, you know, started, uh, brand groupies, but Lauren and I have a, a crossovers story kind of, um, in the early days of, of my career.
Speaker 4 (05:04):
Yes, I, um, so I went to the university of Delaware and was a communications major.
Speaker 3 (05:09):
Okay. I was a comms major too at U CS.
Speaker 4 (05:13):
Yes. Came from a meeting. I referenced comms and they were like, what's com's. I was like, um, so I actually joined a sorority and I met, um, Carrie's younger sister, Holly who became my big sister and my sorority and Carrie at the time was a couple is a couple years older. And she was working in New York. She was working already in fashion. And we used to go up during New York fashion week in February and September, and we would visit her and we'd all cram her tiny little apartment, go to the parties and runway shows, gift
Speaker 3 (05:44):
Speaker 4 (05:46):
I remember one night we met, I met there, meet at one of her parties. Oh. Um, and it was just so much fun. And I said, you know what? This is what I wanna do. I've always been interested in fashion. And I grew up in Pennsylvania. So there was no one there that I knew of doing fashion PR I didn't even know this whole realm existed. Mm-hmm so it was a really natural fit. When I graduated, I, I worked in house at a big global couture brand called ACA. And then I moved to a boutique agency where I got kind of the best of both worlds. I got to work on, um, big events for brands like ES and Chanel and Burberry and Baca again. And then on a daily basis, I was working with lots of different, fun fashion brands. And then I went on to, um, work at an agency and run their fashion lifestyle division for 14 years. But I always stayed in touch with Carrie. Yeah. I always, you know, followed along and her path and would get together with her. And, and so she's very much a huge part of my professional story. And then it's just small world. A couple years ago, I moved, um, nearby in her area where she had grown up and, uh, reconnected and, and ended up joining the business.
Speaker 3 (06:54):
Oh my God. Wow. You guys just, they listed off all of my aspirational brands, you know, all the best coolest, like what a, what a career, what amazing opportunities you both had. Yeah. Wow. Thank you. Yes. Wow. And to live in Milan, what was that like? Oh,
Speaker 5 (07:12):
It was great. You know, I think everyone thinks, oh, fashion is so glamorous and this kind of is a time where we are today. Yeah. And it was, it was not that glamorous at all. I mean, it was cutthroat, it was stressful. It was times toxic, you know, so it, you know, and you know, it was really the best training ground. Like we always say, if you, if you worked in fashion, you can work in any industry. And, um, you know, and it's, it's so interesting cuz Milan, it was awesome. I learned Italian and that was my goal to, to learn Italian and, you know, really, um, work with international designers. And the goal was to then come back to New York and work for, you know, Italian companies and then travel back and forth. That that was the ultimate goal. But, um, it's so funny because it, um, it got to the point when I had kids, I said, I can't do this fashion life anymore, like doing parties at night.
Speaker 5 (08:04):
And it was so exciting. And, but at the time it was just, um, too much. And that's when, you know, that's when things shifted and I actually opened up a children's place based business in, uh, Brooklyn, um, when I had kids, cause I said, you know what, I wanna do. I wanna be an entrepreneur, always had that in my blood. And um, so we, I did that for a few years and I said, I'm never moving back to the suburbs. I'm, I'm a city girl for life. And, um, turns out I moved back for family and um, started brand groupies. And at, at the time I just thought, you know what? I, um, it wasn't looking for fashion brands. It was kind of like, I loved helping entrepreneurs. I had had my own company. I worked in PR, so I was helping small businesses. And then, um, what really, uh, it was a, a lucky opportunity where I start, I got the opportunity to, to do social media for a, an architecture and design firm in Manhattan.
Speaker 5 (08:55):
And I thought, Hey, you know what? I was in fashion design, you know, how different can it be? I, I can do this and then fell in love with that industry, with the AEC industry, architecture, engineering, and construction. And when Lauren and I, um, you know, connected, it was like, all right, this is our jam. This is like, you know, really love, you know, adding our fashion stamp and our fashion eyes to traditional cookie, you know, brands that we thought, oh, these are million, you know, how many, um, 30 multi million multi companies, we thought their marketing would be on par with fashion, but no, it was a surprise. It was that it wasn't. So we were just doing our, our normal thing working, you know, 200% like we did in fashion. And we, we actually were making a mark in these industries that never had that before.
Speaker 4 (09:41):
Mm-hmm yeah, it kinda resonates with, I've seen you say it, Jen, if you kind of pick a niche and you go deeply and really become an expert there. And I think that we took our 20 plus years of fashion training, um, and we applied it to these more traditional gender industries. And what happened was by making them a bit sexier and by making them stand out both on social and starting to, to bring their, the faces behind the brands or leadership team from a PR perspective to the forefront, we were able to, to really make a big impact on their businesses and create, you know, the faces behind the brand to become a bit more known, um, in the industry. And again, it's about, you know, staying in their industry and then a little bit outside of the industry too, when it comes to the PR approach, but it's taking all that training that we had learned and applying it into industries that surprisingly, you know, a lot of, a lot of their marketing or their, you know, VPs of marketing and are really more responsible for writing new business proposals. Um, mm-hmm, , we're not doing the traditional marketing roles that we think of mm-hmm um, so it's been, it's been so much fun and we keep expanding and growing in this space and really try to stay in that niche.
Speaker 3 (10:50):
Oh my God, I have a million questions right now. Mm-hmm um, the one that just flew into my head at the very end and I hope I can go back to the other ones. This is sort of off topic, but because you have become the go-tos in this space and it's really, really niche down, which I love. Um, yes. And I, you you're right. I preach that all the time and look at what it's done for you to carve out that niche and to like bring this sexiness and this branding expertise to an industry that desperately needed it because their creations are so amazing and, uh, you know, elevated. Um, but their branding isn't. Do you encounter any kind of challenges with conflicts among competing, um, clients?
Speaker 4 (11:39):
Um, so far? No, I think so far fortunate. They're complimentary, but they're not, they're not competitors and it's almost different from the fashion agency model where you would work with lots of different fashion brands. You might work with the few denim companies you might work with the few watch brands. Um, you know, we've been very fortunate to be growing in a way that, that all of our clients are complimentary. And again, we kind of go very deep within each brand. So we do, you know, we act as a marketing leg and our personal branding, or we're doing social and PR and newsletter and some. And so, um, it's been great to just kind of our, our business model is not to kind of chase after 10 or 12 brands it's, let's work with or architecture for five, you know, really great. And just getting deep go and really deep with 'em so that we can truly be brand groupies is our mantra. Yes, yes.
Speaker 5 (12:33):
You know, so, and I think it's, it, there are so many different, um, you know, companies like architectural design, we have an, you know, a big commercial H B a C company construction. So they all compliment and work with each other. So it's a lot of real estate press commercial real estate, you know, umbrella
Speaker 4 (12:51):
Speaker 5 (12:53):
You know, taking there and to Lauren, you know, of course. So Lauren started the PR division of brand groupies before it was really social rebranding. And, um, and so, you know, it's just so interesting. I always use the example of when she would promote fashion designers, you know, as the face of the brand and use all those angles and she's doing the same with C-suite leaders
Speaker 4 (13:12):
Uhhuh, it came so naturally. That's honestly why I'm still doing PR 20 years in. I always like the people behind the brands, you know, for fashion, I, I would always say, you know, like my 10 year old could probably put, throw, you know, those clothes in the, in a bag and send them off to Vogue. It was really getting the bigger feature stories and dissecting the angles that it got me excited, I every day. And I still feel that way about our clients, you know, getting to know them and then their side hustles and their passions and what makes them unique. And, and how have they been able to be so successful, you know, within the last, however many years of their professional career. And then how can we dissect that down and figure out how to, how to make that into a compelling story for the media. So that it's good to know that. Yeah, I
Speaker 3 (13:57):
Love that. You've been able to find a way to continue to love what you're doing and to translate your skills and your knowhow and the things you loved about one industry, but you, maybe you wanted to move away from the industry and just apply that to an industry that desperately needed you and you could make your mark, but it also excites you again. Um, that's, that's really cool to me cuz I just, you know, I want everyone in our community to love their business. Yes. And I don't want them go to go down a path where in 10 years they're gonna hate what they're doing and say, why, why did I even go down this route? It's not exciting to me.
Speaker 4 (14:38):
Sure. I think it's been interesting to see how we could take, you know, we had kind of, we were finished with fashion by the time we, you know, we, we finished and we always say, you know, if everything else doesn't work out, we could write a book about that someday. And all of our experiences I
Speaker 3 (14:51):
Speaker 4 (14:53):
I think they're very, very deep a, you know, we, we could dig that out as our backup plan, but yes, it's just been so much fun to kind of almost have a fresh start. And I think we can probably hear it in our voice. We're sad, enthusiastic and passionate about our clients. I think that's the other thing, not only your business, but the people you work with that you put on yourself with. And we, we've gotten to a point in our careers where we really, um, you know, we follow our guts and we, and you're
Speaker 3 (15:18):
Speaker 4 (15:20):
We can pick our clients and be surrounded by you, you know, great people, right? Yes. Learned that lesson over and over again.
Speaker 5 (15:27):
I wish I learned
Speaker 4 (15:29):
How to say
Speaker 3 (15:31):
Yes to no yes. To know. Yes.
Speaker 5 (15:34):
You'd be at these agencies. We'd have, oh, so many clients and you, you know, the, you designer would call and you're like, ah,
Speaker 3 (15:42):
Yeah. Dreading that call.
Speaker 5 (15:45):
We like, I was telling Lauren like a client called. I was like just finishing dinner with my family. Oh my God. It's it's you know, so those on the like, I, I, we get excited because we're partners, like we're not just a outsourced PR marketing firm. Like we are like in it with them. Mm-hmm, like, we get excited, we celebrate our wins together and it's an energy and we wanna surround ourselves with those types of, you know, partners. So that's why we're picky. We only, yeah. You know, have, um, you know, a couple of, uh, uh, big clients and uh, and
Speaker 4 (16:14):
So much bandwidth to spread around. We very much wanted to be us. Yes. So, you know, our approach is that we don't walk into the meeting and beat and switch you, you know, you're investing us. Of course we have awesome partners and great support team. Um, but we wanna, you know, we're, we're there doing the, the work every day. So we wanna be excited when we get up in the morning.
Speaker 3 (16:32):
I always say that it's like, you become an extension of their team. And that's truly what you guys are. That's like what your model is and the passion that you have for the brands you can't, or your, um, clients, you can't fake that. And you know, so it's like, you have to love that, especially if you're going so deep and you're working so closely with them. Um, and I, I love what you said about saying no. I mean, that's a huge part of, one of our programs, the agency accelerator, it's like, you need to pay, you said, pay attention to your gut. We talk all about that. It's, it's an intuition that you hone as you've been doing this a long time and you just know, like, this is not gonna be a great experience for me. I don't care how much money they're gonna pay me. It is not worth it. Especially because you guys are both mom
Speaker 4 (17:23):
All the time. We're moms, we're your moms. Yes. And we, and our kids still wanna hang out with us, you know, tell me how old
Speaker 3 (17:29):
Your kids are. Each of you, you have a 10 year old, right. So you do,
Speaker 4 (17:33):
I have a
Speaker 5 (17:34):
Boys, 11 and 12
Speaker 4 (17:35):
And I have nine we're right. In those guy. We I'm nine and 12, so,
Speaker 3 (17:39):
Okay. I have I'm right there with you guys. I have a nine year old boy and a Al almost 10 year old and almost 12 year old boys. Oh my, yeah,
Speaker 4 (17:47):
You're right there. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (17:49):
Yeah. And it's like, you wanna cherish these moments while they still wanna actually spend time with you, you know? And I can feel my older one kind of pulling away a bit and I'm like, I know
Speaker 4 (18:00):
We're the same. We can really totally,
Speaker 5 (18:02):
Speaker 3 (18:03):
So yeah, if you are gonna be doing this and working your tail off, you wanna have it, Matt, not just for the income, but in loving what you're doing, but building up entrepreneurs you believe in and businesses that inspire you. So I love because that is so aligned with what I talk about in our program. So thank you for reinforcing that, um, question about this unique methodology that you've developed. S so P and it's like this fusion of social media and PR did I say that right? Because I was like, is it a word? Is it Soer, but it's SOPR right. Social PR, right. Social
Speaker 5 (18:42):
SOPR you're right. And then SOPR social NPR combined.
Speaker 3 (18:47):
Yeah. Yeah. And what does that look like? How did it, it kind of come about why is that the approach you landed on? How is it more effective than each of these kind of operating independently? Yeah,
Speaker 4 (18:57):
Sure. Well, I mean, Carrie, Carrie really coined the term. I think it's something we, we had wrapped our head around the concept almost before we came up with the name can people are Carrie came up with the name and it came very organically. She had been, you know, working in the social space and branding course and the PR mindset.
Speaker 5 (19:12):
But I doing, you know, I, I just was focused on social and branding. Yeah.
Speaker 4 (19:17):
And then when I joined the team right before COVID, we added the PR component and we just immediately saw how, you know, the old method, I think of hiring a social agency and hiring a PR agency and then a marketing agency to do your newsletter. And, uh, we were just very organically able to do all check all of those boxes. Mm-hmm . And when I get great PR it feels like, let's say one press placement. It might be a client on a podcast, which is, you know, so hot right now. Right. I feel like that's like the new version of what print was 20 years ago when we started, when we take that one podcast carry can, can get three or four timestamps from one episode, and then she can do all sorts of creative on the social side with that mm-hmm . And we said, you know, if you're just investing in a PR agency, you're just investing in social. Why not do both? Because then you really get the most bang for your buck. And
Speaker 3 (20:06):
So it's about leverage. It's really about kind of leveraging the results on both sides. Yes, that's
Speaker 5 (20:12):
Right. Absolutely. Oh, that's content. And, you know, it's like Laura to the point where there's so much press, we're like, oh my, we have so much content. And it's con you know, the perception that their clients have is like, oh my gosh, you know, are they're always in the news and they're on this. And then, oh, I heard this, you know, even if it's the 32nd real on Instagram, but it's like, they were quoted in the New York post. So normally it would just be, oh, it's the New York post. They were the new post, but we're like, we did a mash up reel. Like what New York post asked? What is workplace etiquette coming back? Is it handshake, fist bump. Yeah. And we did a whole thing of who'd they ask of course our client, um, and then the experts in workplace design. And so, you know, it's just taking that with a PR mindset and like really, um, dissecting, dissecting in and, and getting it out there and just like ringing every single last bit of that content. Cause you know, Lauren put so much work into getting that, you know, interview and then the client did the interview and you wanna make sure you, like you said, get your bank for your buck. And the, the ROI,
Speaker 3 (21:13):
You know, is amplify as much as possible. Yeah. Oh, that's awesome. Well, so, okay. You are doing all the things, right. so you you're doing social PR are branding. It's a lot and you also really stress that. It's all you guys. I mean, you do have team members that support you, but you are in the nitty gritty and you are really showing up for your clients. So, you know, what does the implementation look like in your business? And really, I wanna know how you handle it all because that's a lot and, um, it's could be a recipe for burnout, but clearly you're not feeling that way. You're just totally energized by the work you're doing. So what's your secret?
Speaker 5 (21:59):
Oh gosh. You're always, we are always trying to systemize every day. Yeah. I just remember it was a year ago where we just make, oh Lord and got, you know, oh it so and so was quoted and I just wrote it down. Oh, okay. I should do a, a clip on one, you know, a story on that. Now we have like content, you know, content calendar. And we like, we, um, you know, a whole process of mm-hmm , you know, how many posts per channel and this and that. So we do have, um, you know, we're always looking to evolve, you know, whereas before we thought, okay, you know, we need a social media person to do this, but we're, we're realizing it's like, Ugh, like the copy, there's the copy. There's the videographer, there's the, you know, the visuals, there's the key messaging that the client, you know, that PR from a PR standpoint too, that we need to get across.
Speaker 5 (22:48):
So we, what we really, really believe in is, um, really spending a lot of time in the very beginning of every year, doing a strategy, you know, mm-hmm, , it's a social media strategy. Mm-hmm and we line it up. So, um, we are, we really have a guide for us that we can follow mm-hmm it's not just like, oh, what are we gonna, you know, post we do their brand pillars. We come up with four pillars and we really, you know, go deep on each one and make sure we're rotating that on their social channels. Um, you know, in everyone and, and really it's. Um, and we are starting to, you know, we do have people who work for us as well, but, um, always figuring out who takes on what what's the skillset. Um, some clients were so deeply ingrained only, you know, we have to approve a lot of the pricing, but, um, we do have an, we have amazing creative partners too, that when we need some high level, you know, content, um, we lean on them and so they know the direction, but at the end of the day, we're the gatekeepers, you know, like I'm really looking at every single post before it goes out and it's um, but we, um, we've, we've laid down the strategy.
Speaker 5 (23:55):
So I feel like we have it kind of
Speaker 4 (23:58):
In motion. Yeah. I think another flow working with clients that trust us, our clients trust us implicitly. And so at the beginning, while there's so much time spent getting to know them and their stories and the history of the brand and their future goals. After the first couple months, the handcuffs are off and we are just off and running and that's what they're almost investing in when they invest in the two of us and the brand group use approach because they're busy professionals, they've got their own businesses to run, and they know that that will maintain the integrity of the business, that they can trust us to run from a PR perspective and a social perspective. And we'll reach out when we need them, which, you know, sometimes is three times a day and sometimes might be, you know, a little bit more spaced out. But at the end of the day, they know that we're, we're clicking away here. Mm-hmm , even though we're not sitting in their office, we're almost acting as though we are their in-house team. Yeah. That's
Speaker 3 (24:46):
What it sounds like.
Speaker 4 (24:47):
I think that that's huge having the trust of our, our clients. Yeah. Um, you know, I remember we did a new business call with one client with one potential client. She said, so you guys are available 24 7 to us. And we said, no, you know, of course, we're, you know, we'll, we'll drop anything for you guys, but we're not, you know, it's on to be, it's not on the weekends we spend with our children.
Speaker 5 (25:04):
Speaker 4 (25:05):
You we're are so organized. And we don't, we don't necessarily need to take that approach. I think. Think so, I'm setting those,
Speaker 3 (25:11):
Love it. You have to set those boundaries. I just did a recent
Speaker 4 (25:15):
Smell. Whether things are a good fit or not be. So in a question like that.
Speaker 3 (25:18):
Yes. Yeah. That's definitely one of those glaring red flags
Speaker 4 (25:24):
And that just comes from experience. And I think that, and you know, another secret is, yeah, there's something about having 20 or more year or two decades of experience that you can, you can work efficiently, you can get things done. We have so much going on, like stored in our heads. We have processes in place, but mm-hmm, , we just work really symbiotically, I think, because we've been through so many different experiences in our profess our lives. Yes. Um, that have set us up to be able to function, you know, at a high rate.
Speaker 5 (25:51):
And I think Lauren nailed it, um, with the fact that we can, we really can only work with clients who trust us, you know, we're, I remember in fashion, you had like five creative cooks in the kitchen, you know, it was just like, you had to get this approval and this, and it just was so, so things are moving so fast. Like we have the, the full trust of our clients to just go and PO and they trust us. And that gives us the freedom to just go, you know, all out. I mean, we,
Speaker 3 (26:17):
We never, what is that a train? a
Speaker 4 (26:21):
Speaker 3 (26:23):
No, it's okay. It's, it's, uh, it's, it's real life. I'm like, what are we hearing? Right.
Speaker 5 (26:30):
So I think that's important. Whereas in the past you might have had a lot of approval processes. Oh, I got, I got client. Oh, they're not available. And there was a lot of red tapes, whereas now, you know, especially so PR where it's like Lawrence, like I got this, here's a clip. Okay. I'm gonna post like, we're like in real time. Yeah. It's like, there's no. So we're, we feel like we work double don't, we're so efficient, so efficiency, because we can do that with our, our clients to trust us.
Speaker 3 (26:56):
Yeah. And those processes that you can't stress that enough of, you know, these things are gonna come in pretty and you know, that you have this opportunity to amplify and it shouldn't be a surprise every time what you're gonna do or how long it's gonna take or how you're gonna carve up and use that piece of content over and over again, so that you actually do get social media content out of the PR wins. And what is the purpose of amplifying those? And do you just do it one time or do you do it multiple times in different ways? Because maybe someone didn't see that and the way that you're doing it, it even gives them more credibility and visibility because the audience is seeing it multiple ways. And they're thinking like, wow, you know, this is really prominent. And this person has a very valued opinion and they're quoted and they're in the media and it's consistently happening. So it's really an, an awesome amplification strategy, but to have those checklists and processes in place, you know exactly what you're doing with those pieces of content and , and I mean, that's why you work so well together because you ha it seems like you have your very distinct roles and, um, areas of expertise, but your overall values are perfectly aligned. So in terms of the running the business, there's shared vision in and shared values, but then you go off with your own pieces of expertise to make each other better.
Speaker 5 (28:31):
Yeah. You nailed it. That's great.
Speaker 3 (28:33):
Yes. OK. Well, put it in a marketing brochure. All day long,
Speaker 5 (28:40):
All day long people say like you in a meeting, they're like, oh my gosh. Someone was like, oh my gosh, I'm just watching you YouTube back and forth. They're like, no, no. Like you're finishing each other's sentences, which is yes. We feel very grateful for yes. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (28:55):
Oh, that's so awesome. Well, how many other members are there on the team? You said that there are like outside creative partners. Um, and I would imagine you mentioned a couple different, like video services. I'd imagine you have an amazing graphic designer on call to create assets. So how many team members do you have that are supporting you? And I'd imagine it changes too, depending on the, yeah. Changes, client needs two other,
Speaker 5 (29:19):
Two other brand group, you know, brand groupies on our team, social media and PR and, um, more coordinator and manager level. And then we have, you know, our video partner, um, our creative partner, we have our podcast producer partner. Mm-hmm we have our media training partner. Yes. Digital ad partner. We have a web web developer, you know, developer. We kind of have such a, like a great kind of stock and, and it's taken a while to really find the partners, the right. Yeah. And, you know, really be like, they just get it. And they, you know, have the same high, high standards and always end up being people kind worked in the city
Speaker 3 (29:57):
That worked in the, that have that New York
Speaker 5 (29:58):
City mindset, that mindset like get right back customer service. Like we really have aesthetic what's next I'm
Speaker 3 (30:06):
So yeah. You hold on tight to those people. Those are your go-tos, you know, exactly. It's like, you speak the same language. You don't have to go in detail about what you want. You just say it and they get it. Ugh. The best when you find those gems like that, you
Speaker 5 (30:20):
Didn't happen overnight.
Speaker 3 (30:21):
So it's yeah. Yeah. For sure. Well, you, you just mentioned your podcast. Tell me about your brand groupies podcast. How long have you guys been, been, uh, running your podcast and like, what are your topics typically? Are you interviewing guests? You know, what can the audience expect to learn listening to the brand groupies podcast?
Speaker 5 (30:41):
Yeah, the podcast. So I it's funny. I started at Carrie was an OG. I said podcast January, 2018, um, launched the brand groupies podcast. And I think it was because at the time brand groupies was, you know, we were servicing smaller brands, restaurants, and local businesses. Mm-hmm . And I was trying to help entrepreneurs since I had had my place space and I, you know, was really trying to help them make right decisions. Oh, don't do you know, I made so many mistakes when I had my own business. Um, and I wanted to help them with the marketing and PR uh, mindset. And I was so passionate about sharing their stories because I would, I, I would see how awesome some of these, um, entrepreneurs were, whether it was a restaurant owner or a coach, but yet their branding. Wasn't like, I'm like, oh my God, you're so amazing in person.
Speaker 5 (31:30):
But then I'd look on the website and I'd look at their social handles. I'm like, this is like, oh, degree branding going on, you know, here. So I really loved hearing their stories. So, and I wasn't like someone who loved talking in public, you know, I, I can't believe that I actually did a podcast. when I first did it. And, um, I just, I was just so passionate about it. So I said, I'm gonna do a brain groupies podcast and in invite different local entrepreneurs. And I just, I truly enjoyed it. It wasn't a money maker. It was like, this is something I just loved. It was great content for my social. Right. You know, time. And then, um, it was, it was really just entrepreneurs locally. But then as the business changed and, you know, Lauren and I were really looking towards bigger companies cuz at the end of the day, um, we wanted to scale the business and you know, we really wanted to grow and we wanna remain small boutique agency.
Speaker 5 (32:22):
But um, you know, we couldn't, we couldn't say yes to every mom, you know, pop in, in the neighborhood. So we wanted to use the podcast as kind of a vehicle to still tell their stories and, and things like that. And it's actually morphed into now what excites us is more brand leaders because we're thinking, you know, what real, how are we helping our audience? And before it was all our local county, you know, entrepreneurs, people, um, in the area love local listening to local celebrities, right? Local, local celebrities, groupies. Yes. Right. The best coffee, you know, franchises in the that's big, the real estate leaders and people loved it. But we really had a, you know, as marketers, you're like all, who's our audience and this is not now aligning with our, our agency now. Right. So that's why we, um, transitioned to now, um, talk to brand leaders, other brand groupies, people behind the brands, whether creative, um, marketers, authors who can, um, share tips to entrepreneurs, what are you spending? What are you focused on? You know, for the next year, as far as marketing goes, what are, are you doing? You know, video and how are you doing that? Where are you putting your dollars? Mm-hmm and um, really helping, um, inform and give value to, um, to entrepreneurs and fellow branding, people and marketing, uh, industry folks. So it's been, it's been, we've been calling it the backstage series. The backstage series. Yes. Oh,
Speaker 3 (33:42):
That's cool. Yeah. Like how is the sausage made from the experts themselves? Yeah.
Speaker 5 (33:50):
Horror stories, but things that, you know, that's our Erin, we get so excited. Like we laugh and people like, what books are you reading? And we're, it's all like market, you know, marketing brand. We love, we can eat up all of, of that. Yeah. A romance novel exactly. In forever. Um, so we get so excited and, and for us too, it is constant learning. And I remember thinking, oh gosh, I don't wanna have a social media agency. I don't wanna be a social media expert because you have to, it's like, you have to be on yeah. Um, every day. But as I was, you know, as you're working in every day, you're like, wow. I, I, I, you know, I don't say you can say an expert cause what the point is like you're always learn. You have to always be learning, you know? So I think having all these guests on, it's also like in exchange, oh, what are you doing? What are, you know, we always have to be collab. We love collaborating and learning and, and applying to our client strategies because you can never sit still, like in this industry, it's like, you have to be constantly hungry for what's what's next.
Speaker 3 (34:52):
Yeah. Um, and of course, social media is evolving all the time. So you have to stay on top of that. One thing that you mentioned that I'd love to ask you about in a little more detail, if you're willing to share, is that transition that you made from supporting those smaller local businesses and then deciding when it was time to scale, it meant, you know, fewer bigger clients. And I'd imagine that leave was, um, it probably included higher retainers and you had to jump from, you know, a local mom and pop shop retainer is, is not anything compared to what you're doing now. How did that feel? Or what were some of the, was it easy for you to do that? Were there any mindset challenges with going from, you know, let's say a $1,500 a month retainer to a $15,000 a month retain, like, what do you have to do to step into that role and say, this is who we are and we're worth it. It
Speaker 5 (35:57):
Sure. That was such a great question. We could talk, I mean, we can do a whole podcast episode. It was always love it, trying to figure out and what made that, you know, switch. And that was hard. And I think I was always frustrated because I'm so used to GI, you know, we're both so used to giving 200% and with small retainers, I was like, and you could do this and that. But I, I, you know, it was like, I can't give 50%, like we gotta do this or it's all or nothing. And, and that would be frustrating for me. And, you know, with small budgets, I'd go way above and beyond.
Speaker 3 (36:27):
They couldn't implement all of the things you were recommending.
Speaker 5 (36:31):
It was just frustrating. Cuz I, you know, I could see so much potential. There was, you always see the potential. And then what we did, we started, I think it was the big break was when, um, you know, a friend, a fellow dad at, um, my, my children's school, uh, became the president of Mancini, Duffy and architecture firm, Christian Jordano. And he said, I wanna rebrand. I wanna rebrand. And I said, well, I can do your web, you know, we can redo your website. And so I came in his website and then remember looking at the social and I said to my husband, I'm like, oh, I could really do a, you know, better job. And he's like, do you think you could do it? And I was like, yeah, but I was like, but I don't do social. You know? And that's when I proposed him.
Speaker 5 (37:12):
I said, you know, I'd like to do your social too. And he gave me the opportunity. Yeah. And I think know then doing that, I realized, oh, you know what? Retainers are really good retainers help. No and you know, I had business before I should know, cashflow is like, if you don't, you know, cash is number one. So I think just, you know, getting a taste of a retainer fee, you know, was awesome because I was doing websites and you know, then he referred us to, uh, the H V a C company and I'm like, oh, we're gonna rebrand. We rebranded the whole company. It was like project fees. But then I was like, well, we when's the next rebrand gonna come around. The thing is my, my goal for starting brand groupies was having a company culture. I wanted like a small team.
Speaker 5 (37:56):
I wanna have fun. We wanted like, just like all about the, um, collaboration and that. And I said, and then, you know, I was still by myself making these small retainers. So I think the drive was to say, Ooh, how can we make, um, you know, more money and have a retainer fee? And I have to say, and then Lauren came and started freelancing. And honestly it is about the people I, I said, I, and then Lauren things happened. And I said, how am I going to continue working with Lauren? Because this is magical. Oh. And so that's when I was just like, I am gonna do anything. Like we, I have to pay her a full-time seller. She's leaving her VP position in Manhattan. How am I gonna pay her a full-time salary? So literally took a risk and said to my two clients at the time, I'm gonna open a PR division.
Speaker 5 (38:47):
I got a PR director and I, that was a huge risk, but I wanted to work with Lauren so bad. And I knew we had so much potential together and they signed, they, both of them signed the contracts within two months. And I think it was just the trust that, you know, had been built yeah. With them. And I took a Lauren and I really never worked together, you know, before, and was also coming from fashion to architecture. Yeah. And I just knew we could nail, I knew it. And I, us, we felt so confident and that gave us the confidence. I think after we had that, we said, wow, we could do this. And then what happened was our clients kept giving us more work. Our other ones said, we do my newsletter, love it. And then love it. Who hired us to do his personal brand?
Speaker 5 (39:29):
So we managed his LinkedIn and we launched a podcast for him and they keep giving us like more and more responsibility, the best compliment, which is the best compliment. And I think, um, I think it was that I, I needed to find, I think Lauren was a big impetus in, in really, um, taking that jump it's at risk and also valuing your worth. Because I think in the, yes, I would, yes. I, I said, oh, I didn't do social. I'll just charge this. Meanwhile, I had so many years of experience. I know. Yes. And then you would hire people under me to do some social accounts. This was like before the architecture firm and, um, you know, I was just like, oh, I could, why can't I do this? Could do it. You figure it out. So figured it out. So I think it's, it's also the people. And when you find people who you wanna work with, we have some people now we're like, okay,
Speaker 4 (40:18):
How are we gonna, we wanna do more? Cause we wanna get them. We
Speaker 5 (40:21):
Want them to join our team. And just to, and we moved into a new office and we wanted a fun office. Like
Speaker 4 (40:26):
I think it's like, so that's why we have a white background. Actually. normally we just moved the other day then yes.
Speaker 5 (40:32):
Next time we'll have a fun background. That was the ultimate. And then COVID hit. And it was, you know,
Speaker 4 (40:37):
Actually signed our first COVID, um, our first client two weeks before COVID on March 1st, 20, 20, our first PR client. And then on March 13th, everything shut down. And we looked each other from across our screens cuz we couldn't sit in the office together and we said, all right, we're just gonna make this work. You know, it was brand new and we figured it out. We figured it out. It's been honestly so much. So ever since. Yes, very fortunate.
Speaker 5 (40:59):
And it takes time. I think it's patience. We actually said no to a lot of clients this year because we were holding out for the right partners. We want, you know, four or five big companies and you know, that's we did,
Speaker 4 (41:12):
Honestly, since the impetus of COVID, we really stuck to our guns and yeah. Stayed in so many times and followed our gut to say that didn't feel right. I don't think they're the right part for us. And the money was tempting, but not tempting enough to get us to say no, we just followed. Yeah. And at the end of the year, we're seeing that start to pay off that's and that's exciting as we head into 2020 too. Yeah. True growth, you know? Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (41:36):
I love that. That's how we do it too. And it's really scary at first. And I try to tell our community, you have to just trust when you have a clear vision and you have a direction you wanna go in, it makes those decisions so much easier and makes the know is very clear and it is still scary, but you know that you're carefully crafting this path for your business and it does pay off over time. So, um, I loved hearing that and I also just kind of last question, um, it, uh, you know, so for Lauren I guess was it really scary leave a, obviously like a VP role and a VP salary and leap into the unknown. I would imagine you had so much faith in carry and I did. Yeah. Like what was that like? And you know, like how did you tell your husband?
Speaker 4 (42:30):
I grew up, like, I always say, like I grew up with my co I feel like I grew up like in Pennsylvania for like before I was 18. And then I grew up through college and with that whole crew of people, mm-hmm for the second period of my life. And so I had this inherent trust in Carrie and she's such a contagious. She is just the best person you could. Me, she's such contagious energy, the kindest heart. And um, I just felt so lucky that she would consider me. And it was a massive risk. My agency shut down very suddenly in January of 20, 21 night. I'd been there for 14 years and they closed the doors and everybody left nothing pre COVID. Yeah. Pre COVID
Speaker 3 (43:07):
What happened there?
Speaker 4 (43:10):
Oh, it was such a, that could be another podcast. Oh my God.
Speaker 3 (43:13):
This is like, right. I tell all. Yeah,
Speaker 4 (43:18):
But I had several opportunities, several clients in the fashion world that I had been either pitching or that had been, my clients reached out to see if I would work with them directly and start something on my own. And then there was another agency that was opened and honestly it happened on a Friday night at o'clock and I thought about it all weekend on Sunday. I called Carrie and I said, I wanna try to figure out a way to try to make this work. And I love it. I think six weeks we had signed our first PR client and we just put our, our heads down. Yeah. And we took a risk and we made it work. And, and I just, you know, sometimes you just have to do that scary. But I think, again, it just goes back to following your gut and working with the people and surrounding yourself with positive energy and you know, all those kind of cheesy things. But I think are really true. no,
Speaker 3 (44:06):
It's absolutely true. It's absolutely true. I mean, you spend more, it's possible. You guys spend more time together than you do with your family.
Speaker 4 (44:16):
Yeah, absolutely. It, life is short. You wanna really enjoy it. I packed my bags. I took my kids on vacation. We headed to Puerto Rico. And then when I came back, we did a bit of a reset and we just got to work. So to work, honestly, that's what I was working for. I think all those years to get outta there, everything happened for a reason.
Speaker 3 (44:34):
Yeah. Um, you could look at that as a huge negative or look at it like a kick in the pants to no, yes.
Speaker 4 (44:41):
Your own thing. Just from a meeting where we had a big conversation, a new client meeting, big conversation about that. Yeah. You know, you see them as opportunities or could follow on them and just,
Speaker 3 (44:50):
We expand that. It's all perspective. Yes. Ugh. Well, you guys, I love chatting with you at your energy. People always tell me I have insane energy. You know, I'm like
Speaker 4 (45:03):
Such yes. I wish you. On the other coast, I used to come on the west coast.
Speaker 3 (45:09):
I know, come, come hang out out the weather's great. We'd love to have you be so fun to hang out with you guys. Um, we can also just kind of chat like this and yeah. You know, maybe I'll come on your show. I think I might be.
Speaker 5 (45:22):
That is gonna be
Speaker 4 (45:24):
Speaker 3 (45:24):
Awesome. Well guys, thank you so much for sharing more about your journey to develop brand groupies, come together and just find your passion and find where you guys fit together. It's almost like this perfect puzzle. So it's really, really cool to hear your story and how can people find you guys online? What, um, what's the best way to connect with you and stay in touch?
Speaker 5 (45:47):
So brand groupies.com, VR N D groupies, and then, um, Instagram, Facebook, uh, LinkedIn, um,
Speaker 3 (45:57):
All the, all the places,
Speaker 5 (45:59):
All the places and you know,
Speaker 3 (46:03):
Awesome. Well, Lauren, Carrie, thank you so much for being on.
Speaker 5 (46:09):
We really appreciated the opportunity. This was awesome.
Speaker 3 (46:12):
Awesome. Yeah. Good chatting. Thank you.
Speaker 5 (46:15):
Take care. Bye bye.