Today, a feature interview with Jennifer Borba von Stauffenberg of Olive Creative Strategies.
Where did you journey with Public Relations begin?
My journey began in 1985 when my Dad took me to my first concert to see Cyndi Lauper. I witnessed the power of someone’s voice and what it meant to use influence for good for the very first time and it changed me forever. I spent the next decade trying to figure out exactly what would allow me to positively amplify powerful voices to help people live better and more accepting lives. One day, I met a gentleman at a family wedding in Seattle and he made me aware that what I was looking for was called public relations. I was lucky enough to be enrolled at San Diego State University, known for having one of the best programs, and I changed my major. I was privileged to attend during the Dr. Glen Broom days. He is regarded as the Godfather of public relations and acknowledged for writing the best textbooks for our industry.
What made you want to start your own company?
I chose to launch Olive Creative Strategies because I wanted to have a bigger say in who I could work with. I longed to make a bigger impact and truthfully, I had grown as much as I could grow where I was. I always like to say that I could have sustained there forever, but I had outgrown the pot and in order to flower again, I needed to be repotted in a bigger space.
What does Olive specialize in?
Olive specializes in creativity, connections and storytelling. Sure, we secure amazing media coverage and deliver strategic social media campaigns, but at our core, we are creatives with connections who love to tell stories. We always strive to have a diverse client portfolio, which has helped us to thrive even during this global pandemic.
How does COVID-19 compare to other crises you’ve seen over the years?
It doesn’t compare to anything I have ever experienced. The key difference is that it isn’t just the client who is handling a crisis, we are too. There have been days when the news hit so hard that we all have had to get our own emotions and confusions in check in order to make clear strategic decisions for our clients. We are truly all in it together and that in itself is incredibly unique.
How has your company had to adapt during COVID?
We actually adapted gracefully. We watched the news approach and took action to work remotely before it became mandatory. We have stayed very connected via video services and have managed to feel even closer than before. I love to incorporate little extras to bring us together, celebrate wins or just spend virtual time together and it has worked really well.
What makes Olive unique?
We focus on the result of the result. We are committed to creating quality connections where everyone wins and do it by communicating from the heart. Heart is a key element to any successful campaign and communicating in meaningful ways is what sets us apart. We truly believe in our clients and want them to win.
What sparked your decision to expand into the Pacific Northwest?
My decision was purely personal with a touch of opportunity for business. My husband and I made a list of our hopes and dreams for our family. I have two young sons, Otto who is seven and Neven who is almost two. We realized pretty quickly that we could not achieve the vision we had in San Diego, so we opened a bottle of wine, sat on our front porch and began Googling until we found one location that checked all the boxes. We landed on Bainbridge Island and it has been the best decision we have ever made. With its close proximity to Seattle, I feel confident we will establish wonderful relationships and opportunities here quickly. They are starting to trickle in even now during the pandemic.
What trends are your starting to see in PR?
I think we are going to see a big refocus back to corporate social responsibility as the demands of society increase and I think thought leadership will become more critical as a differentiator. The affiliate links happening all over for product placement will begin to diminish the value of placement causing a big return to the storytelling format. And, after this year of madness, we are going to be seeking good…companies with goodness and products that don’t just deliver a great solution, but support the good humans behind it. Additionally, more businesses will invest more in public relations after seeing how vitally important it was this year.
How has the industry changed this past year?
In the very beginning, it was like the world paused and then people realized how critical their messaging is and all of the sudden things were moving at lightning speed. I hope we find a happy medium. I think people respect our industry more than ever and that is a beautiful change.
How have you been guiding your clients through everything that has happened in 2020?
We are having to rely on our experience and intuition more than ever given the fact that no one has ever experienced anything like this. I always pause and ask myself “what is the most compassionate human thing to do?” and then start there. My dear friend once said to me there are only two ways to communicate, through love or fear. Anything that is unkind is fear. So, I always ask myself, “what is the most loving way to move forward?” and it works 100% of the time.
What excites you the most about the future of the industry?
For the first time, I think people really understand their power to make a difference. Through strategic campaigns, we can change the world. We can mobilize, educate and improve the world for future generations…public relations has that much power.
How can readers get in touch with you if they want to?
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