Today, a special Q & A on Lifestyle, Entertainment and Consumer PR in Today’s World with Dana Cobb, CEO of The Vokol Group.
Tell us how this specialty came into focus for you and your agency…
My background is in arts and entertainment PR and Marketing. I worked on Broadway with Dodger Theatricals for close to a decade, marketing Broadway, off-Broadway and touring shows throughout the early 2000s before moving back to Texas to start a family. In addition to working with arts, events and non-profit clients At The Vokol Group, we are (thankfully) well-diversified in our client base by having a firm foundation business-to-consumer projects, which has proved vital in 2020.
What drives you and has shaped your professional outlook?
Solving puzzles is something that feeds me. The bigger the challenge, the more compelled I am to work with new ideas, more people and unusual concepts to have a successful outcome.
Promoting arts and entertainment and lifestyle brands, coupled with more than a decade of non-profit marketing, foundationally inform my approach to both the emotional and economic impact in each business’s communication and actions and the importance of planning for the unknown and unexpected. The volatile and evolutionary nature of positive perception in all industries feeds the reputation that implied third-party endorsement earned media affords. We apply this mindset to all clients at The Vokol Group. I call it my “JD Power and Associates” Test: If I tell you how great I am, it’s bragging…If someone else tells you how great I am, it’s proof.
What advice would you give to those just coming into the world of public relations?
Watch people — communication begins with how people act with one another, in front of audiences, on ZOOM meetings, etc. Sometimes, more can be learned by a glance or pause than a 15-minute explanation. Have a high standard of communication and presentation in-person and online. Watch how and what you put in the public domain because tone can be misinterpreted and even the best of intentions can backfire if delivered improperly.
Something Fun….How has the world of ‘celebrity’ and creative events and personalities impacted your professional experience?
I have been involved in celebrity PR for more than two decades and have wonderful stories about the kindness and influence that comes with being a role model in pop culture. Compounded over time, my experiences in the performing arts with creative campaigns have led to driving audience and ticket sales for some big names in live entertainment. I also have great stories for cocktail parties. It is a strange time to be working in event PR, but the challenge has made a positive change in how we can be resourceful, creative and bold with ideas and messages for the masses.
A parting thought?
I have been a lifelong ‘collector of people’. The connections and relationships you forge in your 20s can lead to the most impactful career move in your 40s and 50s. This has proven to me over and over again that if you genuinely keep up with people (friends, colleagues, mentors, employers), you will find more ease and access to success long after you first meet.
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