Q&A with REED Public Relations’ Founder & President, Lauren Reed
Tell us a little bit about REED PR. What makes your agency unique?
REED PR is a full-service PR and communications agency based in Nashville, Tenn. Our team is made up of creative and dedicated marketing professionals who really care about our clients and their successes. We specialize in building strong relationship with our clients, media personnel and the community, as evidenced by the fact that many of our clients have partnered with us for more than five years. We live and work by a set of core values that define how we stand out from the pack and approach business strategy.
- Measurable results
- Passion for excellence
- Fresh approach
- Give back
We take our core values so seriously, we painted them in a huge mural on our office wall!
We have worked extensively with multi-unit franchise locations, hotels, bars and restaurants, senior living facilities and more. We love the challenge of learning new industries and helping each client reach their marketing and PR goals. Ultimately, we strive each day to help clients tell their stories in unique ways. Many of our efforts are focused on taking global and national brands and making them accessible to local communities.
What was your experience of owning a small business during the COVID-19 crisis? Did you make any major concessions or pivots?
COVID-19 was a scary and stressful time for all small business owners. At REED, 40% of our clients walked away or paused services with us within two weeks of lockdown. We had to get creative fast.
We took our extra time and energy and put it towards launching the COVID-19 Hotline. Small business owners nationwide were invited to schedule a complimentary 30-minute session with a member of the REED team. We offered our services in crisis management and communications, media pitching, marketing, community relations and more to help over 30 business owners weather the COVID storm.
Every single member of our team participated in at least one COVID-19 Hotline call, and we built some amazing friendships through the process. We were also featured in the New York Times and several other publications. At the end of the day, our efforts helped us secure several new client projects, which ultimately led us to our best year of revenue yet.
In terms of business direction, we also made a conscious decision to temporarily move away from the consumer work that was paused and into professional services and the senior living space. We partnered with hundreds of skilled nursing homes across the country to help them craft internal and external communications strategies during a time at which they could use all the positive PR they could get. The pivot stuck, and we still work with a significant number of senior living and professional services organizations.
It sounds like you have a passion for giving back. Do you participate in any other charitable giving initiatives?
It’s always been a priority for me to center our business model around doing good. That is why “Give Back” is one of our core values. I have found that I do my best work when I know my efforts are making a positive difference in the world. That’s part of the reason I started REED PR’s Be The Good program.
Be The Good helps fund mission trips for deserving individuals to do volunteer work around the world. We have sent people to serve in Slovenia, the Dominican Republic, Kenya and many other countries. We fund about 10 trips a year, including several for REED employees! It’s important to me that my team is given time to volunteer and make a positive impact on behalf of whatever cause they feel most passionate about.
The program is funded by a portion of profits from our client revenue, and we share this information with each prospective client we meet. It’s important to me that we work with clients who understand and share our desire to give back as often as possible.
Tell us about your favorite emerging trend in PR.
I am loving the micro-influencer trend. My own experience with micro-influencers, or those with less than 50,000 followers, confirms that this group has access to a highly engaged fan base. Micro-influencers’ followers are dedicated and very invested in the content being shared, which means micro-influencer partnership show consistently higher-than-average returns.
Since 2019, we have seen a huge uptick in client dollars being allocated toward influencer partnerships. My advice to marketers is to carefully vet the influencers you want to partner with, then tailor everything to the individual. Followers can sniff out a cookie-cutter campaign and won’t engage at the optimal rates. Personalized content, products, and packaging can all help your campaign get in front of more eyes.