Five Minutes With: Nicole Rodrigues, CEO & Founder, NRPR Group

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Five Minutes With: Nicole Rodrigues, CEO & Founder, NRPR Group
Five Minutes With: Nicole Rodrigues, CEO & Founder, NRPR Group

What are your biggest challenges and opportunities for the next 12 to 24 months?

The biggest challenge is to really focus on how we market and brand our company. I think that's really important because, going into our second year of existence, we've done a really great job out of the gate and we've seen just how well that proper positioning of our company has helped to build trust and grow our client roster. The company is ready for growth in 2016 and wants to see more in 2017 as well. The main thing is where we market ourselves to really highlight the success that we've had so early on in our company. If we can't market and position ourselves, how can we convince clients we can do the same for them. I believe in leading by example so I hope to do this every single year.

What are some unmet needs in the PR technology landscape?

I don't think there are enough PR professionals look at their professions and feel a need to create strategic positioning and messaging for clients. Many of them will just take whatever a company will give them and try and pitch that out without really trying to peel back the onion on the layers of a company's story. There are many layers of the story such as founders, vision, and history. There's so many different types of stories to uncover for any particular company and most PR professionals I've met just look at  what they have atface value, and I think that is definitely a hole in the space. The other thing is really utilizing new digital tools to story tell. It's one thing to get your messaging straight and another thing to create content that really tells that story around the messaging. So, I think as more PR pros evolve with the times, there'll be less of a gap.

What keeps your clients up at night?

It's silly but even for the clients we close tons of media for every month, there's never “enough.” They worry is “are we going to get more coverage” and “how do we get in Forbes or the New York Times or TechCrunch?” What really keeps them up at night, with regards to their business is probably the worry of traffic and downloads since most executives are data and numbers driven.  All they think about is data, data, data, and it keeps them up so much that they forget the relationship-building part of it all. 

For example, if we represent an app company they're constantly focused on how many downloads, how many people are liking their Facebook page, how many this, how many that, and they forget that at the other end of a number is also a human and humans will be more loyal if they feel they have a deeper relationship with the brand. I think overthinking data keeps them up at night, but companies like ours help them understand how to strategically position and create relationships with people as well as media so they get the numbers they're aiming for. 

What is the hardest thing to educate clients about?

I think the hardest thing to educate clients about is that relationships, just like in real life, take work, time and energy. Just because you have a company or product that, in your mind, you think is brilliant, doesn't mean that the media are going to be open to it at first pitch. I have had to pitch mobile television, which didn't exist, and literally build relationships where there were no beat writers covering mobile video because it wasn't real prior to MobiTV. Imagine if MobiTV gave up on PR because the first review we got in the Wall Street Journal was bad. Over time, and as the company and technology grew, the constant relationship building made them a media darling back in the early 2000's. 

Companies don't realize that once you stop, it's easy for media to forget about you because they are going to cover what's hot and new and in their face. If you're not in their face, you are not on their mind and won't be getting any coverage, so you need to be out there being a cheerleader for your brand with everyone who wants to learn about you and talk about you. It's not about getting “one great hit in Forbes." It's about getting constant coverage every month and sharing it everywhere you can so everyone can see it.

What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year?

I think Instagram will continue to grow because it's a very easy platform to story tell with. Platforms like Snapchat are going to get smarter, because brands are going to get better at utilizing them and making them more engaging . Also, as Periscope gets smarter with how they let brands tell their stories,  they'll be able to make it better and gain more investors and users.  

--Nicole Rodrigues is CEO and Founder of NRPR Group.

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