What is PR and why does it matter? Join host Erin E Hooley and special guest Brittney Cardillo, the PR Director at Bailey's Blossoms and Peyton Bre as they break down the basics of getting started in PR.
Welcome to the conquering chaos podcast. I'm your host, Aaron E , Julio president and founder of multimillion dollar e-commerce children's clothing line, Bailey's blossoms. So it turns out I'm pretty good at business, but what really lights my soul on fire is providing other entrepreneurs and mompreneurs with the tools they need to truly succeed. So if you have a business or have one on your heart, you're in good company, pull up a chair or dropping some earbuds and let's conquer some chaos today. Hey guys, and welcome back to another episode of the concrete chaos podcast. I have Brittany Cardillo in the office here with me today. This is segment number two behind the scenes here at Bailey's Bostons and Peyton Bree with some of the key members of my team and I'm excited to have her in here. Welcome Brittany. Thank you, Erin . I'm excited to be here. So my first podcast , I actually, Brittany has a lot of uh, experience and the world of PR, which is why I have her here. She's our director of public relations. And I just want to, why don't you start out by letting everybody know just a little bit about you, kind of your history and experience. Sure. I always think it's fun to kind of look, look back on how everything led. One thing led to another, so over the last 12 years, the quick version of it is, is that after college I was working in DC, actually worked in politics. I worked in the government side, the political side, a foundation. And I'd argue that anything in politics is kind of PR related and somewhat public facing. Um, but I needed, you know, with my day job, I kinda needed a creative outlet. I'm a creative person and so a close friend of mine had an online magazine at the time and this is like way before blogs and all of this was a thing. And it was called sweet limit magazine. And so I ended up joining her and taking over as a partner and a brand director. And I did this all at night. So I'd go to my political job during the day and had that creative fix. And it was wonderful. I got to work with blogger up and coming bloggers at the time. I got to work with different brands and I got to write, kind of use all of the creative side and awesome. Yeah, it was great experience. And then people would always ask me when I was at the magazine, you know, why don't you have your own blog? Why don't you do this? And I'm like, I don't have time for all this. I still have a full time job. So eventually I did leave the magazine , um, and start my own blog again outside of work. It was just mostly an entertaining blog, hosting and toasting. It's now evolved into travel and fashion when I have time for it now. And do they have any issues with you doing a blog in DC being, you know, on the political front? You know, it's funny you asked that. Um, I remember talking to my boss who is still a great friend and mentor of mine now and she, I was like, can I start my own blog? And , and it was almost like, as long as it wasn't about politics, I was good. So fashion and all fun and opposite of the political, I'm sure it's still the same today. This is like many years ago. That's awesome. And, but actually, ironically it was through the blog that I started working with all these different brands. Um, I started, you know, forming relationships with them, which eventually led me to leave my day job and work with a national retailer is what I was doing until about two months ago. And I joined the valleys team , um, and I worked for four and a half years for national retail or women's accessories and I did community relations, marketing events, philanthropic partnerships, PR blogger, kind of a hybrid role. I traveled a lot how to Vic team at one point and , and kind of led me to where I am today. So it's always fun to kind of look back and see how everything kind kind of worked together. Yeah, that's awesome. And obviously you know this, but our listeners don't, but yeah , PR is a completely new department for us here. It's something that we just decided, you know what, we can't ignore this any longer. It's something that we really feel like has a ton of potential, especially on the influencer side. And there's just a lot of opportunity that keeps falling into our laps, but we're not actively seeking it out. Correct. Which is why we posted this position, brought Brittany onto the team. So that's what our conversation today is really going to circle around is just really public relations, how it's changed and evolved and then brand awareness and influencers and all the fun things that come into that. So I have to ask of all the different elements of PR, what is your favorite? I would say in , and I was going to say, yeah, it's completely new to this company, is that I would say working with influencers, I think , um, I have an unique perspective being on a brand side and a blogger side and being able to use like both sides of it, you know, and see that relationship. I also just think general brand awareness , um, you know, not necessarily advertising or print or anything like that, but just general activations or giftings and stuff like that, which sometimes might be an influencer and sometimes just may be a branding side of it, like right at the tote or just something , you know, something kind of fun like that. So I would influence or marketing, like you said, is a huge part of my role. That's awesome. And especially, it's funny too because you just came on two months ago as we were saying, and you came on and we threw this big launch event right into your lap . Welcome on board of experience with that. He just moved into a new warehouse and we're doing this massive event here. We throw up all the details on you and then you just ran, which was awesome. Yeah, so great. And I think that too, and that's kind of like where I think with my role at, at at Bailey Boston Paignton , Bri , you know, it's kind of a hybrid. There's , there's philanthropic relationships we might get into later. There's events, sometimes there's networking, there's media relations, there's influencer marketing, and it has yes in podcasts , which are super important. And I think that the event was so fun for me, especially with a new brand, to kind of see who the customer is. I mean e-commerce is something that's newer to me on the brand side. And so getting to kind of see who she is and meet her was really exciting and you know, just yeah, everything was grace under pressure. I love it. And there's so much crossover between public relations and marketing. So what do you, what's your take on that? Yeah, I think so. I think it's kind of evolved. I think that, I know we were at Aaron talking last week about our influencer marketing program and you, you call it influencer marketing, but then there's this whole other side of digital marketing now. Yes . And I think that my take on it is , you know, there used to be this traditional way that PR and marketing were kind of done. I mean if you think of marketing, probably back in the old days when it was just like here's a billboard and here's advertising and press releases, which are still very helpful and product placement and a lot of things, you know, I think I've been involved in in the digital world and so with PR and marketing, you know they kind of go together. But then I also think that they're a little separate as well. You know we have our marketing team here that does a lot of digital things like e-blasts and whatnot, but they still affect our public image. Right? They still affect the relationships we have. And I guess why does that even matter? For those who are like, I don't know if that's even something I need to consider. Why does PR matter? Cause I feel like there's so many things that get put in front of it, but there's, but then PR comes in and they clean up all that. You always see the things that have gotten going wrong for years. Whereas if PR had been at the forefront, maybe it would've been a little smoother. You always hear about PR when it's like, Oh, it's a PR nightmare, right? PR person gives a quote or a spokesperson from and whatnot. I always, I'm always like, Oh, I feel so bad for that team. Um , but I think if you can be, like you said on the front of it , um, I think that it matters because today and you know, people want stories, they want social engagement, they want community engagement. Something that Bailey's and Peyton breed do really well is that SMO , you know, social and community engagement that you've really built. And I think it matters because of brand loyalty. You know, I always like joke and say people don't really fall in love with products they do, but they fall in love with a brand, with a story with you, with a person, and they want to hear. I think now more than ever, how, you know, in the digital age, I think back in the day used to have a clothing line and no one cared the person behind it. Right? And I don't think that's the case anymore unless it was so mega, mega brand on the runway. People really didn't even know who the designers were or what they look like or what not . And it may not be the case with every single brand or every single type of company or product. But I think that's why, you know, that whole brand loyalty is so important and just kind of unlifted the veil a little bit behind the suspense . So what are some of the things that PR drives to help engage people more to be, or what are the, what are the key facets that you see to help take the , uh , any business to the next level? Yeah, well I think there's, it's always like what you could call like DLI PR, you know, if you don't have a whole PR department or you know, even if it's just something new outside of influencer marketing. I think the importance of , um , being like speaking engagements I think are really important. I think podcasts are something that is so new and it's so great, Aaron , that you have one and that you're a guest on one because that is something that is just, it's a totally new realm. And I truly believe that audience voices where things are going, you know, and for , I mean Instagram and all that, it's still important. And I think of course with community engagement sales of course we are , it can help drive sales in terms of the brand awareness partnerships you have, you know, if you're bringing on another brand, we've talked about working with other brands before, making sure everything is on brand. I mean that's my biggest piece of advice probably like, does that make sense? You know , um, making sure they message unity involvement too. There's things that, right. When we opened up this department I thought, Oh my gosh, all the things I've wanted to do for so long that we just haven't had the manpower to do because it just makes sense to do a community event where rich customer service team or even the marketing team, because they may have within their wheelhouse ways to get people to the event. But to run it right, to have that, you know, the whole run of show document, I ran the shows , I loved it. But there's so many key elements where you come in with questions where people going, Oh, I didn't think about that. Oh, I didn't think about that. You come into it with like, I mean from my experience I can think of all sorts of, you know, you would never originally think of. And some of that comes through learning, right? There's so much with different brands. I think community involvement, like you said, whether it's in person activation that people really want to see even if we don't have a brick and mortar store. And then in addition, all of the philanthropic stuff we're starting to do. Um, I think that's a big part of the relationship with the public that is PR CIJ that we want to put out about who we are as well. I think sometimes when you're just marketing, your message can be somewhat diluted. But PR in my mind, PR comes in and says, what is the message? What do we want people to think about us feel about what we're trying to do? And so it really puts the emotion or keeps the emotion in your marketing efforts and keeps it consistent across all levels so that people are in one with where you want them to be. But sometimes with you're only, if you're only pushing out conversion driven marketing, correct. Your average . Yeah, it's numbers. It's not messages and that message tends to get lost or it can easily get lost if you're not front of mind. Thinking about the public relations side of things. I agree. And yet , and a lot of times in PR it's questioning, it's coming in and being that person, it's almost like the devil's advocate. Well what exactly are we saying? How does that come off to this, you know, and everything. And I think that that's one way it's really changed is , you know, I feel like PR, we were talking about press releases is people I used to have so much face to face interaction with their customers and not every brand might, but we do here and you know, really taking into consider with social media in the last 10 years, how that has changed. Yes. For better or for worse, you know , I think it's all for better. But you know, that comes with complications that companies used to not have to. Absolutely. For me, I think one of the things that's impressed me so much in this whole entrepreneurship journey is just the power of words. And one of the reasons, it's funny, we use a lot of emojis when we write just texts . So we do that because we want to make sure that somebody is reading us appropriately because I think a lot of times people will read with the feeling that they are currently feeling. I agree. Yeah. And I think to it, like you said, it's harder these, cause, I mean I'm still a little old fashioned sometimes and I prefer a phone call just Hey, let's get what the phone emails can get, you know, what you meant or whatnot . And so to have a brand messaging that's in your voice, you know, every brand kind of has their own voice. Our brands have to do , you know, different voices, different customers is really important in emojis as one. That right when I started I was like, there's a lot of [inaudible] . I love it. Funny enough, it really came down to after the first time that a customer service message that had gone out and it was very heartfelt and very sincere, but it was read the complete opposite of that. And that's when I stepped back and I thought, Oh goodness, wow, okay. Or another time where I had posted something on my personal page and it was sarcastic and meant to be funny. But sarcasm doesn't read and people thought it was serious and I got so many people sending me messages going cause I had made a comment about my child and how, Oh my gosh, I'm set, I'm selling him. That's it. I'm dealt with parenting and Marshall is actually Atlanta . But it was just people received that like I was serious. Like I was really on the verge of an emotional breakdown. I'm going , I was kidding. I was totally kidding. I love my son . Go back and cry and I had to go in and like apologize. So sorry. Don't misinterpret like this was a joke. I mean it so I mean there's things that you pick up on through the school of hard knocks that a PR professional sees before it even rolls out. Well you have to be very self aware I think in this business and not just of yourself. I think that's something that a lot of people learn in their professional career. But I think that self aware of the brand, you know like, Hey Aaron , I don't, this may sound, you know like, you know, this may be interpreted this way. Is this what we're trying to put out? [inaudible] exactly. And just making sure that it's true to who you are is still in the same way you'd ever want . Not every brand should sound the same, cause that would be no fun. Correct. People come, you know, come to know and love certain brands for different things. And so the emoji is a Sam . Lots of emojis here. Okay. So let's talk a little bit about how PR has changed. Yep . I know there's been a lot of evolution, we've touched on a little bit of it already, but what are the heavy hitters that you've seen kind of change and where is it heading towards in your eyes right now? Yeah, well I had a lot of friends when we first graduated and in my program in school too that you know, went to New York or other cities and you know, a lot of it back then was press releases and magazine placements and product placements and just kind of this traditional print environment, which I still think is very valuable. Um, but now I think we've evolved to touched on it a little bit more. I think that PR teams that are doing a great job across the country are , are bringing in that influencer marketing side of the business into the PR department, focusing on stories of founders. Um, and I, and I think that too , it's print can be, you know, important still. It's just who the audience is. I know that you and I have conversations about that. Um, those aren't always the things that might drive sales or awareness. Like, where is our customer? Are they writing this magazine? You know, or who we're trying to target. Um , and I think that it's gone from this, you know, kind of traditional, let me sit and, you know, send a million press releases and hope and we still do that, but hope that someone picks it up. But with a digital, you know, now with magazines being online and like we had sweet lemon magazine, it was sweet lemon media, it was an online , um, if no longer exists , but it was an online magazine and we also had a print one. And those, those are example of kind of how we were trying to evolve. You know , right. Companies would send samples and want them to be on there, but it's so much easier when you know, an editor or someone can write up an article that day trench , you're talking months out and whatnot, which is still very helpful. It's just making sure you do it right. So I think a lot of it, it really transformed in the digital age. I'm sure that things that I learned in my program like 12 years ago or 15 years ago would not even be, you know, they would have a totally different teacher teaching something. And I think too that brand awareness like we talked about a little bit earlier with all the podcasts and social and game casement , that's important. I think brands are like lifting the veil, pulling back the curtain behind, going on behind it . I love it . Sam , love it because you know for so long, I think, and we may talk about this later or not, but Instagram is a great example. I remember we were talking about it a few weeks ago where it started fun, yay posts , pictures of your kids and your family and your friends college. Facebook very similar was just for college students originally when I joined and then now everyone, everyone is still on there. And I think a lot of , you know, went from this fun social media like it was supposed to be an Instagram is a good example. It became so aspirational and content and which is so great and these upped unobtainable and really just this unachievable highlight reel . Right . And I think recently in the last six months to a year, and this is what you and I were chatting about, things have gone from like that aspirational to relatable. It's like cool, relatable again, realistic, you know, you can see it from bloggers posting more mirror selfies, unedited photo time stories helped with that. I think that whole Snapchat to instant story revolution helped with that. I'm seeing this massive shift in the industry where people are starting to embrace that. And I think it's just such an authentic message and Jacqueline brands are taking advantage of and that's from the brand side, you know, that's more so influenced or a public figure aside from the brand side you , you'll start to see a lot more engagement, whether it's with followers. And I know Bailey's has done that very well, but even brands that normally haven't, or just the behind the scene or an Insta story series or getting people to, you know, Hey this is the person that does merchandising for us. And , and just kind of or fun. I mean, and I've noticed that those like organic relate rate-able posts always performed so well. Yeah . No matter who as opposed to some absolutely styled item. I'm sure we say that here . Absolutely. And one of the it , one of the reasons why we even started doing behind the scenes at all was because we want people to know the people behind the curtain. We wanted, I mean I remember even our customer service where if they had somebody who kind of be rated them a little bit and they'd be so down and kind of just depressed about it and I'd say, God , shake it off. It's fine. Remember that there's a thousand people that love you. Don't get hung up on the one person who, you know, said some cruel things. And I remember in multiple times where they would just say, but if people just knew us, if people just knew how much we cared, if people just really, if they, if they saw us face to face, I don't feel like they would react in the same way that you do behind a screen. And that's where the light bulbs start to go off and you're going, huh? How can we show people that, yes, we are a a scaling company, but we are. We're regular people too. Yeah , and there's always , I wouldn't look behind the scenes doing all this different work and if they have family, it's not going to not perfect. We're going to make mistakes, but we're going to try to be upfront about them as possible and that's just become a part of our culture is just that trying to over communicate to mitigate the potential negative responses when you don't over-communicate and it's being transparent to the customers. I think too with growing brands, people get excited, especially if they found a brand like this when it first started and have followed with it. Yeah. And then they get , they get excited to see expanding. I saw that in my previous company where people are super loyal and they're loyal to a brand, you know, I'm like that with certain beauty brands. I'm like, okay, I love this, but I know a lot about them . Their packaging, their this, this smell experience, experience and, and the customer service. I mean , I think that that's a huge part of the PR side. I mean there's certain brands I know like they have the best customer service. Absolutely . Absolutely. Okay, so quick question then for those who are going well, PR seems like a luxury for a big brand, what would you say to people that have that mindset? Um, I would say I don't think so. I think that it's something that should be forefront in everyone's mind. And like I kinda mentioned earlier, there are some just DIY things you can do. I think there's always, you know, being consistent if you are , if you're doing marketing efforts, whether it's your brand messaging, you know, you don't need a whole team to do that. It's just thinking through, you might need another person to bounce an idea off of, you know, how does this sound? I also think with press and media relations, there's stuff that you can do. You know, it does, like you said, there is a stuff that gets piled up that really needs one person, but there's stuff that you can do. Um , a lot of that grassroots gifting is the easiest PR and marketing and brand awareness that you can do. I mean, give someone something, you know, whether it's a brand ambassador that's gonna tell all their friends and everyone at school about it or whether it's an actual influencer on the digital side that's going to promote it. Um, you know, I worked at a company where we didn't, we didn't always , uh, in the beginning have the budget to do a lot of, you know, paid things, but we were always able to gift and , and I also think that being involved philanthropically in your community and what makes sense for your brand, what's an alignment for your brand? What's targeted is something that you can also take on. Love it. And we really did a lot of that DIY, we weren't very aware that we right doing it, I get it. But now looking back and you go, Oh wow, I see now how we set the stage. If I had been aware of it, I could've been more intentional in it as grout . And so what are some of the tips that you would give those who are just getting their feet wet in this or just beginning to waken up and have that sense of awareness that maybe they could March forward with when it comes to an introductory to PRM ? I think similar to kind of the influencer marketing side, you could also take as a full scope for PR is, you know, thinking through is this whatever you're doing? Is it for brand awareness? Is it for sales? Is it for social media, is it to reach new people? Um, and I think initially kinda , you know, you could come up with your own PR plan, you could come up, it doesn't have to be something super specific, but who are we? Who are you trying to reach and where RNA. And then how can our efforts reach those people? So like I mentioned earlier, it could be gifting. Yes, it could be, you know, it could be working with your local news station. It could be, or a paper or or magazine, right ? Digital who are the key influencers and I don't even just mean influencers. We used to use that word a lot in my old place of work. But I mean we used to mean it to mean like key people in the community, right ? I mean it can be like, like I said, a brand ambassador. It could also be someone with a million followers but, right. But what makes sense for you and could you send them a little note? And again, I know on the blog side too , I get reached out to you by so many companies of all different sizes and some of them are very small and they don't have a PR team, but they're still willing to like make that effort to network. A lot of times when you're, especially when you're just starting out, you barely even have a marketing budget if you have a marketing budget. But there's , it doesn't cost any money to collaborate with people. It doesn't cost any money to build a relationship, to cross experience paths and just say, Hey, here's what I'm learning over here. And that person's learning as well. And you're feeding those experiences into each other so you don't both have to learn them. Yup . And then building and growing off of that. So I think that's one of the ways that the business has grow the fastest is through being authentic, creating those relationships and being willing to learn and teach at times with other people. Yeah. And yeah, I think a lot of that, all of that grassroots , you know, side of the marketing and PR role is so important. But networking, I mean relationships, I mean when you can say, Hey, you know what, I met someone, I'm going to give them a call and see what they think or they might be able to help us is always important. Absolutely. So I know one of our big initiatives right now for Bailey's Boston's and Peyton Bree is moving into this world of influencer marketing. So talk a little bit more about that one . I think overall, like I mentioned, I think it's a huge part of the PR world and departments across various companies. Um, and I think part of it too is if you think back to how you used to be brands and they still do this or with celebrity endorsements and we see there's still, we know all the big brands, they still do that. There's still a part of it. But the idea of working with an influencer is it's almost like that best friend mentality . Like, Oh, I follow her, she loves this hairspray, I'm going to buy that. You know, and, and we all have those. And so I think that people going back to relatable one, it one , a relatable person wants something organic. And I always say, what influencer marketing, you know, we're setting up all sorts of different fun things right now here at Bailey's . And um, but a lot of it is who are the people that are already wearing and buying your things that are, you know, that might be, you know, that's kind of like that low hanging fruit that's kind of, you know, easy to get into. But then also, wow, this, you know, she already, I know we've reached out to influencers recently that were already promoting us already buying stuff or talking about it. I saw another one this weekend I'll tell you about. And so for that it's like, you know, how can we work with them? It can be a very organic relationship and sometimes those are some of the best relationships. Absolutely you can do. And I think too, it's really important. Um, we , we've talked a lot about with like local influencers and where are you want to target? I mean if you, if we really want to get some new customers in Charleston, you know, is that a city we look at to make sure, right ? And never underestimating the power of, of the micro influencers so to speak. Um, in who? In the engagement. Cause someone could have a million followers, but you could work with someone that has 10,000 that gets way, way better return on your investment. He's mean . Absolutely. And I also think it's important , um, you know, when you're working with them, part of it is brand ruler wellness . Part of it eventually will be revenue and driving the sales, reaching new audiences that you wouldn't have reached. Kind of diversifying a little bit. How do you quantify that though? How do you quantify PR efforts in general? I think that, so you know, some of it we were talking about with marketing is so numbers related. Obviously with affiliate marketing you can get you, there is ways to track it. We're talking about some new ways of doing that here at the company, whether it's certain links and commissions and sales specific codes, right people, right . Oil coats , all of that to um , new mentions. Um , I think to looking through like the social media growth, not, not every , it used to be Instagram, you get one tag and Oh you get all these followers. That girl from is trying to change that. Um , but I think to seeing where people are coming from, who's talking about it, even with customers. So what's so amazing is so some of it is going to be very, it's going to have your like number side of it and some of it's going to be that gray. I say like my creative side that has where you can't exactly quantify it. Um , but you can tell by maybe new customers , um, you know, these influencers, they may have direct sales that day or it could be someone that a year later remembers, Oh, what was that? What was that? I have them having a baby now. What was that website that she talked about? Exactly . You know, and kind of growing it that way. So it can be tricky. I will say. Um, there's also, you know, you can look at press clips and things like that as you start to get more mentions from blogs and press and all of that too . It's interesting also because on Bailey's Boston's a paper you , we use a Shopify website, which has some pretty decent reporting. And I know Google analytics has these insights as well, but you can create a UTM code, which would be specific. And then if you're sharing that an influencer, then you can see exactly how much traffic is coming in there. So there's ways that you can kind of get around it and get some of that data and that feedback back. But really my biggest, my biggest suggestion would be to record dates of release. Yeah. And watch the trends and the traffic and the sales trends and then you can kind of tie back some of those links there. And that helps a lot. Every, every program does it a little bit differently. I know there are some that we're looking into and you're really able to see it depending on what the network is, Hey, this person drove this many sales or, or, or clicks or taps or however you want to put it. Um, and sometimes it's organic. I mean, I know that there's been brands that have been like, Oh my gosh, we've , we didn't even know we were working with this person and we were , you know, like they were driving sales and business to our , um , store. And that's, and that's more on the influencer side. I think podcasts too . I mean, we already talked about that, but that, that can be hard sometimes to quantify. I mean , there's downloads and there's all those stats, but someone, I know, there's so many brands that I hear about now on podcasts, right. And I'm like, do they know that it's because of that? Because I write that somewhere, you know? Can I give them a little suggestion? My PR mind is always like, gosh, I want them to know how I found out about it. You know that this is working so awesome. There's always going to be a little bit unknown, but I think taking the numbers as much as you can and all those forms is important. Public relations, PR, it's relations, relationships, it just a public, it's just relationships. That's all it is. It's where are our people at and where can we find more people and where can we, where do we need to show up better to serve the people that are already here in our own little ecosystem so to speak. And I think as you start taking and taking those things into consideration and really start thinking about that and brainstorming on that and , and starting to track it, that's when you can really start moving the needle. It's really being forward thinking and like you said, staying on message and who you're working with and making sure I like to say everything being on brand. Yes , I feel like that sends a tagline or whatnot to say, no , it's so true. And then you know when something's on Randy Nolan's a little off and it gives you that feeling. Right? Exactly. And sometimes there's risks that you take and you learn from them and I think that's with anything, but I think that, you know, it's kinda seeing the full picture of everything. I love it. Awesome. Britney , thank you so much. It's very helpful me , I appreciate it. Yes, thank you so much flavor, but he finds this as as valuable as we have found it here at Bailey's Boston and Peyton. Bree , we're really excited for the growth potential moving into this new or just going to start out and we're just getting started. It's going to be great. Awesome . Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me here on the conquering chaos podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, will you please take a moment to leave a review? It's the fuel to my fire and lets me know that my efforts to enact change and broaden your perspective of what's possible matter. Thank you so much for your support. If you want more content like this, don't forget to subscribe and connect with me on social [email protected] . Have a fantastic day. Get out there and Congressman , chaos.