Women on Top

Stellar PR Agencies Owned by Women

Women on Top:
10 Stellar PR Agencies Owned by Women

When we looked around for the hottest women-owned firms, we had a few specific ideas in mind. These firms had to be doing great work in the social media arena for clients. They had to be doing a good job with their own companies’ social media. They had to possess je ne sais quoi, that special something that made them stand out. Numbers truly are only part of the equation. Being top in sales doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re being a great social citizen. Some of the highest grossing revenue firms we researched didn’t even list their social media on their site at all and that didn’t fit the goal here. We wanted to feature women who not only led top PR firms, but who also led them using the guiding social values of engagement, community, and sharing. We hope these shining examples will serve to inspire you to up your game!

1. Kim Julin Guyader and Jamie Lynn Sigler J Public Relations
With a tagline of “Don’t Let the Pink Fool You,” J Public Relations in owning the girl power. Their team page features an all-women staff, including founding partners Kim Julin Guyader and Jamie Lynn Sigler. They have offices in NYC and San Diego and are an awardwinning firm specializing in luxury lifestyle and travel PR. Clients include W Hotels, Hard Rock Hotels, Hilton Hotels, and the hot spot magnates, the Gerber Group, among many others. Their site is all about social interaction. Their 11K Twitter followers plus a multi-platform social media outreach demonstrate their engagement. With photos on Flickr and a social media conversation swirling around them, we definitely aren’t letting the pink fool us. These ladies have it figured out and are walking the walk.

2. Grace Leong Hunter PR
A quintessential Madison Avenue firm specializing in consumer products PR, Hunter is owned by a group of partners, many of whom are female. Listed by O’Dwyer’s as one of the top 25 highest grossing revenue firms, they have also been recognized as “Best Digital PR firm” in 2010 by PR News and as being a “Best Place to Work.” One glance at their site and you see social everywhere. The pictures they share are of smiling faces doing crazy and interesting things. They have a presence in multiple platforms and those social streams are engaged, fun, and conversational. Their blog is written by practically everyone in their firm. Full of character and colorful pictures, it tells the story of a company that is all about being social.

3. Margaret Dunning Widmeyer Communications
With Margaret Dunning as a principle, Widmeyer stands as a traditional firm adapting to social media. Focusing on educational, health and wellness, association, and public affairs PR, Widmeyer looks a bit new to the social media game, but deserves a thumbs up for how they are doing it. Of note is the management team’s dedication to social media processes. In staff profiles, they lead with autobiographical blurbs and photos. Every member of the team is on social and links to connect with them are easy to find on each of their profile feature pages. Everyone is in the game and they are all showing up, demonstrating admirable leadership and management buy-in to the social media attitude. Kudos!

4. Jennifer Prosek CJP Communications
Jennifer Prosek is the founder and CEO of CJP, where she leads many of the firm’s key accounts. Under her leadership, the firm has become a leading international public relations and financial communications consultancy with offices in New York, Connecticut and London. CJP doesn’t yet have huge social numbers. But numbers don’t tell the only story. The noteworthy theme when it comes to social here is that of being real and human. Under Jennifer’s profile picture (a shot of her drinking coffee in a casual blouse) is a Q&A icon. Click on it for a revealing interview about her likes and dislikes (her favorite food is octopus). We’d like to have coffee with Jennifer and that online-to-real-world leap is a big part what social is all about.

5. Liz Kaplow Kaplow Communications
Liz Kaplow founded the firm in 1991 after a career in beauty, fashion, consumer health and lifestyle PR. As one of the more successful mid-level firms, Kaplow enjoys clients such as Avon, eBay, LeapFrog, Shiseido, Target, Timex, and others. With a decent showing on Twitter (~3,000) and across other platforms, Kaplow has done a great job on YouTube, showing 40,000+ views. The videos are behind-the-scenes shots of clients. They even serve up a video of their company in a Twitter training class. Combine the multi-platform approach with their personalized approach on the website, and we believe their overall social numbers are bound to rise. We’ll be keeping an eye on their progress, as should you.

6. Melissa Waggener Zorkin and Pam Edstrom
Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
The firm has grown from a two-person agency in 1983, with Melissa Waggener Zorkin and co-founder Pam Edstrom, into the world’s 2nd-largest independent communications company with over 800 employees. With a strong contingent of female management members, Waggener Edstrom is working it for the ladies. You can’t help but laugh when you read the social media streams here. What do an intern scavenger hunt, gimlets, a giraffe in the office, and moto have in common? They all live on the agency’s Facebook and Twitter streams. With strong numbers on their social media profiles, and a fun approach to engaging, this agency is living the social media values of being real, relevant, and sharable.

7. Donna Sokolsky Burke Sparkpr
Sparkpr was cofounded by Donna Sokolsky Burke in 1999 and has grown from a small startup into one of leading technology communications agencies globally. Women are well represented in their management team, as well. One of the more interesting elements of the Sparkpr site is its commitment to actually engaging you via social media. On one page you see their Facebook badge, giving you the opportunity to like their fanpage. On another, you see their Twitter stream. On others, there are obvious share buttons, and on yet other web pages, videos are streamed. This multi-faceted presentation and commitment to a multi-platform presence on social demonstrates the firm’s willingness to be adaptive and responsive. Those traits rank high in the social media ecosystem.

8. Tina Elmowitz, Christine M. Barney, and Lisa K. Ross rbb Public Relations
Led by three powerful women partners – Tina Elmowitz, Christine M. Barney, and Lisa K. Ross – rbb is a three-time “PR Agency of the Year” award winner. Focusing on consumer, B2B, and Travel & Leisure, it’s a great example of a firm that’s fully engaged in social media. Via a multi-author blog, a rich social media presence, and a dynamic site, it’s clear that rbb is living social. For example, rbb’s site spotlights its Casa RBB office makeover, in which staff renovated the space to suit the group’s personality. These same internal advocates have voted the firm a “great place to work.” Your employees are among the best brand advocates you can have, and rbb recognizes that social starts at home.

7. Lisa Simon Simon PR
Founded by Lisa Simon in 1990 and partnered with WorldCom, the firm has won numerous awards over their 20 year history. Most recently, Simon was inducted into the Philadelphia Public Relations Association Hall of Fame. They are also present in social across multiple platforms. The firm’s values are imbued throughout their social and digital presence. Led by the principle of “Do it right,” much of what they feature on their site and social media presence is community service. When they list their capabilities, they also provide an extensive list of specific tactics they use. This openness is a very social behavior and, combined with their value focus, makes them a great addition to this collection of top women-owned PR firms.

10. Margaret Booth M Booth
Founded in 1984 and acquired as a wholly owned subsidiary in 2009 by Next Fifteen Communications Group, the firm was named the 2009 Creative Agency of the Year, and has been counted among the 10 best places to work in PR. Founder, president and CEO Margaret Booth knows how to be social. Under her leadership, the agency’s client roster has grown to include American Express, Unilever, Hershey’s, Michelin and others. M Booth is another example of how to present your brand socially. When you visit its “About Us” page, the first tab is labeled, “Our Soul.” With casual photos of staff and management, the company’s authenticity shines through. Authenticity is key in being successful in social media and M Booth makes you believe.

Women on Top:
10 Stellar PR Agencies Owned by Women
In PR, communications and marketing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing your own announcements or messages. The women-owned PR firms featured here demonstrate the values of social media in very notable ways through fun engagement, casual conversation, transparent authenticity, and an intentional focus on their communities, both internal and external. There are more women-owned and led firms out there that deserve attention. There is no way we could feature them all, so please share your favorites with us. And when it comes to women rocking the PR social media world with style, grace, and competence, don’t let the pink fool you!

Women on Top:
10 Stellar PR Agencies Owned by Women

Next on “The Pulse”:
"Top 10 Picks for a Social Media Comeback Award” We’ll feature top brands and companies that took a bad situation and made it better by making great choices in how they interacted with their audiences on social media. www.marketwire.com www.sysomos.com
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