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Posts Tagged ‘start-up’

Where Style Meets Expertise: Cristofoli Keeling, Inc.

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. was founded around the idea that style inspires all. A majority woman-owned marketing communications firm established in 1999, Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. was created when founder, Ann Keeling, paired her seasoned design background with a high level of strategic communications experience. For today’s agile business environment, being comfortable with innovation is a prerequisite. Never shying away from exploring new ways to optimize client marketing investments, Cristofoli Keeling, Inc. embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, while leveraging the expertise and professionalism of an established organization.

After years of working in design management for international brand design firm LPK, Ann Keeling was asked to add the management of marketing communications for the firm to her client service role.  She observed that the public relations agencies would consistently position experienced professionals in the pitch process, but after winning the business, the execution would be handled by those less experienced who lacked industry understanding.

After seeing this reality become an unfortunate pattern, Keeling recognized an opportunity in the market to do things better. Vowing to provide clients with not only innovative thinking, but a seasoned understanding of their industry and challenges, Keeling founded the firm and stepped into the role that she continues to maintain today.

As founder and President of Cristofoli Keeling, Inc., clients have described Keeling by saying, “She strikes just the right balance between no-nonsense professionalism and setting a relaxed tone in the work-place.” An advocate for both clients and colleagues alike, Keeling has expanded her marketing communications empire, without ever neglecting her original goal – to provide every client with expert guidance and strategic execution.

Offering clients expertise without ever sacrificing style, Keeling lives by the adage, “Do It Right…Do It Big…Do It with Style.”

The Startup Culture Secret

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Startup culture seems exhilarating; the concept of wearing vintage tees to work and being part of something new and cutting edge. Why does this environment seem so attractive and something that organizations try to maintain even after they’ve grown beyond their initial garage-based business stage?

Here’s there secret: There’s No Directional Compromise.

At least not for a while, that is. In most organizations, there’s a directional compromise that takes place and it often boils down to the question of tradition vs. progression. Without a traditional precedent for people to fight for, there is less directional compromise (in startup culture).

It’s natural for industry veterans to hold onto the way they’ve always done things, so often times the “progressive bunch” with new ideas and French press coffee will compromise their cutting edge (maybe too cutting edge) ideas for something that will please those who have been around longer.  This type of generational change happens in all organizations, but one reason startups seem so revolutionary, is because they haven’t had to encounter that situation quite yet.

Innovation and progression are vital to any successful organization with the respect of history and expertise gained along the way. There are many businesses, non-profits, and clubs that fail due to the inability to stay innovative. But, just because a startup seems innovative when it begins, doesn’t mean it will maintain that culture by default.

Somewhere along the line every startup company that “makes it” will become an aging company and the way they navigate that transition will determine whether they’re really a startup at heart. A true startup company will navigate all decisions with innovation and progression regardless of the traditional precedents.

The Shark Tank’s Faulty Business Recco

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Outspoken entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and star of the popular television show Shark Tank, Mark Cuban, shared a piece of advice to Business Insider that would cause any public relations professional to cringe. Cuban states that a start-up company should never hire a public relations firm. Cuban goes as far as suggesting that any entrepreneur hiring a PR firm would be wasting time and investments; and he says that a start-up team is more than capable of handling the duties of a PR team.

Cuban undermines the practicality and assistance many public relations firm provide, referring to their responsibilities as simply “wrangling members of the press.” He continues, “What’s more, you know your business much better than any PR person you’d hire. It’s better to develop relationships with those folks directly than try to train a PR person to learn your business and figure it all out.”

In Cuban’s eyes the money a company can save from opting out of an external public relations partnership, could secure a company’s survival. We strongly disagree; in fact wholly contradict Cuban’s recommendation. Having someone else manage your public relations, messaging, and marketing helps the start-up more efficiently manage its business. If PR is generating an increase in traffic, the business-side needs to make sure its focus is on the product. Many companies think public relations is easy – it’s all about managing social media and as Cuban said, “wrangling members of the press,” but PR is actually about creating a strategy & executing flawlessly over time to help meet business objectives, as much as it is about creating and maintaining media relationships. .

Ann Keeling says:

Based on past experience with clients, I’d say that Mr. Cuban has been burned by a PR firm. He’s a super-smart guy and this recommendation seems totally out of character for him. Maybe we need to talk to him….

Knowing How and When to Summon the Power of Passion

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

In the U.S., we believe that with enough grit, determination and, most of all, passion, our wildest dreams can become a reality.

According to a study by Inc. and the National Business Incubator Association, 80% of new businesses fail within the first five years. Why do businesses with all the right ingredients ‘ talented people, brilliant ideas and genuine passion ‘ crash and burn?