Contributed by Alyson Austin, Principal and Co-founder
Twelve months ago, I was having spirited discussions with Jacob Gaffney. We were exchanging our hopes and dreams for what would become our boutique public relations firm, Gaffney Austin. We wanted to make an impact that was different from what we were seeing in the marketplace. More than just a firm that promoted their clients to a few media outlets. We set out to develop relationships with individuals and companies that understood things were different in 2019.
It is no longer acceptable to just send press releases and wait for the media mentions to roll in. Now we need to leverage multiple media opportunities. Social media, mainstream media, trade press… We have to create an echo-chamber with our messaging. The messages need to be spread far and wide and friends, colleagues and people in our sphere of influence need to engage with our messages. Engage? Yes! Across traditional and social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, BombBomb, YouTube). All. Of. It.
In our first year, we found ourselves working with many different kinds of companies. Startups. Series A, B and C. Publicly traded companies. Nasdaq. NYSE. International. Domestic. Virtual workforce. Machine learning. Through each opportunity, we saw a need to meet our clients where they were most comfortable… then break them from that comfort zone.
We, by choice, are operating in some of the most conservative industries in the world. BANKING, MORTGAGE, INSURANCE and REAL ESTATE. These industries have been doing the same thing for many years and getting pretty good results. Buyers want to buy and insure homes. Sellers want to sell homes. Banks are more than happy to lend to qualified buyers. Homeowners want to insure their homes. Insurance companies want to insure properties. Pretty simple.
In 2020, things changed while no one was looking. Digital mortgage, remote closings, virtually touring homes, property monitoring, artificial intelligence. WHAT? The traditional face-to-face business has gone virtual. The view of a home or property is now seen through a computer screen. Real estate agents walking the property? No, not right now. Appraisers visiting the property? Maybe not. Not for a while anyway.
Who was ready for this? We were! At Gaffney Austin, we entered the market at a time when many businesses were on the cusp of a monumental change. In the 12 months since we launched, that blurry vision of a new industry became a crystal-clear reality. We did not sit on the sidelines to watch this, we have been part of our clients’ journey.
We want to acknowledge so many clients who agreed to take this ride with us. We intend to continue to evolve with each of our clients and we want to thrive with them. Thank you to every client, prospect, friend and competitor who cheered our success or anticipated our demise. We are here and we are pleased to be part of an industry that is housing, insuring and promoting the American Dream.
Please join us on this ride. We are looking forward to many more anniversaries.
One year, down. Many, many more to come.