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NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?


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Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur

 

Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

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Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

Gabriell Weinberg: Founder of DuckDuckGo

Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of LittleThings.com

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of Edmunds.com

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of Reputation.com

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

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Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

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Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad

Tuesday
Dec272016

Heather Ripley: CEO, Ripley PR

My NativeAdVice:

Bio:

Heather Ripley is the founder and CEO of Ripley PR, a global public relations agency specializing in companies involved in the building trades, franchising, health care IT, manufacturing and technology. Ripley is also a contributing writer for Entrepreneur.com.

How did you get into the industry?

It was kind of an evolution. I got my first taste of marketing and copywriting when I worked in a regional department store’s corporate office as an assistant buyer. I later managed PR and marketing internally for several companies including Clockwork Home Services, one of the largest home service franchisors in the U.S. I then moved on to the agency side of things. I worked in senior management for two agencies before starting Ripley PR, a global public relations agency specializing in B2B, franchise and home service.

Any emerging industry trends?

A lot more businesses are realizing why they should have a good PR agency in their corner. Many B2B decision makers do a lot of research online before ever speaking to a sales person. The more positive stories your potential clients read about your company, the more interested they become, and hopefully then they decide they want to buy your product or service. By the time you actually hear from them, they’ve probably already made their decision, and it was largely based on good, strategic PR. Also, more and more businesses are having difficulties with recruiting, and PR can help with that. We often create PR campaigns designed specifically for recruiting. We recently helped an international automotive manufacturer fill 800 positions through our PR efforts.  

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Technology is allowing a lot more companies to automate. Some of our competitors sell the exact same, or similar, products to multiple clients. At first glance, these non-customized products may seem attractive because they’re cheaper—but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.  Good PR is about strategy and relationships, and that can’t be automated. It’s important to understand each and every client and their business, and to create a strategy and content tailored for their specific needs and strengths. It doesn’t take companies long to realize why this is better.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the business?

Over the years, I’ve hired agencies, managed agencies, and worked for other PR and marketing agencies.  I learned what to do and what not do in a number of situations. And as I worked and learned, I began to envision an agency where senior professionals delivered consistent results with phenomenal customer service. I knew that if we did that, we would get more business through client referrals. One of our specialty areas is home services, and we now have clients up and down the eastern seaboard and all the way out to the west coast. A lot of that came from word of mouth—one client telling another home service owner how much we have helped them. We’re very careful not to cross territories; we won’t represent two clients offering the same service in the same geographic area. We are well on the way to covering the nation. Our other specialty areas are just as strong. With the hard work and creativity we apply to every task, and with our emphasis on client satisfaction, we are making rapid progress toward my vision—to be the top agency in our specialties within five years.

What's next for the business in the near future?

We are expanding rapidly and just moved into our third office in three years. We remodeled an older building in my home town, and there’s plenty of room to spread out. I’m working on the foundation right now, which means hiring the best, proven professionals and working on expanding into some new specialty areas. It doesn’t bother me at all if I’m not the smartest person in the room, or even in the building. In fact, I prefer not to be. I want smart, strong people around me. We’re now in a position to hire the team we want, and that’s what I’m concentrating on.

Your key initiatives for the success of the business?

It all comes down to delivering consistent results. The solution is different for each client, and our job is to figure out the best approach. We have a lot in the works right now, but here’s an example from the past. Before I started Ripley PR, one of my most challenging projects was a city-owned parking garage in a luxury resort area. The sticking point was that new garage would partially block the waterfront view of the residents in luxury condos. I created a communications strategy that included encouraging and seeking input from the residents, so they would have ownership in the new parking garage. We invited them to a series of weekly meetings with the construction company and the architect. The residents were able to ask questions and even help choose the façade. The parking garage ended up being something that the downtown residents were very proud of. That’s the kind of results we’re after for all our clients.

Your most difficult moment at the business? What did you learn?

My most significant challenge is finding and hiring the best people. We’re looking for proven professionals with a great attitude. The right person has to also be the right fit for our team. They must be smart, adaptable, driven, ambitious, and eager to learn. Just because they have the right knowledge doesn’t make them a fit. If they get excited about my vision, they might be the person we’re looking for. Again though, they must have the right attitude and be a positive team player. I have learned to be patient, because the best person might be someone we have to teach and mold. We’re willing to do that.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Our goal is to help each client grow their business, while improving their standing in their industry and in the eyes of the public. We present clients with a PR strategy for their business, and show them how we’re going to go about achieving the desired results. We also create a crisis management plan, so everyone knows how to handle any negative situations. This gives our clients peace of mind that their reputation and brand are protected. We focus on getting them exposure in their targeted media. Earned media is much better than paid media because it can create instant credibility. It also serves as a kind of shield against any future negative events, because we’ve already created a positive perception in the minds of the public. And, we concentrate on achieving a strong online presence because that’s where people get their first impression. We develop and implement strategies to get our clients the best exposure and highest amount of positive online traffic. When all of this comes together, it means higher visibility, better credibility, and more profits.

How do you motivate others?

I start by sharing my vision. We like to hire ambitious and self-motivated employees, and I tell my team that my vision will create unlimited opportunities for them. I try to recognize accomplishments in both small and large ways. Just recently one of our employees was promoted to a leadership position. Other team members took note and understood that next time, it could be them. I push my team to be their best. It’s a painful process sometimes, for everyone, but it’s worth it when they produce work the client is proud of and helps promote their brand.

Career advice to those in your industry?

I work with a lot of CEOs, and I learn something important from each and every one. There’s always something you can learn, at any stage of your career. Soak up all you can from everyone you come into contact with. I meet a lot of people, especially new graduates, who think they already know everything they need to know to succeed. My advice to them is to spend a lot more time listening than talking. Realize that there’s always someone smarter than you. Take advantage of every opportunity. Be ambitious, self-motivated and self-driven. Be proactive; don’t wait to be asked to do something. And never stop learning.

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