Interview with Nicole Rodrigues
Nicole Rodrigues is the founder & CEO @ NRPR Group. Rodrigues talks about growing her business sustainably, what good PR looks like in this age of many channels and her Young Dreamers Foundation.
Hi Nicole! Could you please introduce your work with NRPR Group and what led to your founding the agency back in 2014?
My name's Nicole Rodrigues and I'm the CEO and founder of NRPR group. We were founded in 2014 but I've been in the PR industry since the year 2000, so it's been quite a long time. I didn't want to start my agency until I felt like I had just the right amount of knowledge and skill because I knew if I wanted to start an agency, I wanted to do it right. So I took my time and I made sure that from intern to account coordinator to account executive and all the way up the food chain that I was really mastering each level because I also knew that in order to build a sustainable business, you have to have a decent understanding of what the people who are going to be working for you need to do. So I wanted to be able to mentor at the same time as grow my company so that I could also grow the people in it and give them knowledge. In college I had this vision that ultimately I wanted to get into PR but I wanted to start a company when I felt I was ready and when I was vice president of digital entertainment at a large firm here in Los Angeles, we were growing we were doing really well working with really, really big brands. And I finally felt in that moment that I was ready. I understood the business aspect of what I was doing as well as the tangible aspect of PR and helping companies really grow. So in 2014, I just put it all out there and decided that it was time to start and NRPR group. And here we are.
What separates NRPR Group from similar agencies based in Los Angeles? What separates you from the rest?
So what separates NRPR group from other agencies not just in Los Angeles, I would say around the world, any agency that is not proactive and looking at their clients, looking at their business, actively asking them what their business goals are on a regular basis to map to that. That's what sets us apart. We look at what we do as complete strategy to help build our clients not just with visibility and volume of press. We want to make sure that we are attacking the types of stories that they need whether they are trying to attract fundraising, whether they are trying to attract consumers, whether they are trying to attract new business. All of what we do should play a part. So we are extremely aggressive in making sure that we are working hand-in-hand with the CMO, the CEO, business decision makers to understand what is happening within the business so that we can tell the right stories to the media so that people understand what's happening outside of that business. So we are very, very strategic. We work directly with our clients to make sure that we are helping them map towards those goals and I think that's why they love us so much and why they stay with us for a very long time.
What's the greatest asset of working with publicists, rather than traditional marketing or branding experts?
There's a huge benefit to working with PR professionals when you're working with the right PR professional; they understand how to create the glue between all of your marketing organization. So PR is a function of the marketing umbrella but it's a very, very important one because we are that group of people who help you basically define your narrative. So if what you're saying to the press looks different than what you're saying on your website and different than how you're basically portraying your company on social media, there's a disconnect. A really solid PR team is going to know how to create that perfect cadence, build the narrative and change the messaging where it needs to be changed for the different audiences while staying true to the core. So working with PR professionals, the right ones are thinking that way for your business so that your marketing runs like a well oiled machine and I kind of look at ourselves as that that oil that runs through that.
You're also the founder and CEO of the Young Dreamers Foundation. How do you balance your work with the foundation and your work with NRPR Group?
So when I founded the Young Dreamers Foundation it was I believe year two and a half of NRPR group and I was out sharing my story with the young children in my hometown because I can honestly say to people that I am self-made. I started this company by myself with no funding. But the funding that I had on my own and I worked really hard to get here to get through college and all of that. So I felt like I had this mission to be able to inspire young kids who might not believe in themselves to show them that there is a way that they can work hard and do that. So as I do NRPR group work that is a huge priority that's number one. My clients are the absolute priority, as well as my team. So what I do, I find time in the day, I also hire on the young dreamers side so I've made it an actual company where I have other people who are helping to keep things going whether it's for scheduling, helping maintain the website and social media. I just make sure to balance it and now that I have that experience of getting NRPR group off the ground and getting it to a really really great place I can then as I have time to add Young Dreamers and the time on there. But it is it's nourishing to my soul when I do that work for Young Dreamers I feel like it energizes me to even go back and do more for NRPR. So I make sure that at least 10 to 12 hours of my week is dedicated to Young Dreamers and that foundation and so far it's worked.
What's next for your work both with NRPR Group and the Young Dreamers Foundation? What will be your main focus for the rest of 2019?
So what's next for NRPR group specifically is you know we're going through a period where we are going to update some of our branding. We have to look at ourselves as also a company that needs to be marketed properly and hitting our five year anniversary it's a big goal of mine to update the Website, update marketing materials. We're already in the process of updating some of our our business cards and our case studies. We're updating the office so we're in a place where I'm taking a look at where we've been and knowing where we want to go. It's time to upgrade a lot of those things for ourselves internally and I think that that's really motivating to the team. They see that they see that new is coming in. We're getting new things here new Website new cards all of these things new software. So it's energizing the team. And what we're really trying to do is just make sure that with our existing client base which we love that we are constantly helping them grow, retaining them and then with them growing with and through that it's it's been feeding the business for four years already and so I think if we stay true to that and we continue to grow we want to grow our offices in New York. Grow our offices in Las Vegas and then continue to hire here in Los Angeles and just keep building this machine. For young dreamer the next step is going to new states. Right now we've hit northern and southern California. We've hit Las Vegas in Nevada. We've also gotten to schools in Hawaii which is just amazing. So what we hope to do is get out to the east coast possibly in New York and hit some schools there and you know possibly Florida that's another target area for us. So we just want to start going to more schools across the nation rather than just sticking to what's in our backyard. So the sky's the limit.