Mac Prichard from Prichard Communications is featured in this episode, all about rebranding his business. Mac shares the process he and his team went through to take their business to the next level.
Mac shares their rebranding approach, having to let go of some of the activities that weren’t paying off as big as they could, and how their new brand and direction was successful in providing even more value to their clients.
TOPICS DISCUSSED INCLUDE:
- How his company figured out who they are and who they wanted to be
- Get clear on who they serve and rebranding process
- How to create a collaborative work environment
- The importance of having clear goals in the decision-making process
- Making difficult decisions to free up the needed time to focus on the “right” things
- Why it matters: even better service to our customers and great response from new customers
- Because clarity around who we were and the value we offered and understand how you can solve your customer’s problem drives success
- Be able to grow and diversify client base post-rebranding
- The importance of reinvention throughout your career
- How a political campaign is like a start-up
- Being an entrepreneur is a marathon
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Mac’s Company, Prichard Communications, providing public relations and communication solutions for nonprofits and foundations in the health and human services sectors
- Mac’s List – a client of Prichard Communications that deliver the best (and the most comprehensive in my opinion) job leads and job search tools for the metro Portland, OR area
- The Prichard Communications Blog
WANT TO GET IN TOUCH WITH MAC?
- Company Website: PrichardCommunications.com
- Mac on Twitter @Mac_Prichard
- Mac on LinkedIn
- And be sure to get a glimpse of Kaiser on Instagram
MORE ABOUT MAC PRICHARD
Mac started Prichard Communications in 2007, after a career as a public relations strategist and spokesperson for public and nonprofit agencies and elected officials. He and his seven-person team in Portland, Oregon, now serve the health and human service foundations and nonprofits across the United States.
Mac writes about nonprofit communications on the Prichard blog and you can connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn.
Mac lives in Portland’s Hawthorne district, the inspiration for many of the characters and sketches on “Portlandia.” He is often spotted in Southeast Portland taking Instagram photos while walking his dog Kaiser, a Weimaraner.
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Melissa Anzman (00:00): This is a launch yourself podcast with Melissa Anzman episode. Number 10, featuring Mac Prichard.
Melissa Anzman (00:08): Hello, and welcome to the launch yourself podcast, career, business, and brand advice to help you be seen, make an impact and deliver at your maximum potential. And now here's your host, Melissa Anzman
Melissa Anzman (00:27): Welcome to the launch yourself podcast. I'm your host, Melissa Anzman today. We are going to be chatting with Mac Prichard from Prichard communications, but before we get started, I wanted to share with you a lot that I'm working on right now called get promoted. Since this is a launch yourself podcast, I thought I would share one of my launches. So get promoted is a four week course. That's available now all about how to get noticed and press your boss and move up. So check out my site for more info and you can get that at launchyourself.co/get-promoted. Now let's get back to the show. I'm so happy to have my friend Mac Prichard on the show today. Max started Prichard communications in 2007 after career as a public relations strategist and spokesperson for public and nonprofit agencies and elected officials. He and his seven person team in Portland, Oregon now serve health and human service foundations and nonprofits across the U S Mac writes about nonprofit communications on the Prichard bog and is active on social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google plus Mac lives in Portland's Hawthorne district inspiration for many of the characters and sketches on Portlandia.
Melissa Anzman (01:40): He's often spotted in Southeast Portland, taking Instagram photos while walking his dog, Kaiser Mac and his team have been great friends to me in my business. And I'm so excited to be able to welcome Mac to the show today. Welcome to the show Mac. I'm so glad to have you here
Mac Prichard (01:57): Be here, Melissa. Thank you for asking me.
Melissa Anzman (01:59): Of course. I just want to share with everybody how I know you, which is kind of random, but I'm so grateful for knowing you. We were introduced, I think, through somebody on line and you did a review of one of my books and from there, we've just sort of been connected and I've been a fan and follower of your business and particularly with your mac list website. So I just wanted to say thank you again for coming on. And I'm so glad that we made that connection
Mac Prichard (02:27): And we also have the opportunity to meet last year at the world domination summit in Portland. That was fun as well.
Melissa Anzman (02:33): It's so wise and you brought me to one of the best restaurants I think I've ever been to. And I got to see Portland from a really cool angle. So I appreciate that. So that being said, I want to get started. I'm here at lunch herself. We define a launch as a specific point in time, when you purposely decide to take action to fulfill your maximum potential in your career, business or brand. And while you have so many launches to talk about both firsthand and secondhand, all the customers that you help, which launch would you like us to focus on today?
Mac Prichard (03:03): Well, I'd like to talk about my public relations firm, Prichard communications, and it will celebrate its seventh anniversary in April. And we've had great success seven years in the black, but we've also had to reinvent ourselves periodically. And we recently went through a relaunch of the firm last year. In fact, that I'd like to talk about today.
Melissa Anzman (03:24): That sounds great. Most people know you, I should say, in my world and my space for mac's list, but your business is this amazing communications company that we're going to talk about Prichard communications, and I love who you serve and what you do. So could you give us that quick background on the company itself and perhaps talk a little bit more about this relaunch or repositioning that you did last year? Okay.
Mac Prichard (03:48): Absolutely Prichard communications is based in Portland, Oregon. We work with nonprofits and foundations in health and human services across the country. In fact, most of our customers are outside of Oregon. And we you mentioned Mac's list, which is an internal customer of ours. It's a, an Oregon job site, which I launched as a side project sometime ago. And we're very proud of it. We, we think it's a great example of the kinds of public relations services. We offer a nonprofit and foundation clients. And I know you'll be talking to Jessica Williams and account director in our firm about that. So she'll have a great story to share. And then I think will be of interest to your, to your listeners for mac's List or rather for Prichard communications. Uwe provide a whole range of,upublic relations services from strategic communications planning to relaunching websites, to helping people build and run blogs to measuring their success.
Mac Prichard (04:52): We also do old fashioned media relations, helping to pitch stories to reporters. And I have a background in politics and government. I've worked for a governor of Oregon someone at city hall here in Portland. So and I've also worked with people on Capitol Hill. So we do public affairs work as well. In fact, just last week, I was in Washington, DC, helping a client with meetings at the white house drug policy office and with several federal agencies involved with juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment.
Melissa Anzman (05:30): So interesting. I love it just knowing you and having all those facets. I love what you guys stand for and who you help and the ways that you do it. So that's
Mac Prichard (05:39): Thanks, Melissa and I, and if people were to look at my LinkedIn profile or, or my resume, they would see a lot of different jobs in the nonprofit and public space, but the common denominator, the thread running through all of them is I'd had the opportunity to work on issues I care about or to make a difference in the community where I work and live. And absolutely. Yeah, so that's, and that is what is what we do at Prichard communications. We help our clients in the nonprofit and foundation space make a difference in the communities and the places where they, they they serve and work.
Melissa Anzman (06:22): Have you found that being able to work with clients and on topics and areas that you find not only interesting, but adding value to the world, has that made a big difference in your overall, you know, business value proposition of what you have to offer?
Mac Prichard (06:38): It has we find that there are our nonprofit clients are, are eager to work with firms like ours that know their world and share their values and have the communications expertise to help them achieve their strategic and organizational goals. And we w because we know that world well I, we, I think are much more effective than other public relations firms, which also have great strengths. But I think one of the things we'll talk about in the launch or in our conversation today rather is you really do need to focus and on a community or a niché or a sector. And when you do that you'll serve your, your customers much, much better.
Melissa Anzman (07:33): Well, I think that's the best segue I've ever been set up for. So I hope I don't ruin it. So why don't we get down to the launch itself? And if you could just share with us a little bit about what was going on and why you needed to relaunch the Prichard communications brand and focus last year
Mac Prichard (07:50): We had started as a part time consultancy in 2007, and I grew the firm into a full time job and started adding staff and the heart of our business. Melissa was two large contracts and we're grateful for the business. These are our two big nonprofit clients, and we continue to work with them, but any firm doesn't want to have all of its eggs in one basket. And so as we thought last year, about how we serve new clients and get the word out about what we do and diversify our income streams we went through a process of defining who we are, who we serve and, and the value that we offer. And we narrowed our focus to serving nonprofits and foundations and the health and human service world, because that's that's where our strengths are. And as a team and it by focusing on our strengths, we can provide better service. And also it makes it easier to grow and to connect with, with the potential clients who are interested in the value we offer.
Melissa Anzman (09:05): That's great. How did you, when you did all this work, I should say, how did you figure out if you were aligned to what you thought you were versus note, we need to adjust, this is who we are, but we have kind of strayed and perhaps taken on a client or two that didn't match it, or just for you, you know, how did you put together? Here's where I am versus here's where we want to be as a company.
Mac Prichard (09:29): We did a lot of thinking as a team last spring and summer we looked at other firms we that might serve as potential models. We connect, we decided to go through a planning process and we brought in a coach who helped us with that. And out of that process, it was a one day session. We refined our mission and the value that we offer and we became and got a lot clearer about who we wanted to serve. And we took that information, Melissa and used it to build to, to take us through a rebranding process that we're going to wrap up this winter. We modified our website. We added a blog because we had a lot of expertise that we in the nonprofit communications world that we wanted to share with others. And we also wanted to be more visible and, and help others too. And we also build a a marketing plan that we spent this the fall and winter implementing.
Melissa Anzman (10:42): That's great, so many different facets to it. You have a very collaborative work environment, and I only know that cause I've, I've worked with you guys and seeing you interact. And I really think that's, you know, at the core of what you guys are and who you stand for really on your team, everybody participates, which is great. How did different opinions and insights and ideas all come together during this planning process when you were really stretching those muscles of, we need to relaunch, we need to look at it a little bit differently.
Mac Prichard (11:18): It helps to have deadlines because nothing focuses the discussion or clear the mind, like a, like a deadline. And we were pretty good about setting those. Ultimately as the president of the firm, I have to, to make decisions, but I, I have learned that it's it's just so valuable to have the input and involvement of the team and they they've made the product or the company where their health much better than I could have done it if I were just a a sole consultant working a so I think being as an organization to having clear goals and a clear mission really helped the decision making process and help people get to decisions much faster.
Melissa Anzman (12:13): Was, were there any parts or moments I should say of the process that you had a moment of? Oh man, whether it's we're on the wrong path, we're on the right path, but this is going to take so much work or maybe even some fear along the way.
Mac Prichard (12:31): Well, I think one of the biggest challenges was that we had to stop doing a lot of things that we enjoy doing. I had for example, invested a lot of time in community service here in Portland and, and I was on the board of a couple of nonprofits and I stepped back from those and that was hard. But I had to free up the time for the firm and to, to, to serve our customers better and to help attract new business. And, and it has paid off. I know we're going to talk about that later. But that, that was, that was hard because it's always hard to say no.
Melissa Anzman (13:14): Right. Particularly, you know, when the thing you're saying no to is very important to you and, and does kind of go hand in hand with what you're trying to do better at right. Of improving this community, but you need to take a step back in order to have the time to do that. Yeah.
Mac Prichard (13:30): And as we all know, there are only so many hours in the day and ultimately it's all about sending priorities, but that doesn't make it any he's saying that doesn't make it any easier to do it sometimes.
Melissa Anzman (13:44): Absolutely. What in the launch process worked the way that you thought it would, what came together so great that you just knew? This is right.
Mac Prichard (13:56): I was really impressed by the involvement of the team and, and my colleagues at Prichard communications. They're all committed to not only serving our customers, but helping the firm grow and, and they're all committed to the mission you know, using communications to make a better world. And, and that was there was just I, I, based on previous experience, I expected that to happen, but I was impressed by, by even as I saw it on the cap.
Melissa Anzman (14:31): How, like, what was the process now that you went through the meetings and you had this new mission and new alignment with, you know, where you're going, what was that first step that you took? How did you get to where you are today?
Mac Prichard (14:44): Well, having gone through the planning process in the summer and Melissa and I been clear about who we serving and the value we offered it helped us two things happen. I think we were providing good service to our customers and to got even better, but second we started reaching out to potential customers and we've been very pleased by the response we've gotten. So we started this process just before labor day, last year, and in the five months that followed, we signed up six new clients. Yeah. And, and it was it, and so we were, I think we were successful in that because we were clear about who we were, the value we offered and we made freed up the time by stopping to do things that hadn't been, that were nice to have, but didn't took away from time that we could use to provide better customer service and grow the front.
Melissa Anzman (15:50): You mentioned one of my favorite things, and I don't even think, you know, this of having to say no to things we liked doing, because they didn't add necessarily the most value to what you're trying to achieve. Can you talk about that a little? I know you mentioned having to step back from some volunteering and community service that you were doing, but from a business perspective, were there actions in your business that you guys decided to stop doing to free space, to do the things you needed to be doing? You mentioned being able to write a blog, that's obviously a lot of time and effort. So how did you guys find the space to do that? What got left on the table?
Mac Prichard (16:31): Well in addition to stepping off two boards I personally stopped working on one of our internal clients mac's list. And I basically turned that project over to my, Jessica Williams and she's done a fantastic job. And it w and I, she's a very talented person. And so always a little humbling when you step out of a project and you see someone take it to an entirely new level,
Melissa Anzman (17:04): Right. Like they were, they were sitting back there waiting this whole time, and it's almost like, how do you know? And right, okay,
Mac Prichard (17:10): No, she's as, you know, a very talented person. So but there were other internal things I don't want to get too detailed about it, where we had to, w we, we took a hard look at things that we were doing internally and asked ourselves, do we need to keep doing this? Is there a different way of doing it? And sometimes we stopped doing stuff. Sometimes we found more efficient ways of doing it, but the net result was that it freed up more time for us to focus on, on business growth and on projects like the blog which is helping to share our expertise and nonprofit communications with, with others. And it's, it's growing our, the community we serve as a result.
Melissa Anzman (18:01): Yeah. One you know, one great benefit of being able to do that is the things that you do focus on, tend to make a bigger impact. And it sounds like your customers even saw that you, you know, being worried about if we stopped doing this, whether it's internal or an external thing, because it's not getting the biggest bang for the buck for our clients, clients sometimes don't notice, or in fact, notice the opposite of, wow, they're much more accessible, or they have more time to focus on me. And it sounds like that was the result that you got from your clients by sort of stopping some things.
Mac Prichard (18:38): I think that the real result was in, I think we were providing a good level of customer service or there's always room for improvement, but I think the real result that we've seen in the last eight months is we've been able to grow and diversify our client base and the new clients that we've acquired, I think have also been pleased with the service that we provide.
Melissa Anzman (19:02): That's great. Nothing better than, you know, the positive results in getting clients to help reaffirm them. Yeah. Fabulous. So during this process we've talked a lot about what, you know, went well. What was one thing that just did not work out as you would hope they're planned?
Mac Prichard (19:24): You know, again, I, I was surprised how hard it was to say no. And but I think that's a, an old lesson that everybody we learned again and again. I think yeah, I think that would be the main thing.
Melissa Anzman (19:44): So next we usually talk about results achieved. It sounds like we have heard about the results, but did you have anything else that you wanted to add to sort of the maybe longer term impact or where you think this new directions taking Prichard communications?
Mac Prichard (20:00): I think it would stand that all of us in our careers or firms or, or, or, or micro businesses there, it's always helpful to step back and we assess goals and do a check in whether it's every 18 months to three years. And we're all going to go through a process of reinvention. And I certainly done that in my career, and I see it now in my firm, I started out a long time ago with an interest in us, foreign policy and politics. And my first two jobs were in Washington, D C and Boston were picking the rice groups involved in was Latin American policy, but that's where I learned my basic public affairs and public skills. And those have served me well as I've worked in government and politics in the nonprofit world and now running my own firm. So I think one of the reasons I had success and, and a lot of it is just a good portion of the people I've, I've been able to work with. But a big reason is the just stepping back and thinking clearly about my goals and, and finding ways to make sure that what I'm doing is in alignment with that.
Melissa Anzman (21:22): Absolutely. I'd love to hear a little bit more about what you touched on briefly in that your background and, and what made you decide seven years ago. And now it's a little bit of a different launch, but I think it's the evolution of this launch. How, what made you decide to start Prichard communications?
Mac Prichard (21:40): I had the opportunity to do it when a, my first client approached me about working with her. And at first I was reluctant Melissa, because I'd never run my own firm. And then as I reflected on it I had this whole other career working in electoral politics. Both I I've managed two campaigns and worked in different roles in communications, fundraising, and field management for electoral candidates in Massachusetts, in Iowa and and Oregon. And in many ways a political campaign is like a startup. You you come together, there are a handful of people. You've got some early venture capitals and donors, and often the money comes from family or friends with the candidate. And you have to build an organization from scratch and campaign cycles could be six, 12, 18 months. But in the end, there's a launch day it's called election day, and there's a product it's the candidate.
Mac Prichard (22:47): And, you know, by the time the polls close at 8:00 PM, whether it's successful or not and that experience, but I I've been through that experience probably a dozen times. And each time it was like starting a business and sometimes the candidate one sometimes not, but each time I learned new lessons and experience, and I had experiences along the way that really made, gave me the confidence and the skills I needed to, to start my own firm and, and say, yes, when that first candidate or first client approached me and said, would you like to work together? I'd like to go, here's a potential contract. What do you say?
Melissa Anzman (23:30): So amazing. And I love the analogy between an election. I'd never thought of that and an election as a startup, but it makes perfect sense. One thing that I get asked a lot that I'd love to have you share your insight in because you have great insight into it is, you know, two questions. So I'll, I'll ask them both, and then we'll start with the first one, but if somebody wanted to start a rebrand of their business or a refocus of their business, what would you advise them to do? And then the second question is, is I want to go back to sort of that first launch of your business, which we'll talk about in a minute and just say, you know, Lee, what do you look out for when you're ready to transition? So why don't we start with the first question of, of more on track with the redesign? What advice would you give to somebody who's looking to redesign or rebrand or relaunch an iteration of their business? That's earning money in that successful by all sorts of standards on paper
Mac Prichard (24:30): Be clear about who you serve know the value offer and, and understand the problems your customers have and, and how you can solve them. And if you're successful at solving people's problems you'll figure out your business model and the revenue will come and you'll make profit. I think
Melissa Anzman (24:49): Love it easy and honest. Now I'm going back to the second question of, you know, when you did take that leap from going from inhouse and political campaigns to being on your own, what was the best lesson you learned there that you can share with us to somebody else who's maybe inside and not quite thinking they have the information or knowledge to run an actual business, but have had some interactions or firsthand accounts with business like settings.
Mac Prichard (25:19): I think just recognize that it's a marathon and yeah. If and so have a plan accordingly you'll have some highs, you'll have some lows, but if you have a plan and you're clear about what you want to do and, and the value you offer, who you want to serve you will see results, but you've got to sign up for the long haul.
Melissa Anzman (25:43): Mac. I've learned so much from you today. Why don't you tell everybody where they can find you online,
Mac Prichard (25:49): Please visit our, our company website, www.prichardcommunications.com. Let me spell Prichard. P R I C H a R D. There's no T and then communications. So Prichard communications, all one word.com. You can also find me on Twitter at Mac_Prichard, P R I C H a R D or on LinkedIn, under my name Mac Prichard.
Melissa Anzman (26:17): And I'll be sure to have all of your links on the show notes so people can find you easily from the website as well. Great, well, Mac, it's been such a pleasure having you on the show. I always enjoy working with you. And I love speaking to you. I learned something new every time we chat. So I appreciate you coming on. And I know that people learned a lot about the evolution of Prichard communications.
Mac Prichard (26:40): Well, thank you for having Melissa. It's a real pleasure.
Melissa Anzman (26:44): I hope you enjoy today's episode with Mac Prichard. He truly is one of the nicest people I've ever met and so helpful and knowledgeable in so many areas, his rebranding message and the lessons we can learn from it are applicable to anybody out there. If you'd like to get the show notes for this episode, you can go to launchyourself.co/session10. Again, that's launchyourself.co/session10, and I'd really like to encourage all of you to subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes to this podcast and leave us a great review until next time.
Melissa Anzman (27:18): Thanks for listening to the launch yourself podcast. Join the conversation at www.launchyourself.co.
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