What’s behind the success of the world’s top brands? You might be surprised.
Fifth Avenue is often considered the heart of the world. If New York is the center of the business universe, Fifth Avenue is the heart of this bustling hub; home to the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, Rockefeller Center and more. It is frequently ranked the “most expensive street in the world”, and is equally prized for its spectacular shopping as magnificent penthouses. So who better to spill the beans on what’s really behind the success of today’s brand leaders than the CEO of a Fifth Avenue PR firm?
The PR Firm that Drives Fifth Avenue
Enter Richard Lorenzen, CEO of Manhattan based, full service public relations and media firm Fifth Avenue Brands.
Richard and his firm represent some of the fastest growing brands in real estate, media and technology. Considered one of the world’s top entrepreneurs under 35 Richard sits on the Young Entrepreneur Council and on the board of venture capital hub The Greatest Pitch. He was also just featured in a game changing book for the publishing industry which melds digital and print with augmented reality.
However, for someone with such a resume, clientele list, and position, Richard Lorenzen is an incredibly modest individual. In fact, G-Code Magazine only landed this exclusive interview after 6 months of covering stories of Fifth Avenue’s clients, during which he always declined to take any credit or mention in. That alone should speak volumes for those looking for PR help.
However, this isn’t even really about Mr. Lorenzen, or any Fifth Avenue brands. It’s about you. It’s the inside story on what’s working for the fastest growing brands today, and how you can leverage some of the same success principles for growing your own startup or organization.
The 411 on the Media, Brand Tactics & Productivity Apps it Takes to Win Today
What was the driving influence to start a PR & Media company, especially in such a competitive environment?
Richard: The media industry is an incredibly fast-paced environment. Now with social media and the 24/7 news cycle, breaking news moves faster than ever before. The fast pace and the constant innovations in technology make it a really exciting industry to be a part of. There is definitely an adrenaline rush that comes with helping break a new story. Your days are never monotonous. Each day brings new challenges and new events.
How much of a difference can branding and media exposure make today?
Richard: If done well, it can make all the difference, especially for a new company look at the Oprah Effect for example. The primary goal of media exposure should be to position a brand or a personality as the thought leader in its field. You need to become an expert. We live in an era where the public is looking for authenticity and leaders more than ever before.
What are some of the guiding, core principals which have helped Fifth Avenue Brands stay on course and achieve such success?
Richard: At Fifth Avenue Brands, we are very clear on what we believe in, and we do not deviate from our core values. We believe in the value that we are creating for our clients and helping to build stronger businesses. We believe in service above all else. We will never put ourselves ahead of a client. Our core values are integrity/character, service, and constant, never-ending improvement. We do our best to live out those values every day and my entire leadership philosophy is based on those values.
You are quite an accomplished, well recognized young entrepreneur. While it’s becoming easier to get respect as a young entrepreneur, what can help others get taken seriously and get backed, versus just being used by Venture Capital and the system some accuse of milking startups today?
Richard: The most effective way to get respect is to give respect. How you project yourself is crucial. Building your integrity and character, not only as a businessperson, but also as a human, is the most valuable asset you will ever have. Conducting your business with utmost integrity and character as well as humility and kindness (coupled with high competence, of course) must be a guiding principle. You need to build a high level of trust. Some people may not give you back the level of respect you deserve. The only person you can control is yourself, so you cant worry too much about the people who are against you.
Top 3 branding tips for new startups?
Richard: Engage Social media is a great tool for engaging on a personal level with your followers. What we are seeing now more than ever is consumers want to see a personal face on a brand. One of the most powerful social media strategies entrepreneurs can employ to engage with their followers is to take their followers along with them on their day to day journey as an entrepreneur. It makes you real. Posting photos, videos and experiences whether it is at events, during travel, major milestones for the company or even simple day to day activities make your brand much more interesting than just publishing sales copy.
Share your experience Competent experts are in high demand. Becoming a thought leader will put you ahead of the pack in your industry. Writing articles, speaking on panels and visiting networking events is a great way to share your expertise, create value for others and position yourself as the best in your niche.
Know your brand identity You need to know what image you are trying to project to your target market. This image is usually very closely interwoven with your individual personality type. That type of authenticity and honesty is critical in creating brand loyalty. Once you have developed your image, stay true to it at all times.
You are based in one of the most insanely demanding business hubs in the world – how do you keep your sanity, stay focused on your vision, and maximize productivity?
Richard: The most important thing that I do each day is my morning review. This happens around 6:15am every morning (I wake before 5am, 7 days a week a major game-changer in terms of effectiveness).
During my morning review, I begin by reviewing my long and mid-range goals so that I am always focused on the bigger picture and the vision for our firm. I then review my priorities for the day ahead. My day is always planned the night before, so with that plan already in place for my morning review, I then go over what my top priorities are for that day and review what tasks will give me the highest return on my time.
During the day, I stick to those priorities and tasks until they are done and dont allow any other items to distract me or divert my time. Many of the items that are not on the list of high priorities get delegated. Peter Drucker said, Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. Many times you can increase your effectiveness significantly by not doing many things. The key is you have to be able to discern between what you should be doing and what you shouldnt be doing. You need to think about what are the handful of top priorities that create the majority of value for your clients. Many managers spend too much of their day working on tasks that dont actually move the meter. Figure out the top few items that if completed, will truly have an impact on the value you create for your clients, and do those things. Delegate the lower priority items that can be done at least 80% as well by someone else to an assistant. If you cant afford an assistant, hire a virtual assistant on an hourly basis. Raymond Aaron said, If you dont have an assistant, you are one.
Is your phone loaded with productivity apps or do you prefer a more minimalist approach in order to get more done?
Richard: I find that the majority of apps are a distraction from focusing on the highest value priorities on my schedule. However, there are two apps I use frequently: Mention and Touch Goal. Mention is a great app for monitoring press and web mentions for specific names and keywords. Touch Goal is a fantastic app for tracking your progress on daily goals and forming habits. I use it every day. I also use the AP News app for news alerts and monitoring major headlines.
Favorite charity, nonprofit or social enterprise of the moment, and why?
Richard: I support a number of organizations. The cause I am most passionate about is education because so many of the issues that face us related to poverty, social mobility and societys most pressing challenges today can ultimately be traced back to some sort of deficiency in education. Not just education in an academic sense, but also in many of the areas that are not taught often enough in schools such as goal-setting, leadership and self-discipline.
My favorite non-profit organization is Friends of the Children NY. This group is an early intervention program that provides very hands-on, one-on-one mentorship and advocacy services to children who are most at-risk of school failure and juvenile delinquency to break the poverty cycle and help them change their lives. Each childs advocate follows them from kindergarten through high school graduation. Its a very effective, results-oriented program, and was recently chosen as one of Americas 100 top-performing organizations by the Social Impact 100. The team at Friends of the Children is providing invaluable services to the most vulnerable children in our society, often without any recognition. I visited their facility in Harlem and was inspired by the difference they are making.
This is certainly evident in the companies and entrepreneurs which Fifth Avenue Brands and Richard Lorenzen have been helping. Those looking for more tips on media and getting the most out of press releases can find all this and more on Fifth Avenue’s blog