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Mallory Blair and Bianca Caampued are leading the charge in modernizing PR for the digital age. While they may be small girls, their big personalities, and bold vision has laid the foundation for some serious innovation. From media outreach to experiential activations their clients (which include GE, BB Dakota, TaskRabbit and many more) have reaped the benefits of these two founder's creative zeal and business acumen. Needless to say, we're huge fans of what both Mallory and Bianca have built and how they've managed to keep things fun, fresh and on the cutting-edge since day one. We sat down with the duo at their Brooklyn office to chat more about the future of Small Girls (which includes managing their recently acquired LA-based agency), the role planning plays in their daily operations and their biggest takeaways from working with content creators.
Please introduce yourselves!
Hi. We are Mallory (5'3'') and Bianca (5'0''). We are small girls who run a magical PR land filled with taller people. Mallory is our CEO, overseeing the more boring but fulfilling-because-it's-challenging stuff and Bianca is our Creative Director, overseeing the less boring and fulfilling-because-it's-creative-work stuff.
Prior to Small Girls what were you up to professionally, what role did digital play in your job description and what have been some notable moments throughout your career so far?
Prior to Small Girls, Mallory was graduating from NYU while simultaneously working at a market research agency & hosting a show on MTVu and Paper TV for Paper Magazine. Bianca worked in advertising and promotions at Lucky Magazine, dabbled in the music industry, and then led PR (with a digital focus) at Cure Thrift Shop in the East Village. Digital played a huge role in us starting Small Girls and in how we met, given that beyond the chance encounter on the dance floor at Mallory's 21st birthday party (which Bianca crashed), we ended up ultimately connecting the next day via Tumblr. Then, we found each other on Facebook. After a few messages back and forth, Mallory came into the store Bianca was leading social for to create a Youtube video together. Even making a YouTube video for a brand was less common at the time. Back in 2009, content creation was much newer and secondary to more traditional efforts. The video got maybe a thousand views or so in the first week and we thought, "Hey! We're onto something here!" Around 2AM one night, Mallory sent an email suggesting we start a PR company. Our initial set of capabilities were all on the social, influencer, and experiential side. Reporters started paying attention pretty soon after we launched our first several campaigns so we decided to be proactive about media outreach from then out as well. Probably our favorite project early on was a stunt we did for a prom dress company where we live-blogged our experience of wearing a different prom dress every day for 30 days and then threw an adult prom at the end. Other highlights include our first project with GE where we created robot baristas that 3d printed event attendee faces into the foam of lattes, and more recently acquiring an agency in LA that specializes in influencer campaigns and large scale event production with digital tie-ins.
You've never stuck to the traditional rules of PR and are leaders when it comes to merging content and communications. With this in mind, can you offer any tips for those who may be struggling to create and plan content that is compelling but also establishes their brand story?
It's really a mix of research and living the brand identity as well as sitting in the creative process allowing things to arise and inspire you. We talk a lot about humanizing a brand. We think about the types of things that a brand would post if they were an individual - what their personality is like, their voice, who their friends are, etc. Aesthetics are key, so looking at visual images which can translate to bringing that brand to life can help set the direction, look, and feel. Our favorite thing to do is then putting all of those ideas to paper (or decks) so that other people can see the vision and the action plan in a clear and organized way to sign-off.
With all of Small Girl's exciting new developments and growth, can you give us a sneak peek or preview of what you're planning for the next few months?
Expanding Rent the Runway's retail operation to the west coast, reallocating BB Dakota's marketing dollars away from traditional advertising towards young female artists, relaunching the dating app Hinge, rolling out Electric Objects new digital display for art, and building TaskRabbit's friendsgiving campaign in time for the holidays. We'll probably put out the next issue of the Small Girls Zine by 2017 too.
Being that you work with clients across many categories and now manage a bicoastal team, what role has planning played in your respective roles as the business continues to grow?
Now that we have over 35 team members and as many clients and operate from two coasts, organization is our guiding star. The LA team is another experiential hub for Small Girls, paralleling the work that the creative team does here in NY. While Jaclyn and Bianca manage the LA and NY teams respectively, we're also working to align on processes, learn from each other, and merge the best ideas to present a unified front. On the day-to-day and client work, our strategy documents guide the projects we're working on (deliverables and timelines to work against) and we furnish 30-day plans for our press clients that outline each narrative and story angle we'll be marching against week over week. On top of that, we do weekly calls with all of our clients, weekly internal team meetings, and 1x1s, as well as daily Plan of Actions made by each team member each day. It's important for us to have a sense of the workload team-wide for the upcoming week as well as support one another where needed based on our strengths.
What has been one of the biggest takeaways from working with content creators, bloggers, influencers, and artists, etc. when it comes to effective content creation and strategy?
Brand fit is essential. We're not just looking to bring people on board for social shares, we're looking for people who have a genuine interest in what we're working with. It's collaborative, not a one-way street. We think about the content that makes sense for their outlets, and what would incentivize a blogger, influencer, or artist to want to work with that brand. We work with brands that our team is excited about or would personally use, and we want to work with influencers who feel the same about the client as well. It's so rewarding to see an organic relationship form out of a collaboration, where the influencer naturally becomes an advocate or ambassador because they believe in the brand as much as we do.
You both have fun and distinct personalities that come across on and offline. How have you found your "digital" voice and presence outside of your 9-5 and do you have any tips for those who may be looking to streamline their own feeds?
Oh. Lifehack: plan it out in advance using PLANOLY so you don't have to think about this question ever again. ;) ;) ;)