Behind the Headlines With Holly Beverly
Holly Beverly, vice president of Rogers & Cowan, says brands need to move beyond traditional methods of communication to meet the needs of their audience.
In this interview, Holly shares her thoughts on the effect of technology changes on the entertainment industry, the need for new and innovative content and the importance of connecting with your industry’s influencers.
What are you most excited for in your new role as vice president of Rogers & Cowan?
Rogers & Cowan has a tremendous roster of brand and entertainment clients, and I’m especially excited to be leading new business, marketing and social media efforts for the agency’s entertainment and brand teams.
Our clients are increasingly looking for innovative solutions that connect them to their audiences. We specialize in harnessing the power of influencers, talent, content, media, brands and technology to proactively develop the narratives that shape pop culture. We like to say that we’re not just on top of what’s trending and hot right now, but actually creating it.
You’ve worked for several large entertainment corporations such as Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox. What is it like to now move to an agency?
I really like both the corporate and agency side, but in some respects, working at an agency is more dynamic in that you are literally working on client accounts and across industries that are enormously diverse – retail, tech, gaming, real estate, foundations and entertainment.
On the talent side, we have everything, including emerging social media talent, Hollywood and the music industry’s A-listers, Olympic athletes, NASCAR drivers and world class soccer talent.
How do you approach public relations for entertainment brands versus other types of brands?
At the end of the day, we create relevance for our clients whether they are entertainment brands or other types of brands. We have a saying around the agency: We make celebrities brands and brands celebrities.
What are the biggest challenges facing entertainment brands today?
Technology has changed the business model. Consumers have so many choices for entertainment, and consumption patterns are changing.
Television series are a great example of this – now people are binge watching entire seasons. Fewer consumers are watching live television or buying DVDs, and the playing field is opening up with Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and Hulu.
How can they overcome those challenges?
Content is ubiquitous these days, and entertainment brands have to be everywhere too. Many are proactively forming alliances outside of the traditional Hollywood model.
DreamWorks Animation is launching several new series with Netflix, and HBO is launching a children’s programming and a kids section in its mobile app.
So whether it’s building a social presence for our client Topps, positioning will.i.am as a business and technology leader or assisting Brie Larson in her leap to the A-list and Oscar win for “Room,” we make sure our clients remain relevant and in popular culture no matter how technology changes.
How has public relations changed in recent years?
There is enormous change in our industry. Everything is much more data- and insights-driven, and the definition of influence is changing.
Consumers are engaged with content in exciting ways, and it’s a two-way dialogue with brands. Consumers are both influenced by brands and influencers of brands, impacting brand awareness and pop culture.
What are communication professionals doing differently today?
As the media landscape continues to change and video and multimedia formats play a bigger role, our teams are thinking and executing programs that go beyond traditional communications to content creation that’s engaging, shareable and searchable.
What are they doing the same?
A lot of the block and tackling of public relations is the same. Our agency proactively works to get its clients in the news and has long-standing relationships with the media. We use our powerful connections in combination with influencers and social platforms to maximize our clients’ coverage.
What has been the proudest moment of your career?
I don’t think I have one proudest moment. I’ve had the good fortune of working with extremely talented people who are generous with their knowledge and experience. We are extremely collaborative at Rogers & Cowan, and I am proudest of the work we collectively produce as a team.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in public relations?
I would recommend taking broadcast, oral communications and general newswriting classes in college, writing for your college newspaper, having a position on your PRSSA council and getting a summer internship at one of the major PR firms.
Internships give a solid foundation for quality research, pitching skills and writing. Also, networking. In general, I think people are much more apt to hire someone they know versus a complete unknown.
Rapid Fire Round
1. My hobbies outside of work include…trail running, spending time with my kids and friends and watching all the great content we have to choose from these days!
2. If I could have lunch with anyone, it would be…friends and relatives I don’t get to spend enough time with.
3. My guiltiest pleasure is…going to the spa.
4. I always thought I’d be…in marketing. My dad owned a public relations agency.
5. My favorite social media platform is…Instagram (especially Rogers & Cowan’s!).
6. One thing most people don’t know about me is…I grew up in the South.
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