Tell us about your agency?
An Interview with Matt Kovacs: Blaze is the go-to partner for lifestyle brands hungry for a real piece of the marketshare. Our boutique agency is comprised of veteran practitioners who stay one step ahead of trends and will not rest on the laurels of past successes. We have done it all before, failed, prevailed, and we know the difference. At Blaze, we put strategy back in PR. Our media strategies are meaty, creative and on-point because they’re backed by a thoughtful process that considers the particular world of each brand.
And how did you get into PR?
I had a few PR internships in college with celebrity entertainment firms, and then was hired at a sports marketing PR agency.
What has been your greatest achievement as an agency?
The agency hit its 30-year mark in 2020, which is a lifetime in this industry. We’re excited at the opportunities in front of us and we respect the hard work that has been put into the agency thus far.
What are the 3 most important lessons you have learned in PR?
Never say anything you don’t want to see in print or hear on TV.
Relationships are key, from your teammates to your clients to the media.
“Never mistake activity for achievement.” – John Wooden
A lot of your work involves organizing events for clients… It is unlikely events will happen again this year – how big a blow is this when trying to promote a brand?
We’ve all had to pivot and choose new courses of action for brand launches, from virtual experiences to more detailed and nuanced mailers for media/influencers to gain attention.
What are 3 tips you can give to up and coming lifestyle brands choosing a PR agency?
• Set the right expectations for PR that moves the needle with your particular brand. Don’t just seek “vanity hits” – rather, look for media that speaks directly and compellingly to your target markets.
• Spin doctors are a thing of the past. Your agency can only reveal and create relevancy and storylines around your authentic brand ethos. Reinforce that foundation before bringing in an agency.
• Millennials are not the only audience. There is a misnomer that consumerism cuts out at age 40. It is assumed that new mothers are in their 20s. It is also assumed that tech savviness is reserved for Gen X. However, this kind of antiquated targeting misses out on huge potential market opportunities. The buying power of Gen X and Boomer audiences should not be ignored.
Do you predict influencer marketing to increase or decrease in popularity due to the pandemic?
Increase, but in a different way. I think consumers are not as prone to the “brawn over brains” aspects in how brands appeal to them. Efficacy, transparency and authenticity is king. There is too much on the line with health and wellness these days, and pennies are more pinched.
What is the first thing you do when it comes to building an influencer marketing campaign idea for a lifestyle brand?
Determine the goals and set expectations then look to A/B test the types of influencers that might work best for the brand before kicking the campaign into high gear.
The influencer must be naturally aligned with the brand. We require trial first to ensure the synergy is there and to avoid issues with past touting of competitor brands. Followers see through that quickly.
Lastly, a lot has been publicized lately about LA’s biggest celebrity couple – Meghan and Harry… If you represented them, what advice would you give for them to get some positive PR coverage?
Understand the pillars of the projects they stand behind and unapologetically own them. Celebrate the people they admire and love. They can be all about positivity without attracting a spotlight on their personal life – which is what they are avoiding. Eventually, build some bridges with their family in a way that’s real, while still keeping a distance from the antiquated customs they left behind. Change is being demanded from a lot of institutions right now, and the British monarchy is not above reproach.
If you enjoyed our interview with Matt Kovacs, and want to share your expert industry opinion, get in touch here.