Exclusive Interview with Nicole Rodrigues, CEO of NRPR Group

Nicole Rodrigues

Nicole Rodrigues has been recognized as a leader in the industry, recently being named one of PR News’ Top 50 Game Changers in Public Relations, as well as Bulldog Reporter’s 2017 Gold Public Relations Professional of the Year, two honors that solidify my place as one of the leading PR professionals of my time. Additionally, she has been recognized by the Stevie Awards as a top female executive in the public relations industry.

She is also known as a published author and has taken my passion for public relations to new heights by writing a book about her very own journey. This is not the end for her! So she also created PRfect Pitch, a PR-focused podcast geared toward helping PR, marketing and media professionals step up their game by incorporating best practices and developing better relationships.

Nicole Rodrigues name is also popular as a contributor to Forbes, Working Mother Magazine, Adweek, PR News, and The HYPE Magazine, among others and had also been a guest on Women Entrepreneurs Radio, Today in Marketing, and Business Rockstars Radio as an expert in publicity and social media marketing.

  • What’s the name of your business and what does it do?

The name of my company is NRPR Group. The company prides itself on being the perfect example of a forward-thinking Public Relations firm of the future. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, with roots in Silicon Valley and offices across the US, NRPR has a powerful global network, we help companies in the US and abroad break into the US market with strategic messaging, thoughtful storyline building, and we combine it with thought leadership, speaking and awards programs as well as digital marketing and social media channel activation to wrap everything into a publicity machine that doesn’t stop. We’re an award-winning agency made up of passionate professionals whose integrity, creativity, and talent benefit clients of all sizes and stages. From start-ups to influencers and Fortune 500 companies within consumer tech, fintech, enterprise, mobile, digital entertainment, lifestyle, sports, and consumer products industries, NRPR exists to serve the game changers and disruptors around the world who are passionate about their respective missions.

  • What motivated you to start your own PR agency?

My journey toward founding NRPR Group began back when I was in college. My  journalism professor suggested I enroll in public relations courses. When I did, I realized right away that public relations and marketing was the perfect career choice for me.  I knew back then that I wanted to own my own agency one day, but did not want to move forward with that goal until I felt I had all the necessary skills and experience to have a successful agency. After 14 years of honing my skills, working both in-house and at PR agencies, I knew I was ready to start my own agency.

  • Which industry/type of businesses do you cater to?

From startups to Fortune 500 companies within consumer tech, fintech, healthtech, enterprise, mobile, digital entertainment, lifestyle, sports, and consumer products industries, NRPR services the best-of-the-best clients with a very high-touch, results-oriented approach that positively impacts our clients’ bottom lines. The agency works closely with CEOs, CMOs, and other C and VP-level executives to uncover the passion, vision, and differentiators within any given company. We communicate those stories to relevant key audiences to build visibility for executives, products, and the organization.  The NRPR team educates clients on how public relations works and what it can and cannot do. We are different from any other agency you’ve worked with – in a really good way! NRPR Group specializes in helping businesses of all sizes reach their business goals with tailored plans that map back to results.

  • How do you select the right strategy for a particular business?

I develop the right strategy by finding out the goals of the company – first. In order to get to the finish line, you need a clear picture of how to get there. You need to know the goals before finding a strategy, so you know that everything you do is working toward the goals of the business. I also find out where a business is in terms of its share of voice in the market, how well the media knows them and how well they use communication tools, including social media. We assess particular businesses based on that, so when building a strategy, we take all this into account. It’s also important to set realistic expectations too, so we can build a strategic plan that actually works. What plan works for one business, won’t always work for the next.

  • What makes you stand apart from other agencies?

NRPR Group is well-known for being an agency of the future, incorporating messaging, strategic use of digital tools, and creating forward-thinking strategies that map back to a business’ goals. We develop close client partnerships, and are well known for exceptional service. We concentrate our efforts on creating relationships and building friendships with media that result in wins for the client and media. To facilitate relationship building with media professionals, we set a “No Blast” policy for pitching and outreach to media outlets. Since the day NRPR Group launched, every email pitch has been tailored with a personal touch and reviewed by an in-house editor. By taking this extra step, it shows the media their time is respected, and we genuinely care about working with them on stories that make sense, rather than sending the same email to everyone. We aim for feature coverage not merely press release reposts. I am a huge advocate of proactive pitching for clients. I believe no client should wait for a press release announcement to gain media attention and my team and I create opportunities for potential coverage. As a result, in the entire duration of NRPR Group’s history, there has never been a month where a client has not received coverage and this is what sets us apart from other agencies.

  • How do you ensure quality and accountability within the agency team?

I really do believe that senior management, especially seniors in PR, should never stop learning and never stop teaching their juniors. It’s the senior’s role to help them through this and guide and train them to progress faster than juniors at other agencies. I stand by strong mentorship, which means the leaders shouldn’t stop learning. I also believe it’s important to practice what you preach. That’s why I’m getting my MBA at UCLA right now, so I can help my clients and co-workers more by strengthening my PR and strategic marketing strategy-building skills. Additionally, We also ensure everything in our agency goes through an approval process, so there is a second set of eyes on everything, especially pitches, before they go out.

  • In your opinion, what is the one thing a PR agency needs to have in order to be successful?

Create a solid infrastructure if you want to have a successful agency. In PR, there are so many moving parts that are unpredictable. If you’re constantly working in chaos with no structure, it’s harder to get past the chaos. You never feel a sense of control, which burns people out which in turn means you’ll hire and rehire. I would say infrastructure is how NRPR Group has been successful in a short amount of time. The best practices we follow help make everything else more manageable. I teach everyone from day one, so they’ll know what it’s like to not work in chaos and know how to manage their work and time, and that’s important.

  • Tell us about your biggest success in the past 6 months.

Keeping the company alive without layoffs during the pandemic is our biggest success to date. To me, that’s a proof point that our foundation is strong and that people believe in us. Not only this, but that we hire correctly. Being able to stay alive in a pandemic and attract new customers is a big accomplishment for me and seeing the success that’s been coming through since the pandemic started really shows that this hard work pays off. We’re growing at a healthy pace and that’s what’s important.

  • Do you plan on expanding your services in the near future?

NRPR Group will continue to work to stay ahead of the curve and find the best ways to serve clients while maintaining employee satisfaction. We are here to help clients meet their business goals. In 2020, NRPR Group opened its newest division, NRPR Productions, which will increase the agency’s capabilities to include a full-service production company, specializing in branded content, commercials, corporate videos, and YouTube series. In 2019, NRPR launched our new Beverly Hills Boss brand, which encompasses the first of many books, a YouTube channel, website, social engagement events, a social community and more. In the next year, we will continue to work with clients to extend their visibility and bring their stories to life.

Personally, I am beginning work on my second book and am working toward an MBA at UCLA as I mentioned before, which I will complete in 2022. Inside the classroom and beyond, I will continue to build my skills so that I will be best positioned as a leader.

  • What do you think is the future of the PR industry?

More hybrids. What I mean by this is that more people will understand the core or PR, which is communication, and communication to the media. Communication, while understanding digital marketing and media, will be expected to do well in this industry in the near future. People are already confused about what a PR person does. People think PR is all about social media, so if you’re a PR person with no social media experience, people won’t like that. Having an understanding about this and knowing what’s needed is what I’ve carried over to my company. We can make a solid social media suggestion to help with communication. If you’re a PR person, this is what you should know.