Check out the front page of today’s Palm Beach Post Local Business section “D” for the front page story on The Buzz Agency, “Seven years on, PR firm building plenty of Buzz.” Great story and an inspiration on how to get a start in the business.
Monday Meeting: Elizabeth Kelley Grace of The Buzz Agency
By Antonio Fins – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 11:09 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, 2016 | Posted: 12:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The Buzz Agency in Delray Beach started with seven years ago with $500 and a dream, says co-founder Elizabeth Kelley Grace.
It now has 10 employees, and after surpassing 20 percent year-over-year growth, the social media and community relations firm is looking to grow 35 percent this year and next.
Just this month, it added a public relations firm by buying Tradewinds Media Partners in Palm Beach.
Name: Elizabeth Kelley Grace
Where you live now: Boca Raton since 1993
About your company: My business partner, Julie Mullen, and I started our company, The Buzz Agency, with $500 and a dream in 2009. I could not think of a better business partner for this journey than Julie. We truly balance each other out and we trust each other completely. We are both single moms with a lot of responsibility so we’re laser-focused on being successful. We launched The Buzz Agency in the dead of summer during the height of the recession, and we got a number of clients right off the bat. We worked 14- to 16-hour days for that first year. In order to keep overhead low, we worked from our houses with an executive suite that we used for meetings. After several months, we brought in other PR pros on a 1099 basis to build our team and capabilities. With the acquisition of Tradewinds Media Partners and the hiring of PR veteran Enid Atwater, we now have two offices: one in Delray Beach and one in Palm Beach.
How your organization has changed: Investing in a strong team of full-time, salaried employees with benefits was a game changer for us. Also, back in 2009, social media was not yet a large factor in a comprehensive marketing program and many clients were skeptical about the benefits. Now, developing social media strategies and implementing effective campaigns represents about half of our business. We believe it is a critical element to any successful communications program.
First paying job and what you learned from it: I was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa and my parents instilled a strong work ethic in me. I’ve worked for as long as I can remember starting at about age 12 by babysitting and then at 15, I started working in restaurants. These jobs taught me punctuality and responsibility, and the restaurant industry, in particular, gave me thick skin.
First break in the business:My first job after graduating from the University of Iowa was at a small PR agency in Washington, D.C. owned by the wife of a congressman. It was very fast-paced and baptism by fire. I was hooked! From there, I went to Edelman, the largest PR agency in the world, and learned not only excellent PR skills but paid close attention to the management side of the business.
Best business book you’ve read: “Steve Jobs.” He started his business in his garage, and we started ours in a spare room in the house.
What you tell young people about your business: It is not glamorous, and it’s no place for a prima donna. Our job is to help our clients make money whether it’s heads in beds, customers in restaurant chairs, clothes purchased, or tickets sold. Beautiful campaigns are simply a means to an end and our clients need to see an ROI. To succeed in this business, one needs to write well, be creative, adaptable, energetic and a good multi-tasker with a great attitude.
What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County?Continued growth. The cranes seen from Boca Raton to West Palm to Jupiter are certainly indicative of the county’s exciting future.
Where we can find you when you are not at the office: I’m a social butterfly and love to be out with friends at the many amazing restaurants around South Florida. On the other side of the coin, I also spend a lot of mornings before work at the gym to work off those meals! I enjoy spending time with my kids, now ages 21 and 18, my parents who live in Boca, and my sister and her family who are in Delray.
Favorite smartphone app: Starbucks. By pre-ordering and paying, I don’t have to wait in line for my morning fix.
What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? A great attitude, strong writing skills, creativity, tenacity, and the ability to think on one’s feet.