What was the scope of their involvement?
Bay to Breakers is the oldest race in the country, so it was a well-established and well-known event with a large staff. Landis Communications' involvement was almost entirely media relations and press conference work. They were very good at getting a lot of hits with local, national, and international media. They also provided training for myself and other spokespeople on how to approach the media and craft our message.
I was so pleased with the work done by Landis Communications for the race that when I changed jobs and became the public relations director of eGreetings.com, I hired them again. I believe that I was Landis Communications' first online e-commerce client. The firm went from being a small startup to an IPO company.
A big part of the audience we were trying to capture there was made up of not only the public but also the venture capital market. The ultimate goal of our public relations was to secure more private funding and become an IPO. We had to be very careful about what we said during that rollout, so the audience was quite different to that of the Bay to Breakers race.
How did you come to work with Landis Communications?
When I first moved to San Francisco, I had a background in marketing and public relations. As soon as I got out there, I heard about Landis Communications' reputation. I had an informational meeting with David Landis [President & CEO, Landis Communications], in order to learn more about what they did. It wasn't really a leap for me to choose them for our Bay to Breakers project.
The e-commerce project was different since we had a dual audience. There were other e-commerce sites that only cared about the venture capital side and extending their message to people in Sand Hill Road and Palo Alto, where all the tech money sat. We took a more consumer-oriented approach because we also wanted to get a strong customer base. Landis Communications would not have won that account if we had taken the traditional path of a high-tech startup PR firm, which they were not at all, at that time. I convinced my company that we should take a more consumer-oriented approach, and hired Landis Communications. I was very pleased with what they did for us, and, soon after we hired them, Match.com and other companies which were similar to us in size and age, all jumped on board with Landis Communications.
How much have you invested with Landis Communications?
Between my engagements with Landis Communications, I estimate spending between $250,000-$300,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
I started working with Landis Communications almost 25 years ago. Even though we're not currently in any contractual relationship, I still call David Landis from time to time for feedback on specific items. I called him a few months ago about a recommendation for a PR firm in Washington DC, which I needed for a legislative issue. He put me in touch with someone I'm also very happy with. Our relationship evolves in different ways.