15 Jul 2019 Spotlight on Campbell & Company Tech Public Relations
Describe your company and its product.
Campbell & Company Tech Public Relations helps advanced tech and life science companies obtain media coverage and publicity in trade magazine, daily news and financial media in key end-user markets in the U.S. and Canada, and overseas in Europe and Asia.
We also write, edit and proofread news releases, articles, backgrounders and other written materials, such as thought leadership commentaries, technical white papers, case studies and project profiles. We offer a full range of corporate communication and PR agency services, including crisis communications, and have associate suppliers who complete our full complement of marketing communications services.
What year did your company start?
Which city (or cities) are you located?
Vancouver, but our clients have been from all over, including US and European firms.
Describe your company culture in three words.
- Hard working
- Bridge builders
We are the link between extremely busy clients and extremely busy media. Our main job is to obtain media coverage, and we always find a way to get results for our clients.
How do you celebrate company or employee wins?
A celebratory glass of wine or beer (or two) after work. Conveniently, our offices overlook the patio of a craft brewery and restaurant. It’s very inviting, especially in the summer months.
What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
One key pain point for many tech companies is “Why aren’t we getting the sort of media coverage in trade magazines our less-advanced competitors seem to get?” We address and solve that by advocating for the coverage our clients and its products merit. We go above and beyond, acting as “translators” to help tech companies communicate more effectively with editors of trade magazines and daily media, as well as with end-user sales markets. As outside members of the marketing communications team, we bring a fresh, senior-level perspective to the team’s key messages and process of communication.
What is your biggest milestone to date?
For two previous clients, we were able to build a significant industry profile, helping to improve their valuation ahead of their successful acquisition.
What is your biggest challenge?
Helping potential clients to understand that we can obtain non-paid media coverage for them well beyond what they think is possible — and with a value far greater than any paid advertising. Our work is highly cost-effective, and the non-paid media coverage provides powerful leverage for their significant investment in marketing and sales communications activities, e.g., trade shows, advertising, conferences, customer education programs, etc.
What is your motto?
I’ve always been partial to Henry Ford’s “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” We always find a way to get results, and that’s why our company has been successful on behalf of a wide range of clients over the years.
How are you making an impact?
We have tended over time to work with clients in many different segments who are trying to make the world a better place. It’s very fulfilling and always fun.
What is your hope for the future of tech in BC?
I hope BC tech continues to expand and provide many well-paying and personally rewarding jobs close to home, so that our young people can stay in the communities and province they know and love.
Lightning Round with Steve Campbell, President of Campbell & Company
What excites you about your job?
Figuring out creative ways to obtain media coverage for my clients. It never gets old.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Getting established years ago; that takes time and tenacity.
If you can give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would you say?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that’s how you learn. The only thing I regret about any mistakes I’ve made was I wished I’d made them sooner.
What are your pet peeves?
Weak coffee and weak beer. Grammatical errors make the list too; there’s no excuse. Translation: I know the difference between you’re, your and ur!
Words of wisdom to other tech CEOs or founders?
You’ve heard of emotional intelligence. In building your company, always look for people with communications intelligence. The ability to communicate (listen as well as broadcast) will be a key factor in your success, as your growth will require your staff to communicate well on a range of topics to a diverse audience. It all starts with listening. We were given two ears but only one mouth for a reason — isn’t that the saying? Find people who have good listening, speaking and writing skills.
Favourite city you visited?
NYC; I was there in the days right after the 2016 election and it was wild with demonstrations. It also had great museums, sports and theatre. Washington DC, Paris and London jump to mind as well, for a few of the same reasons.
What is your formula for success?
Provide great service to clients and media that both they and their stakeholders can’t help noticing. Overachieve whenever possible. Use polite language — it’s always in style.
Name one book that everyone should read.
So many. For business: In Search of Excellence. The pursuit of excellence is never-ending; you won’t get to perfection — there’s always a higher height — but you should aim high no matter what.
How do you decompress?
I follow politics and several different sports, and am also an avid gym-goer; there’s nothing like a workout to clear out your mind. I play soccer and hoops, and golf as time permits, and hike when the opportunity arises.
Blade Runner 2049 is a good recent film and my current favourite. The more you watch, the more you notice.