Genevieve J. Douglass of Uptown PR is working behind the scenes helping brands, businesses and events in New Orleans shine.
For the most part, public relations experts are never the stars of the show. They are the ones behind the scenes, quietly and efficiently managing every detail. They make their clients look good, sound good and feel good, and their clients’ successes are their successes.
PR professionals may not be the ones in the spotlight, but they might be the most important members of any brand or business team.
Genevieve J. Douglass of Uptown PR knows how important behind the scenes work is. She’s become a pioneer in her field, turning basic PR and Mmarketing services into a customized and personalized experience that helps local brands and businesses excel.
Douglass, a New Orleans native, returned to the Big Easy in 2010, after years honing her skills working in Birmingham, Alabama. She originally attended Auburn University, but transferred to University of Alabama to pursue a major in Public Relations.
Upon her return to New Orleans, Douglass began her job hunt only to discover that local firms weren’t offering the kind of service that she felt were needed in the city.
“I had moved back to New Orleans and was working remotely for my former firm but wanted to work locally,” she says. “When talking with local firms, I found that not many were doing lifestyle PR and I felt there was a need for that in this market. So I decided to start a boutique agency that focused on lifestyle public relations and marketing that would also incorporate social media. Believe me, it was groundbreaking back then – most agencies were not offering social media management as a client service at the time.”
Starting a firm, even in her own hometown, wasn’t easy. Although she is a native, Douglass said that since she had been away for many years rebuilding professional local relationships required work. Assuring new clients of her expertise, while presenting them with a new firm that didn’t have a local portfolio, proved to be a challenge as well.
Eventually Douglass won over the skeptics and grew an impressive client list that includes notables like Kristin Davis of Sex and the City, Tim Gunn of Project Runway and Chef Emeril Lagasse.
When starting Uptown PR in 2011, Douglass carefully self-funded the business-venture.
“The key was keeping the overhead low to start,” she explains. And she was also firm in wanting the business to exist uptown. (And not just so the company name would make sense.) “Magazine Street was an obvious choice because when you think of commercial uptown, you think Magazine Street.”
Douglass and her team have focused on local companies and brands that are large enough to justify a PR and marketing firm expense, but also align with the firm’s point of view and business philosophy.
“Finding companies that want to invest in their brand is challenging,” she says. “Most local companies don’t want to spend money on rebranding or revamping their website when they desperately need it.”
Since its inception, Uptown PR has worked with local law firms, design firms, clothing brands, restaurants and food and beverage purveyors in the Gulf Coast region.
“Getting to work with new brands keeps our company’s finger on the pulse of the newest New Orleans has to offer,” she says.
As for finding these new brands, Douglass and her team make themselves very visible both online and out on the town.
“We market ourselves online; mainly through social media, and our website has great SEO,” she says. “We also use networking events and are involved in local organizations. Our business is about 50 percent referrals and the other 50 percent find us online.”
So what’s the secret to the firm’s success? Douglass says it’s sticking to what they know.
“We strive to focus on what we do best, and that is why we offer four service areas: Branding, Event/Product Promotions, Social Media & traditional PR/Media Relations. We don’t try to be everything to everybody and I think brands that take that approach will always succeed if they stick to what they do well and are passionate about it.”
To learn more about Uptown PR, visit their website.