A Year Older, A Year Wiser: Trust Relations Celebrates Three Years of Success
It’s hard to believe another year has flown by since I last recapped all that the Trust Relations team has accomplished in its initial years as an agency. Now that we are another year older and wiser, celebrating three years in business—so far—I can confidently say this has been the most rewarding time in my life.
Sure, the stress of running a startup can be a lot to bear at times, but that’s all part of the game when it comes to pursuing any entrepreneurial endeavor. For any founder, there’s risk. Nearly half of all new businesses fail within the first five years. With those odds, you might as well flip a coin to predict whether one company will still be standing half a decade later. But I’m here to tell you, it’s worth it—and I know now we will be one of the startups left standing after the five-year mark.
It takes more drive, grit and more perseverance than I ever knew I had to keep at it and grind through all the highs and lows of running a business. There’s really no way to sugarcoat it. I have true admiration for anyone who has come out the other side, on top. After all, as an agency, we’re still climbing.
For Trust Relations, we still have a ways to go before getting to the point where I can sit back and say rest-assuredly “yes, now I know we’ve made it.” Especially since I have grand ambitions for this agency. To be honest, I don’t think there will ever be a moment where those words will leave my lips, as I have also come to learn that improvement is an infinite process. There’s always more you can do, and there’s always something you can do better.
While some might disagree, I do think it’s important to consistently keep your sights on the next big goal, and to keep adjusting your target on whatever you want to work towards next. In other words, don’t fall by the wayside of complacency and think what you’ve done is “good enough,” because there will always be someone who comes along to challenge your way of doing things —or show you how it can be done better.
It’s why I founded Trust Relations three years ago. I was fed up with the old way of doing things in PR, having worked for some of the biggest names in the business. I knew then, as I still know now, this industry is ripe for disruption and innovation.
There were so many industry standards that seemed backwards to me when I was starting out that I began to question: Is this really the best way to run a PR agency and service clients? For instance, why are so many straight-out-of-college, twenty-somethings with little business or client experience left to lead new accounts, with very little support? If they are brand new to working in the PR industry, they definitely don’t know how to effectively counsel clients. Still, they’re pushed along to the next promotion, all in the name of profitability, and they miss the mentorship that I myself have found to be so essential in my own career. Experience comes with time and acquired knowledge over many years. It’s not something that can be taught in a textbook—or by throwing a new publicist in the deep end to sink or swim.
Also, there is a lot of unsolicited pressure at the bigger PR firms to look and act a certain way in order to fit in. Have you ever noticed how at some agencies, it looks like everyone in the office all showed up at central casting for the same acting role? Hopefully, this has changed in recent years, as more businesses have incorporated DEI programs, but there is still a pervasive and damaging legacy of an industry where, historically, if you didn’t fit the “mold”—whether in appearance or personality, or both—it was made apparent.
As the industry has aged, its own reputation has suffered. With the degradation of media credibility and rising public skepticism of constant advertisements, I believe it’s time for a change. Trust is at the heart of effective PR—it defines a successful relationship between any brand and its audience.
These, among many other things, are examples of where I said “enough is enough” and ultimately decided that if I don’t like how things are done here or there, why not do something about it? I decided to jump ship and pursue a solo PR career as a freelancer but, as my business flourished, I realized I couldn’t do it all on my own.
And so, Trust Relations was born.
As we celebrate three years in the business, I want to reflect on the team’s biggest accomplishments over the last 12 months. For starters, both our revenue and team have doubled in size, with over 30 new hires this year alone. We now have “Trust Builders” spanning every corner of the continental United States, as well as Hawaii. Having always operated as a fully-virtual agency, we’ve been able to tap into talent outside of the major media markets, like San Francisco and New York City, offering a greater range of perspectives and backgrounds.
We’ve also gone international and teamed up with a like-minded integrated marketing agency in Australia, Three Piece Marketing, to expand some of our core services. Without going into too much detail here (don’t worry, there will be more to come soon!) I will say we have some exciting new services to bring to the table, like podcast production, affiliate marketing management, SEO, SEM, PPC, logo and website design, branding, content marketing, email marketing, social media (organic and paid) and influencer relations. We are also officially doing a Trust Analysis at the outset of every campaign to determine how well the brand’s storytelling and storydoing align. There’s more on the horizon—so stay tuned!
Additionally, we’ve been pumping up our client roster with new accounts in a variety of industries. Among those are Xeneta (logistics/supply chain + frieghtech), Paystand (fintech + DeFi), Reflect (meditation/anxiety consumer tech), Renwick Golf (lifestyle, golf athleisure wear) and MunchPak (subscription snack boxes). If you or someone you know is looking for PR help, feel free to reach out! We’re here to help.
I was honored last year to be named the 2021 Public Relations Executive of the Year, as part of the PR and Marketing Excellence award program issued by the Enterprise Business Intelligence Group. It was a moment of affirmation for me, and a testament to the fact that all this hard work over these last few years has paid off.
I’m looking forward to the opportunities, challenges, wins and learnings in the coming year, and the next. It’s been a wild ride so far, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. From the bottom of my heart—and from this phenomenal team of colleagues and friends whom I am proud to say have been the foundation of what Trust Relations has become—I invite you to join the Trust Relations revolution, as we reimagine what PR can be for your brand.
Founder & President