As BAM’s founder, Beck splits her time between San Diego, San Francisco and New York in pursuit of talent and hot companies that are seeking PR superheroes for help growing both mindshare and market share. A born and raised San Diegan, Beck graduated from UCLA in two years, going on to become the University of Pittsburgh’s youngest MBA graduate at 21. Beck started BAM Communications while working as a news anchor in San Diego. After winning an Emmy in 2011 for her TV work, she focused entirely on her entrepreneurial interests, growing BAM while starting Bite. Bite became San Diego’s top-rated and largest food tour company in the country. Beck sold Bite in 2016
How did you get into the industry?:
I started in television, had my own show which I hosted on the CW network, and then got exposed to public relations via a PR veteran who was helping me produce one season. I worked in the PR office of that veteran for a few months working on one show, and via sheer osmosis, I learned a lot about public relations. And then I thought, “I could do this. This is storytelling, and I already love that.” That’s how BAM started, and I created the logo 10 years ago in the laundry room of my mom’s house on our old iMac desktop computer.
Emerging industry trends?:
People bemoan that media is shrinking, but that’s incorrect. “Traditional” media such as newspapers that make their money from advertisers are certainly being threatened and shrinking, but media itself is just rapidly evolving, and that is the most significant movement in the industry. This is why a publicist who can evolve with the times will never be out of a job. Just a few years ago, no one would have thought podcasts would be a multi-million dollar ad industry or that a daily email blast with curated news (TheSkimm) would raise nearly $30 million in venture capital. Ultimately, in this ever-evolving media landscape, it is crucial for people to learn how to identify the emerging trends, and how use them to the advantage of you and your clients.
Industry opportunities and challenges?:
Historically, the hardest part of public relations has been measuring its impact. We simply don’t know what the coffers of the consumer mind hold in terms of motivating a purchase or changing a perception. However, a lot of reporting tools have become massively more sophisticated, and this helps publicists at least aggregate and compare data to competitors.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:
Storytelling is done in many different mediums, and I love to study various forms beyond public relations. I’ve attended The Sundance Film Festival six years now, and that’s where I get a huge dose of creativity. The filmmakers are often in the audience and available for a Q&A right after a showing, so I get to ask them how and why they came up with the ways in which to tell their films’ stories. Being able to observe and inquire about the different methods and creations of other raconteurs serves as great inspiration, and allows me to bring something unique to my own business.
What's next for the Business in the near future?:
This year, we have an aggressive content campaign that’s being produced by a renowned fashion and lifestyle photographer. The 60+ pieces of original content for our owned platforms will showcase venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in intimate and real ways which currently just isn’t done often in the tech space. Few, if any,agencies ever attempt to be known as a media outlet themselves, and this is exciting to me.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business? Greatest Accomplishment?:
A lot of our best decisions have come in the form of people, and that’s something to always remember in business: people are what make ANY business happen. Every grand ambition I’ve wanted to happen at BAM has needed superb people. Two years ago, for example, we didn’t have a footprint in New York City, but I knew we had to be there in order to truly break into the 2nd biggest tech market. Now we have more than 10 people and counting in New York City, and that’s because I took a bet on Gabie Kur, our tremendous GM and now partner at BAM. If you surround yourself with people who exude talent, passion, and dedication, you’ll be one step closer to success.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?):
One of the hardest moments was when I decided we would explicitly focus on one type of client: tech-powered startups that are making an impact on the world. For more than a year, we had to turn down business that just didn’t fit our ideal client profile, and it hurts in the short term to deny revenue to the business. Over time, however, things have become easier because this focus has allowed us to target our ideal client precisely, and we have.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?:
Our favorite client testimonials come in the form of gratitude for what our work did for our clients’ businesses or even lives. When great press gets new investors or customers for our clients, we’re thrilled. Our clients are tech focused startups that are taking often big swings at marketplaces and industries that can be massively changed for the better. If we help our clients make that change faster, then that’s a win for us.
How do you motivate others?:
The first thing to accomplish in motivating others is to know and understand what motivates each person. People are complex and distinct, and you should cater your strategy accordingly, based on each individual. A lot of managers think of motivation like the role of a famous chef: they’ll just serve the same dish to every person who sits at the table and expect consistent response, such as praise. Instead, I ask people what motivates them, what gets them excited, and what they want out of their time here at BAM. Once I know that, then I can build a unique approach, much like an architect who creates a house based on what a client wants.
Career advice to those in your industry?:
No one gets ahead by sitting in the back of the room in silence. If you want to catapult your career, do more than “show up.” Stand up, jump up, and rise up to opportunities, whether offered to you or created by you.