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Kevin Dinino is Founder and CEO of KCD PR, overseeing all client accounts and handling strategy and media relations for the firm’s financial services clients. Kevin has over 12 years of experience in public relations and communications on both the client and agency side of the business. His work has supported clients in the financial services, technology and consumer products industries. Throughout his career, Kevin has successfully developed relationships and secured coverage in major media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA TODAY, BusinessWeek and CNBC.
KCD Public Relations Inc. (KCD PR) specializes in working with financial services companies seeking to grow their business via an integrated mix of public relations, marketing and social media campaigns.
MO: You started KCD at the height of the recession in 2009. What inspired you to take the increased risk of opening your own company during an economic slump?
Kevin: After a long enough career in the “corporate world”, I felt I had enough of a network and ambition to build a company from the ground up that focused on supporting financial services firms. For years, specific people and firms had asked for public relations and marketing support that required in-depth idea generation and customization, traits that were lacking in the marketplace. I felt like there was a need, even in the economic slump of 2009 and KCD PR could be a niche player in the marketplace.
MO: Why did you choose to work with the niche market of financial service companies? Do you think they are an underserved sector?
Kevin: As I mentioned, they are an underserved sector and need customization. They are a very conflicted sector in that much of the advice these companies receive related to marketing or PR is being pushed to them from product manufacturers or larger banks/brokerages. Based on my career path and experiences, it was apparent that financial services firms often need expert support on marketing and public relations initiatives. Being able to offer programs that are tailored to their needs can be a huge value. A company can outsource a function to a team of experts vs. making a new hire and training them. That can be costly. KCD PR works with different sectors within the financial services world as well, from financial advisors to asset management firms to community banks. That diversity of knowledge can often be a huge asset to a client.
MO: Are there any trends in PR, marketing or finance that we should be paying attention to or taking advantage of?
Kevin: The trend of integration within the marketing mix continues to evolve. We dubbed it “PR 3.0”, the culmination of PR, marketing and social media and how one cannot feed off of the other. Public relations continues to be a deciding factor in terms of enhancing credibility and using the web and social media to distribute your message is becoming even more important. I tell our clients that your website is your new business card. That means staying current and fresh and marketing your successes. On a lighter note, it will be interesting to see how Facebook evolves post IPO to engage more businesses, particularly in financial services.
MO: What was the transition process of being the vice president of LPL Financial, the largest independent brokerage firm in the nation to founding your own business from scratch?
Kevin: It’s a large transition in that the little things you relied on in the past those employers handled are now your responsibility. Everything from HR to payroll, to a business and marketing plan, I had to really push myself and use my network to help review ideas. It took me about 3-6 months to lay the framework for KCD PR. The decision itself has been a great one and it’s a great experience to be able to personally be able to control the outcome of your business. Another great point is maintaining a great relationship with past employers, including LPL Financial and TD Ameritrade and leveraging that network into future projects. It’s amazing how many “old friends” I’ve become reacquainted with that have moved to new positions with new companies. People like to partner with companies they have experience with working together and trust.
MO: How have you managed to triple the size of your firm during a recession in less than 4 years?
Kevin: I feel that KCD PR has managed to build a nice niche on the West Coast to support financial services firms and meet a huge need in the marketplace. Many financial PR firms are located in the big markets on the East Coast and their cost structure is significantly higher than ours, thus their fees price out many of our clientele that are small businesses. We’ve added a few new employees in 2011 and that has allowed us to market our successes with clients. That has generated a good chunk of interest in our services as well as adding a social media package called “Social Media NOW!” We create all the key social media pages for a company/business, add new content and their vision and then create enough status updates to get started. The added value is that we actually spend the time to train people how to use these social media sites so they can manage on their own. Social Media NOW has been a huge hit with accountants, realtors, lawyers, financial advisors and more.
MO: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of so far?
Kevin: This March will mark KCD PR’s three year anniversary. That will be a proud day for the firm, started from a home-based office to a fully functioning PR agency with 5 employees. The feedback from clients also makes me proud when they can give you specific examples and stories of how your work has helped them grow their business.
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