Peter Kelly, Co-Owner/Operator and Integrated Communication Specialist
Jeremiah Sullivan, Co-Owner/Operator and Integrated Communication Specialist
Framework Media Strategies is a unique company in that they serve small businesses, non-profit organizations and entertainment-based clients using the same bank of services. Framework Media Strategies, co-owned by Peter Kelly and Jeremiah Sullivan, specializes in helping their clients understand and capitalize on the benefits of utilizing traditional outreach techniques, including print and broadcast media, along with advancing new media tools like social networks and microblogs to aid their public relations, marketing and promotional initiatives.
Framework Media Strategies believes that there are many ways to tell a story, and they want to make sure their clients are choosing the right avenues in their efforts to raise awareness.
MO: Tell us about both of your backgrounds and how it has led you to creating Framework Media Strategies.
PK: As a young public relations student at Seton Hall University I realized that I was not looking for the same “nine to five” career path that most of my classmates were striving for. I worked for a period of time at the school’s nationally recognized radio station 89.5 FM WSOU, and it was there that my passion for music really took off. I was a part of the station’s promotions department, using my creative thinking and design skills to really push the image of the station forward. After graduating I continued in music as a lead singer of a successful hard-rock band, taking in the knowledge of the industry itself and the inner workings of the business around me along the way. For a period of time I was a freelance graphic designer, working alongside other musicians to provide them creative design for artwork, merchandise, etc., it wasn’t long until I would pair up with Jeremiah and combine our skills to form Framework Media Strategies .
Jeremiah and I were friends throughout our time at Seton Hall, both as members of the radio station at school as well as students studying the Public Relations major. After our undergraduate years had come to a close it was obvious that the job-market was not all rainbows and sunshine; in fact many of our classmates were finding job-hunting to be difficult and quite discouraging. A few casual meetings between usa lead to ideas starting to get bounced around to see just how we could use our skills to create a new opportunity for ourselves. And then, FMS was born.
JS: I think the one thing Pete and I have in common is our desire to push forward, and inherent refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer when it comes to achieving the goals we’ve set out to reach. Surveys conducted in 2009 (the year we both graduated from Seton Hall University) by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that at that time, the recession had been particularly tough on those entering the job market with a college degree. For that year’s graduating class, fewer than one-fifth of graduates had job offers in hand when they finished school. Pete and I were determined to beat the odds because we knew we had the skills it took to be successful professionals…what was lacking was the opportunity.
Since being introduced to the profession of communication, first writing for the high school newspaper and then going on to bigger and better things in college, I’ve gained valuable experience in the areas of public and media relations, as well as the increasing use of social media and other Web 2.0 applications. Often carrying the title of a ‘utility-player’, in college I was fortunate enough to spend time with seven noteworthy organizations, and learn from them, while studying to obtain my degree. These experiences offered the invaluable ability to work alongside seasoned pro’s and understand how to successfully communicate a message in today’s super-crowded marketplace; I found it to be pretty interesting stuff from the get-go. To me the dissemination of media today is fascinating, not only because of the amount of it that is consumed daily, but also the speed by which it continues to change and evolve.
Prior to Framework Media Strategies (FMS), I had the opportunity to assist in a flurry of tasks, including the re-launching of a museum and expo center, event planning assistance for a liberal arts college, broadcast Division I athletics, host a weekly radio show and assist in the writing, taping and editing of television programs. In addition, I served as a journalist for six years, with some of my written work published by outlets such as Major League Baseball and Seton Hall University. After graduation, I became an avid user and researcher of new media, and continued to follow its emergence as an unquestioned trend in my desired profession. Now, with our work at FMS its our goal to use that knowledge to assist clients with their communication needs by dipping into our shared ‘toolbox’ of skills to draft successful outreach initiatives for them.
MO: Many people would view a musician and a small business owner as very different clients with different needs. How do you understand the needs of each of your unique clients?
PK: This question hits home with me, because of my experience in both the realm of the music industry and small business. Though they are two different clients with different needs both can be approached with the same mentality. Musicians, are in fact in my eyes a small business. They have a product which they believe is good enough to sell and make a living off of, which is similar in ways to how a local business views themselves. The main objective both musicians and small businesses look to reach is the ability to raise awareness about themselves and their product.
Understanding a client’s needs comes down to the skill-set behind Framework Media Strategies. We come from a diverse background of professional experiences, which has given us the ability to relate with our clients and develop strategic and effective plans to promote them. Even though the tactics might be a little different to suit the needs of the musician or small business, they are focused on attaining the awareness our client is striving for.
JS: Yes, some people look at the types of clients we work with and think we’re all over the place; our selection may seem odd on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper it’s really not. After analyzing trends and deciding that our services would integrate new and traditional media tactics together, the next logical step for our team was identifying what types of clients would benefit most from our approach. Our research showed that although traditional exposure benefited virtually any type of client, once we began adding new media tools to the mix, our target client became one with an audience that was engaged, and wanted to be engaged, constantly. That changed the game a bit.
Research has shown a need for this new market as it continues to emerge. In a 2010, VistaPrint Small Business survey, 32 percent of small-business owners said that had they more time, and money to devote to it, Web-based development initiatives would become the top priority for their business. In addition, despite the fact that Google quotes 97% of consumers in saying that yes, they are searching for local businesses online, nearly half of all small businesses do not have a website.
For musicians, they too are like a small business owner in that they consistently trying to raise awareness of their brand and its products, and can find huge success by tapping into new media tools.
MO: Why do you believe it is important to blend traditional and new media?
PK: In short, the importance behind combining new media and traditional media is to hit all possible targets of media outreach in one fell swoop. Today the web has become the go-to place to discover new products, search the best local businesses, read the newest news headlines etc.
In this day and age, it is important to have your business a relevant ship afloat in this ocean of new media. The amount of users of new media tools grows everyday as even the youngest of children can tweet, or the oldest can visit their grandchild’s Facebook page. In terms of business, the main point to digest is that more and more consumers are using social media as a window to the world. Why not have your face in that window?
Over time, there has been a shift from a manufacturer-dominated market to a retailer-dominated, consumer-controlled market. To adjust, marketing tactics have evolved from general-focus to data-based. In the wake of that change, social media has become a proven way to reach, engage and cultivate relationships with customers, stakeholders and your other audiences. These new networks have grown so explosively because they’re the closest thing we have to actual face-to-face human contact. In addition, social media has proven to be very useful in gaining additional exposure for many small businesses. So by combining these powerful new tools, with outreach to traditional broadcast and print outlets we are able to hit all our targets, getting the most eyes on our clients.
JS: I’d say this kind of approach is important because it’s not like we’re talking about some far-off technology or concept; this way of communicating, often dubbed as integrated marketing communications, is here. If you haven’t embraced it yet, you’re considered behind the curve. If you have, well them welcome to the thought-leadership, progressive-thinking club. When I say integrated marketing communications, I’m talking about combining and coordinating all of your all communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a company or business into one, seamless effort that maximizes the impact on your consumers, while remaining at a minimal cost. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with traditional or new media tactics on their own; it’s just that today, they work better together. Instead of having some one for marketing, some one for advertising, some one for public relations etc., it’s more cost effective to plan out your approach to communicating your message to your target audiences rather than at them; let’s face it, newspapers aren’t the only way people get their news anymore.
MO: Who would be your ideal client and why?
JS: For me, I think the best type of client we can work with is one that comes to us with a fresh, clean slate, lays out all of the facts and figures on the table for review and says, “Here’s where we are, here’s where we want to be…what do you think?” I like the fact that, if we can offer a prospective client viable services, that we can work together to discuss and map a ‘plan of attack’ for advancing them, their business/product/service and its interests. Right now, we’re open for business to work on projects both short and long term, or to be hired as a firm and be paid by retainer; so when you include our diverse target market of clients…the opportunities are endless. To be ideal to me as a client, you’ve got to come in ready to perhaps accept a bit of change to they way you’ve previously conducted external outreach and offer an extension of trust that yes, if given the appropriate amount of time, these tactics can work.
PK: My ideal client would be just as Jerry described “a clean slate”. It is exciting when a client with solid goals backed by potential knocks on our doors. For example a young aspiring band looking to reach the next step of their professional careers, by getting their image together and develop their overall “package”, is an exciting venture for me. We are able to take a piece of clay, work with it, mold it, and turn it into a solid plan and goal. As for the ideal client I would say a new small business with an exciting product line or idea is looking to create awareness about themselves and they come to us. We have the opportunity to really showcase and promote a client, and watch it grow; that is our reward.
MO: What do you see in the future for Framework Media Strategies?
JS: I know that personally, I have a laundry list of things that I’d like to happen down the road for us…but it all takes time. Over the next couple of years, I do believe that it is feasible to branch out form our home-based offices into a bricks and mortar presence. In addition, I know we’ll be hard at work to improve our external outreach methods further, and add new clients that represent each of our three target audiences. If growth is a something that continues for us, and eventually becomes a trend, I’d love nothing more than to see us be able to add employees and have the Framework Media Strategies name serve as the top of an umbrella that branches out into three separate divisions; one for each of the types of clients we aim to aid.
PK: You really knocked it out of the park on this one. The office space, additional employees, and development of divisions within our company is really targets I wish to reach. We’ve found a solid foundation in working with entertainment-based clients and have begun to branch out into servicing the non-profit and small business markets over the last few months. Phases two and three are coming together and we’re eager to keep traveling the road we’re on to see where it leads.
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