September 9, 2020
Learn about your host Jason Mudd and his more than 20 years of PR experience. Jason is the managing partner of Axia Public Relations. He is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most-admired brands.
Jason Mudd, APR is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands. Since 1994, he's worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia Public Relations in July 2002.
Learn about your On Top of PR host Jason Mudd and his experience in the PR industry.
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Five things you’ll learn from this episode:
Who is this podcast for?
What is public relations?
How can a PR agency help your company?
Why should you get involved with your company culture?
How will On Top of PR benefit your career?
“Everything we do, we want it to be a team effort.” -@jasonmudd9
“Great clients get great work.” - @jasonmudd9
“Every company has a culture whether or not you’re creating and navigating it.” -@jasonmudd9
“Culture is more than just core values on a wall. Culture is the way the company is led and operated.” -@jasonmudd9
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- Welcome to On Top of PR where we share how to use the power of PR to build a strong brand and great reputation for your company. Here's your host, Jason Mudd.
- Welcome to the show everyone. This is Jason Mudd with Axia Public Relations, and I have my friend and colleague with me today, Suzanne Lynn. Suzanne and I are having a conversation about Public Relations. Welcome to the show Suzanne.
- Thank you Jason. I'm so glad to be part of it. When you said that we could kind of set the foundation of what Axia is about, I was all over it because you have some big players that you've worked with and to be able to share that messaging with other PR experts and you're thinking about American Airlines, right? Budweiser, I think Grad Dave and Buster is on your list and H&R Block, I mean, we could go through: Pizza Hut, Verizon... this is an impressive resume and they each have their own story about how you did messaging and helped them with PR stuff.
- Well, thanks Suzanne. Yeah, for sure. I think I've had the great opportunity to work with a lot of strong brands and brands that are household names, but I've also had the privilege of working with companies that most people don't know because they're big players in their niche space or they're heavily involved in industries that you and I don't spend a lot of time in. And I'll tell you, it's always interesting to work with great companies and great clients and I really feel blessed at our agency that we have the opportunity to work with so many great companies.
- So are you working with only companies that are very well established and have already made their way and their brand known pretty well in the United States?
- No, actually they could be a rising company, or a growing company who will soon be going national. But really for us, our niche is helping clients who are doing business in multiple geographic markets, whether that be that they're doing business across the Midwest or on each coast, but just really looking for companies who are doing business in multiple geographic markets, some of our clients are all over in one large state, like Florida, or Texas, or California, or the lower Midwest for example, and other ones are doing business coast to coast and even some of our clients are global brands as the ones you mentioned earlier.
- Jason, I think there might be a little bit of confusion for the general public as to what a PR company does, cause I think you can get a real gray area into marketing and advertising. Can you speak on that?
- I've had many companies come to me over the years and say... especially when we're dealing with somebody in operations or in sales even, they'll say, look, "I'm not really sure what PR is, but I know it's what we need right now."
- And so I think-
- That's often-
- A really interesting way of looking at PR. I define PR as problem solving and communicating about it or solving problems through communications, but there's so many kinds of key words and ways to describe PR. And it's very broad, I mean, PR could be anything from lobbying, and putting on fundraisers, and putting on events and golf tournaments, that's not the type of PR we practice. Our expertise is really in news, social and web. So helping our clients get on the news, helping our clients manage their social media and helping our clients manage their website and their web content and using that content to attract traffic and leads and referrals to their website. So that's really the space that we tend to play in, but Public Relations can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but again, for us we like to look at it as really solving problems through communications. And those problems might be that a brand is obscure or unknown in the marketplace or there's confusion or misunderstanding between who they are and what they do. And so we're really looking to help companies use PR as a way to build a strong brand and a great reputation in their community.
- With so many industries, are there any that you focus on like maybe construction?
- We do have four areas we typically focus in and those would be with construction companies, as you mentioned, professional services companies, consumer services, and what we also call home services. And then we also specialize in companies who are franchising and offering franchise opportunities. But that said, we have clients that don't quite fit into those buckets. And I would say what's very fascinating to me is how we can identify and solve communications, issues and challenges for a client who might be say, Suzanne in healthcare, who is dealing with an issue that eventually makes its way into our other clients who are in retail or in manufacturing, who haven't had to deal with this issue, but because we're an agency and cause we're advising companies in multiple geographic markets and in multiple industries, we actually come to the table to offer our clients the value of, "Oh, we've already dealt with this for another client who's in another industry whose industry regulations are ahead of yours in this area." And that has proved to be extremely valuable to our clients, to where we can say, "Yeah, we tackled this already, we dealt with it already." A perfect example of this would be around 2004, which seems like forever ago, we were helping Blue Cross and Blue Shield begin to communicate and deploy topics related to HIPAA and helping with patient privacy and medical records, et cetera. And eventually that starts making its way into other industries where now we hear a lot of talk about privacy, we hear a lot of talk about, protecting cyber security and protecting people's personal files and data. And so with our experience with those types of compliance and regulation, we're already pretty familiar with it in events of it really impacting more industries. And so we've been able to really kind of guide our clients through issues before they even see them or advise them that something's coming around the corner cause we're seeing it in other industries. And I think that's very valuable to them.
- You're listening to On Top of PR with your host, Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted advisor to some of America's most admired and fastest growing brands. He is the managing partner at Axia Public Relations; a PR agency that guides news, social and web strategies for national companies. And now back to the show.
- So, Okay I have to ask you, I'm standing here looking at my papers and it's Axia, that's the name of your company, where did that come from?
- Well, the short story is that Axia is the Greek word for value or trusted, and so we like to think of Axia being a valued or trusted partner to our clients. That's where the background of the name comes from, but as we were forming our agency, we were looking for names that represented who we are and what we do and as we looked at our core values and the benefit of what we're offering to clients, that's how we just kind of stumbled upon the word Axia and we liked it. Because this company is a lot more than just Jason Mudd, and I think that's very important for our employees to sense that as a team and for our clients to sense that as well, because I'm not involved on every account, I'm certainly touching every team member in some way, by mentoring them or attending strategy sessions that we have, but we're a team of talented experts and I think it's important for them to feel like they're included, even if their name isn't Axia per se, but we are Axia together as a team and everything we do, we want it to be about a team effort.
- If you had to say what the heart of the mission is, what would you say?
- My personal mission at Axia is really to focus on attracting, developing, retaining, innovating, and leading top PR talents and the clients that come along with that. So I've always believed that great clients get great work and I think that it takes a combination of having the right people in the right seat, the right team, the right clients, and ultimately the right work, and when all three of those come together nicely, it's really to the benefit of the agency, the employees, the shareholders, and more importantly too, the clients. So, if you think of it like a Venn diagram, we're all working together to get to the end result and it's really important to me that I create that strong culture in our organization, otherwise a company without a strong culture, won't last through the tough times and won't be a differentiator and disruptor in the marketplace. Every company has a culture, whether you realize it or not, whether you're creating it and navigating it or not, but it took me a while really to warm up to the idea that culture was important and it wasn't just something that people talked about and it didn't really matter. Now I'm a huge student and a huge advocate of culture, and I'm constantly reading about it, learning about it and desiring to help others work through culture. Culture is more than just core values on a wall. Culture is the way that the company is led, it's the way the company operates and core values are a great guidance for those, as long as they're authentic versus being aspirational, and it's truly something that you live and breathe. So in our weekly team meetings or in our daily standup huddles, we are reviewing our core values, our mission statement, our vision statement. We're calling on people to read it out loud or recite it from memory, and we're calling on people to give examples of how they or their teammates have lived out our core values and our mission and vision throughout the week in their role at the agency.
- Jason podcasting is not really new for you, but you took a break, what happened there?
- Well, Suzanne years ago, a decade or so ago, we launched podcasting pretty early on around 2006, 2007-ish. And we were pretty-
- That was before it was cool to have a podcast- That was really early on, yeah.
- Well, early on we were talking about what people called back then Web 2.0, in fact, colleagues of mine and I were kind of gathering together as early as the year 99 and 2000 really conceptualizing what became known as Web 2.0 and eventually became known as social media. And we were really kind of conceptualizing what the next stage of the internet looked like. And for the most part, we were a lot more correct than we were wrong.
- And I wish I would have taken those predictions a little bit further, but it was really kind of us just hanging out and talking through and kind of conceptualizing what we thought the future of the internet would be. We probably should have created a platform and sold books and speaking engagements on it, but we really didn't know how right we were, which I'm flattered to say, but disappointed that I didn't leverage it. But to that end we've really been explaining to clients for a long time, the power of blogging, the power of podcasting. And so that's incredibly important. And I would say... so when we launched podcasting very early on the only thing that stopped us from continuing it, was candidly when the great recession hit, we had fewer resources and we had to do more with less or get more done with less, and so podcasting kind of just fell by the wayside. And in that interim period, yes we've helped our clients launch and produce podcasts. Yes, we've helped our clients appear on podcasts as a guest and being interviewed and we've done some of that ourselves, but I really had this passion of saying we've got to do more to just get out there and share not only the knowledge, insights, and tips and trends that we're seeing as you mentioned earlier, but more importantly, we just have a great contact list of insiders in the industry that I think would bring a lot of value to our audience and to our fans and followers. And I wanted to open up a platform that enabled us to reach out to those folks and give them our platform or their own platform to really share their story and get the word out there about a lot of the great work that's being done in the industry, whether it's conceptual and innovative, or whether it's real and practical and applicable tips and techniques that a company can borrow or optimize for their own needs. And so I wanna take this Rolodex of great clients that we've worked with, great contacts in the industry and associations, and really put our audience in front of them and them in front of our audience, and let's just see what can happen together. And I think it's an exciting time to do this. It's something that I've devoted time and resources on my team to pull off and I'm excited to see this be very helpful to those who take the time to invest in tuning in.
- Jason this is gonna be great, you've got a lot of unbelievable guests that are coming up, and I'm glad that you came back to podcasting, but I gotta tell you your classic podcasts; they were good, they really rocked, you guys did a great job. I mean, the quality and the information you put out, still evergreen, is still important.
- Yeah. Thank you. Maybe we'll resurrect some of those and put those back out there a little bit for people to consume, but you know, it was fun at the time when we did those. I think it was around... 2007, 2008 when we did it and we were really just taking the content that either we already had and repurposing it for audio, or we were taking the conversations we were having internally and turning them into value driven content that would be helpful to those that are working in the corporate marketing department who either don't have an agency or maybe their agency isn't quite thinking big picture as we are oftentimes, or a way for our clients to really connect with us while they're on the treadmill, while they're walking on the beach, while they're commuting or maybe they're on a road trip or on a plane or waiting at the gate for their next flight. Believe it or not, I've even... sometimes I'll listen to podcasts while I'm swimming laps at the pool and I don't know anybody else who does that.
- No, I've never heard that.
- It's a little intense. but occasionally, I'll put in these waterproof Bluetooth headsets that I have.
- As long as the lifeguards aren't playing their own music, it seems to work pretty well. I found that sometimes the speakers of the lifeguard is playing my podcast while I'm swimming and that's not fun for anybody. So occasionally- I'll have to not do that while I do swim. But there's just something about getting out and from behind the computer and still feeding your mind. I'm always intellectually curious and I think my circle of friends and those that I enjoy doing business with are also very curious individuals who are constantly consuming news and insight and content, and then thinking through that and applying some of it and just kind of observing others while they're at it and eventually putting it to work in the way that works for them.
- That's all for this episode of On Top of PR. Using the power of PR, your company can build awareness, trust and consideration among your ideal audiences. Be sure to visit axiapr.com to check out free resources, including webinars, eBooks, and our PR hack of the week.