In continuing with C&A’s leadership summit for the month of August, we were able to have the pleasure of interviewing another “Legacy of Leaders” on August 28th 2013. Mrs. Crystal Brown-Tatum has become a well-known and respected woman in the community and in her industry. Courageous Breast Cancer Survivor, Proud Army Wife, Baylor Mom, National Author, Community Volunteer and PR Firm Owner. We were intrigue to know the answers to a few questions. Below is the blueprint for success. She tells us about her business, preferred method of conducting business and shares her personal accomplishments.
What are the services that your firm offers?
Answer: We are a public relations consulting firm. We manage press relations , fundraise for charities, develop ad campaigns, purchase media spots, ghost write and manage social media accounts among other things.
What advice would you give someone who’s shopping for PR agency? How would they
recognize the frauds?
Answer: I would recommend that they inquire into the number of years the person managing their PR has had specifically in the PR arena and ask what their educational background is as well. A reputable PR agency will have won awards and have an impressive client roster and professional references.
How do you communicate best with your clients? What do you ask of them to make a
Answer: I communicate best with my clients electronically. I am constantly wired in to my email and social media (which is not always a good thing!) but the nature of the business requires it. I am very talkative and tend to talk too much or have lengthy phone conversations with clients so phone calls are kept to a minimum with a clear agenda. I actually have a contract clause that states that the client is to keep an open door communication policy with me so that we can best work together in a timely manner.
How do you manage negative PR- if this is this within your scope of work?
Answer:Crisis communications is one of my favorite aspects of PR. I have managed some high profile crisis communications from churches to major companies hoping to remedy a negative situation that has been brought to light. The first step in crisis management is accountability. Own your mistake and offer the remedy to fix or resolve it.
How do you measure the success of a campaign?
Answer: The success of a campaign is measured by the meeting of the identified goals set forth in the initial project engagement. Did sales go up? Did the web site get more hits? Was the story featured in major publications? Was the dollar amount reached?
What tactics to you employ to accomplish goals?
Answer: Once the public relations strategy is developed, a list of tactics is set forth to reach the goal. In public relations, tactics can include press release dissemination, story pitching, donor relations, constituent communications, stockholder meetings, media campaigns, etc.
When you foresee challenges in a campaign, how do you address them?
Answer: I have a candid conversation with the client and tell them based on our experience or professional opinion, there is a better way to manage a campaign aspect. Both the Agency and the Client have to be flexible to execute a well developed plan.
What branding advice do you give business owners who have multiple
If the products and services are cohesive, branding can encompass the overall company. If the offerings are for different consumers and audiences, they really should develop an individual branding campaign for each product or service. Once you build trust and consumer loyalty, the consumer will be more likely to try another company offering.
Crystal the individual:
It’s no secret that you are a breast cancer survivor and spokesperson; tell me
about your personal involvement with awareness.
Almost on the day I was diagnosed, I became an advocate. Initially, my advocacy was for awareness in women who resembled me as my own internet research was very disappointing. I have dedicated countless hours and monies to breast cancer related charities across the U.S. including Sisters Network Inc., Susan G. Komen and The American Cancer Society. I have been featured in more than a dozen cancer related magazines and served as the keynote speaker at fundraising events in several states. My greatest speaking opportunities are geared towards young women who, like myself at one time, do not have breast cancer in their consciousness.
When was the moment you became aware and at which point did you become determine
to fight, what was your driving motivation?
I waited 8 months to see a doctor and was diagnosed with advanced stage IIIA triple-negative breast cancer. I took accountability for my diagnosis as I waited too long to follow up after I felt my lump. My motivation was to educate other women so they would not face the same fate. No excuses.
During that time, who or what was your support system?
My husband and daughter were my biggest supporters because they were most intimately involved on the day to day recovery and healing. Along the way, I met some amazing women who had battled breast cancer or who were in treatment and they encouraged me when I was feeling low. Even waiting in a hospital lobby, I would meet strangers who offered guidance, prayer, support or hugs. It was amazing. I am grateful that Sisters Network Inc. had survivors in place who were ready to take my phone call and do whatever else I needed to cope with treatment and emotions.
Tell me about your book:
Saltwater Taffy and Red High Heels is a memoir/manual for breast cancer patients and survivors. It details my journey through diagnosis, treatment and recovery from Stage IIIA breast cancer. When I was diagnosed, I could not find a book written by a Black breast cancer survivor so I decided to detail my own journey so that other women who looked like me and who were my age would be inspired and encouraged that they could make it too!
As a mother of a recent graduate who’s now enrolled at Baylor, one of Houston’s
finest Universities; what is your greatest vision for your daughter?
Baylor is one of the most esteemed Universities in Texas. I am honored and very proud that my daughter is a student there because when she was born, I was not only a college student but was a single mom struggling and juggling three jobs to stay afloat. She has earned the privilege to attend a prestigious school on her own accord despite economic and social challenges. She was 13 when I battled cancer.My greatest vision for her is to follow her dreams while leaving a favorable impression on every life she touches. When we die, our legacy is perhaps the greatest thing we will leave behind.
Crystal Brown Tatum, CEO/President
Crystal Clear Communications-An award-winning public relations firm
Putting the PR in RePutation
Follow me on Twitter: msbrowntatum
Like us on facebook at Crystal Clear
End of Interview:
Thank you Mrs. Crystal Brown-Tatum for your time in doing this interview for ventwing.com. We most certainly appreciate it and look forward to your future works. It has been splendid knowing you!