I had the pleasure of interviewing GG Benitez, founder of GG Benitez & Associates Public Relations Inc., who is one of the industry’s leading independent public relations professionals with full-service capabilities. She is renowned for her expertise in delivering buzz-building campaigns that elevate products and services into premier brands. As a seasoned strategist for media placement, branding, personality management, and celebrity/influencer programs, she has built a stellar reputation for helping clients realize their full business potential while supporting their vision and goals. A graduate of UCSD with a degree in Economics (1995), GG enjoyed a highly successful career in outside sales before launching her own brand of trademarked onesies in 2005– which she personally landed in every major media channel and placed directly into the hands of celebrities. While her brand was a flourishing success, GG found she felt a real passion for public relations — and has since continued to develop and manage public relations campaigns for others with the same amount of perseverance, enthusiasm, intuition and intelligence. Having previously been on the corporate, sales and client sides of the business, GG’s well-rounded approach includes personalized attention, sharp communications skills, and a hand-selected team of pr specialists to support her hands-on efforts. She employs both traditional and innovative public relations tactics to command the results that have made her so successful. To date, GG has achieved significant media and celebrity attention for a diverse clientele that spans the technology, children’s, fashion, beauty, and lifestyle industries. She maintains an extraordinary track record of garnering consistent, valuable media impressions on national and local levels in print, broadcast and online outlets. She also possesses the unique ability nurture sincere, solid relationships with many of today’s top influencers.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After a successful career in pharmaceutical sales, I wanted to start my own business. My best friend and I started the mommy-and-me clothing line, Tuni & G, in 2004. We landed it in Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and dozens of boutiques nationwide. While the brand was taking off, I discovered I was really connecting with publicizing of the brand over the manufacturing, sourcing, and designing aspect. With a ton of passion, I secured our products in weekly publications, on The Today Show, and in other monthly publications and national TV outlets, and even seeded the brand with various celebrities. Other brands started to call us asking who our PR firm was. That planted the seed, and eventually drove me to start my own PR career and agency.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
I would say that what stands out most is having been featured on HLN’s “Making it in America.” It not only validated all my hard work, I got to share my story about transitioning from one career to another and pursuing my passion with hundreds of viewers, and hopefully help convince them to take their own leap towards success.
How did you scale your business to profitability? How long did it take? Please share the steps you took.
A couple of years after starting my firm, I had to make the decision to either stay “small” or hire junior publicists and expand, as I was receiving more business than I could take on. I met with a business consultant and we strategized on how to scale the business — having an outside point of view helped me see more clearly. I decided to remain a boutique PR firm, where I manage the client, celebrity, and media relations, and hire/delegate other parts of the business where my hours weren’t best utilized.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I have the pleasure to work with unique brands and phenomenal entrepreneurs. Some of the most exciting brands I represent are founded by female entrepreneurs, who have achieved building multi-million dollar brands, which is rare — NAWBO tallied that “Only 3% of America’s more than 11 million women business owners have annual revenue that exceeds $1M.” Having clients like Sash Bag’s Nichole MacDonald, to Mabel’s Labels, which was founded by 4 women, to Cayla Craft, the self-made “Mommy Millionaire,” it gives me great pride to represent females that are breaking barriers.
Based on your personal experience, what advice would you give to young people considering a career in PR?
I would suggest that young people educate themselves on both traditional and non-tradition PR, identify what types of brands are most exciting to them, and gain experience in a PR firm that has a strong reputation. Most of all, in order to be successful, you have to be passionate about what you are pitching. If you don’t believe in it, you can’t “sell” it to media.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
Anytime I meet someone in business, I automatically find them on LinkedIN, as I find that to be a great “online resume” and way to stay professionally connected. I am also sincerely interested in people’s back-stories, so I network based on a natural desire to really get to know someone, which helps create a lasting rapport.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Cayla Craft’s The Mommy Millionaire Podcast — and not just because she is a client, but because she is a powerhouse and an inspiration.
Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Kindness. You can read more about how my own child is spreading this, here: https://ggbenitezpr.com/blog/2018/05/04/daniella-raises-money-to-build-home-for-tijuana-family/
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. To set the standard! A mentor told me this early on, and I always strive to live up to this.
2. To set realistic expectations before taking on a new client, even if that means you may be possibly losing a potential client. PR is a process and doesn’t happen overnight. The occasional potential client might not agree with me on what realistic expectations are — and some have circled back to me after learning for themselves.
3. To set your business up so that you have some down time, as one can certainly burn out in this business. I take one day a week to decompress, so I feel refreshed after a hectic week.
4. To have an open mind when getting advice from others. I have learned that even though it is my business, an outside perspective is extremely valuable and I should always take the time to consider it.
5. Only take on clients you are passionate about. You simply can’t be enthusiastic or believable trying to pitch something you are not 100% behind.