Nicole Rodrigues, founder and CEO of the NRPR Group is an award-winning, trenchant powerhouse globally recognized and admired as a public relations guru and strategic media marketing pro. Headquartered in Beverly Hills with offices across the US, Nicole and her team have executed and developed marketing campaigns and strategies for huge game changers such as MobiTV, the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders, Heal, Nobul, Sugar Shane Mosley, Ross Smith and Gangster Granny, Los Angeles Comic Con and more. As a public relations and narrative architect she has stormed the ramparts of success by meaningfully disrupting the traditional PR industry and evaluating the art of public relations without forgetting the power of building relationships with clients and media along the way.
As a true visionary in the PR industry and recently named the 19th largest PR Agency in Los Angeles, Nicole knows that while change multiplies in a cluster from the moment we are conceived, faith propels us in every direction without ever asking us which wind we wish to ride. Beyond all else we are the magic that we create, the beats of the industry that echo beyond us into the future. Nicole and her team prepare their clients to become authorities in their field or elevate those who are already experts to an even higher level than expected.
Nicole is excited and passionate about each and every client but aside from that she is also a member of the Forbes Agency Council, an invitation only community, and part of the Rolling Stone Culture Council. She earned her MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, is one of the eight hand selected board members to the Organization of American Women in Public Relations and is a former NFL cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders. Nicole has much to be proud of and has fortunately agreed to celebrate her success with us.
Since we last spoke your PR company has grown and expanded tremendously.
That’s right. This year NRPR celebrated 8 years in business, which has not been easy so it’s definitely worth celebrating. So far, in eight and a half years, we were named the number 19th largest PR agency in Los Angeles. And we are the only firm in the top 20 without investors and a parent company. When I saw that list, I was stoked! It really just proves that having a vision is sometimes more important than having a plan. When I started NRPR I didn’t have a business plan. People thought I was crazy and most people said I had to have a business plan. I absolutely didn’t have one. I knew it my mind what I wanted to create, and I knew what was possible. I also knew that if I just put my head down, it was almost as if before I started the company, I had a vision of what it would be based on everything I learned that wasn’t working at other companies that I worked at. I knew in my gut I just had to take the feedback I got over the years from past clients and colleagues and I had to create the agency they all described they needed: an agency that would make them feel like they’re the only one, one that would give them the red-carpet treatment and also help them bridge meaningful relationships with press for long-term results.
So many people get too hung up on what’s the business plan and how do you plan to do this and how do you plan to make money. The easy answer to that is I plan to bring value to the companies. That was it. I set out to help their value stand out. And that’s really what the crux of what a PR company should be doing. We, as agencies, should be helping our clients value and key differentiators really stand out and I really want to help people see that in over eight years I’m providing value and helping companies and innovators showcase the value that they’re bringing to their customers. We have been able to in a very short amount of time being named the 19 largest PR firm in Los Angeles, without having $1 of investment, no partners and no parent company! I am SO proud and I’m glad I did it.
That’s a big deal. And what you do is way more difficult than what many PR companies do. For example, the people who represent those in the entertainment industry have clients that are already famous. They already have a name they are already celebrities. With your clients you have to bring out the celebrity in them.
You have to work with things that the world doesn’t even understand yet.
I think the fun part is really helping that comes out. Some CEOs and founders don’t even realize the opportunities they can seize if they have a solid narrative that media can capture for them. Sometimes they get stuck in their ‘business plan’ and what they’re saying in their funding deck, they lose sight on how to speak about their company like a human. They’re so hyper focused on the business plan that they forget what makes the company and vision so inspiring. They dilute the why and just get into the ‘how we’ll make money’ side. You don’t just start a company just to make money. You’re solving a problem. What is that problem? What makes you as a visionary the right person to solve that problem? It could be magical especially when it works.
I really want to share that with other people who are out there and scared to start because well I don’t have a business plan. Do you have a service? Do you have a vision? Do you have two hands and a brain that can pull these things together? Don’t stop yourself because you don’t have a “business plan.”
My clients for example, have dreams, they’re artists, and they’re talented. But your people are creative in a technical way. Do you believe your people have a dream similar or are they too involved with I know how to do this so let me just do it?
That’s a really great question. I think that my client’s visions and energy have to align with me. I don’t take all clients. Imagine if I took all clients. We would probably be number one because of the revenue we’d be bringing in. But I believe not all money is good money.
Sometimes accepting money from the wrong person can lead to more headaches than what it’s worth. I don’t want that. So, I think the clients that I align with and keep long term are clients I have good chemistry with and they’re working with us for the right reasons. It’s because of that that I feel inspired to help them.
I love my clients. They’re disruptors. But they disrupt in a positive way. They are trying to disrupt things like healthcare, entertainment, real estate and the internet in big way. They’re improving technological experiences. They’re not trying to harm people with better tech. They’re trying to help more people in ways only technology can help. I love being able to pull those stories and messages out of them. I especially love to help them feel inspired by their own vision and help them really see where there might be a bigger opportunity.
You rep a lot of different kinds of businesses and people. So do you have to learn about each and every one of them?
I absolutely do! With each new client, it’s like taking a college course in their respective industries or businesses over and over again. Different industries, different backgrounds, that’s what keeps me going. I love learning and my clients are all so unique. I get to learn about them and their competitors. I’m never bored. There are so many new advancements in so many industries. It’s amazing. For example, my client Nobul is disrupting the residential real estate market in a way that no one like Zillow or Redfin are doing. They support buyers and sellers in a way no one else is and in turn, that helps the agents they’re being connected to. It’s a win for everyone. Helping them is fun. It’s also inspiring. I love seeing where my clients are bridging gaps. And that’s how I help my team remain inspired. I motivate them to constantly look at clients like they’re in school all the time. They’re learning about media. They’re learning about clients. They’re learning about what they do to connect them. It’s all very cool and fun. It’s also a lot of hard work but when you enjoy it you don’t feel that way.
I mean many press agents only have to learn a song. You have to learn a business. They get their excitement not because of what they do but for who they are and what they’re trying to bring forth in terms of their talent.
Exactly, also in terms of their unique personalities. You’re really great at bringing that out in people and understanding the human. For me it’s trying to make people understand a lot of the ‘why’ behind technology solutions and what it could do for you. And how it can inspire an audience.
But you have to do that too. Each of your clients have different personalities. Most of them are so much fun, some of them are a little serious but they have their unique personalities too.
But you really have to face both of those issues.
When I take on a client I do it very wholeheartedly, with integrity, and with very hard work at the core. There are some clients that we will have for a few months and you can tell after month one these people are in it for themselves or their ego and we usually will stop working with them after their contracts are up. I notice these things in people. We may not see it in the pitch stage, because they’re on their best behavior. But thinking about how we’ve gotten to this place, we’ve not only gotten to know the technology behind the clients we rep, but you have to get to know the people. I take on a client because I do care about their mission so much that I can picture myself being on their team. And I can tell you that is how I feel with our entire client roster. These are clients that I can say I don’t feel like I am there outside publicist, I feel like a direct member of their team. I am committed to their mission. I’ve committed my team to the mission. I bring that same passion. If you can’t do that in my industry, especially with working with tech companies, if you can’t do that then you are not going to bring your best. You’re not going to give them you’re A-game.
The short-lived clients who are just looking for press hits to feed their ego will get their walking papers quickly. I am looking for relationships where I feel absolutely committed to the people and the mission. And I am not committed to their ego.
It’s not about the money. It’s about what we can do to help because we want to help. You are like that too. You want to help.
You’re right. I do and both personality and chemistry really make a difference. What I learned when I got my MBA this past year, a lot of what you’ll learn in business school is more brass tax. You learn the financial side of running a business and taking a business to market, as well as building a business plan, which is all necessary. It is all necessary especially if you’re going to be building a large company that’s going to be raising money.
But what people forget before they were massive investors, before businesses required a plan, you had people just building businesses saying I have this skill I can offer to you, this is how much it costs, and people became friends with those that offered their services.
I think that people forget that fundamentally at the core of humans we have not changed. Technology has changed. The way we have brought businesses to life has changed. Everyone thinks you need millions of dollars to just start a company. I want to inspire people to know that if you’ve got a vision and you’ve got an idea for a service you want to offer, there are so many avenues for you to be able to drum up business, work with people that you like and make money doing something you love. Me and my company are living proof.
The official website for NRPR Group may be found at https://www.nrprgroup.com/