Finding the intersection between advertising, speaking engagements, and social and digital media can be a daunting task in today’s overloaded internet landscape. Rakia Reynolds is tackling the non-traditional media space at Skai Blue Media, a public relations company that provides business development, marketing, and message strategy to a wide variety of companies around the country.
Rakia has joined me to talk about what it takes to get your business noticed in today’s digital environment. She shares her experience with finding businesses that are willing to take a risk on a start-up, helping clients understanding the metrics of success in today’s online marketplace, and the importance of taking time to focus on your company’s brand, image, and future. On this episode of The Build, Rakia shares her vision to change the world, one digital media platform at a time.
More about today’s guest:
- Skai Blue Media on Instagram and Twitter.
- Rakia Reynolds on Instagram.
- Skai Blue Media on YouTube.
[1:23] Helping a client get noticed in an excessive media landscape without losing their focus.
[6:08] Rakia’s transition from editor to multimedia business owner.
[9:50] Finding businesses that are willing to take a risk on your start-up.
[11:06] Identifying your ideal client requires narrowing your focus.
[15:00] Various tools that can help clients measure their success.
[20:57] Helping clients understand the benefit of working with platforms they don’t understand.
[24:30] Why you need to focus on your brand just as much as you focus on your clients.
[28:36] Casting your organization for success and looking to the future.
[32:38] Rakia’s favorite elements of Skai Blue and her hopes for changing the world.
Announcer (00:03): From 2820 Radio in Philadelphia, it's The Build. Conversations with entrepreneurs and innovators about their dreams, their triumphs, and their challenges. Joe Taylor Jr. (00:14): Notice. In a news cycle full of calamities and politics and frustration. What are the new rules about getting your business noticed by journalists and influencers. For insight into how media relations and publicity have changed over the past few years, we're getting advice from a special guest who first got noticed as a television producer at networks such as MTV, TLC, and Discovery. Since founding her own full service public relations agency in 2008, Rakia Reynolds has worked with big companies like Dell and with influencers like Serena Williams. She'll share her perspective on launching and maintaining a company in a media environment, unlike any we've experienced to date. It's the story of Skai Blue media coming up next on The Build. Announcer (01:04): The Build is made possible with support from 2820 Press. Providing business consulting and content strategy services to customer obsessed companies nationwide. More information at 2820press.com. Joe Taylor Jr. (01:24): It's The Build. I'm Joe Taylor, Jr New Speaker (01:26): Joined in the studio this week by founder of Skai Blue Media, Rakia Reynolds. Welcome. Rakia Reynolds (01:31): Thanks for having me. Joe Taylor Jr. (01:32): We're neighbors here, you're just down the street from us. It's a lovely day here in the city of Philadelphia. Ordinarily on the show, we dive right into origin stories. But I think since we often work with clients who have a lot of the same kinds of challenges, I want to dive in and just get your thoughts on how do you help a client get noticed in a news cycle, in an atmosphere where every journalist I know is just cooked right now and everybody just seems to be a little preoccupied with other stuff. And yet we still have businesses to run, we still have clients that want to get noticed or get attention from what they're doing. How are you finding a way to to find that balance and get attention for your projects? Rakia Reynolds (02:18): Yeah, so I think what we've done at Skai Blue Media is we've been able to really forecast the media challenges and some of the bandwidth that these editors are faced with. With budget cuts and downsizing, you know, you go from processing or producing x amount of stories and then that doubles or triples over time so your inbox is a little more packed. And, because I come from the world of - I used to produce fashion editorials, you know, I used to be a television producer. I'm friends with a lot of these editors and you know, I take them out sometimes and I still go back to some of those old tactics of asking them how they like information, because we constantly have to pitch. But the way that we've done this sort of pivot or transition with Skai Blue media for more of the traditional media landscape because of some of those budget cuts and the way that people are responding slower to stories. Rakia Reynolds (03:13): We've really tackled this nontraditional media space. So it's a full integration. It's an intersection between, you know, advertising, speaking engagements and social and digital media. So we call it our new media and it's, it's more of a media approach where it's taking a number of things, not being formulaic on how we're pitching clients, but it might be working with the client instead of saying, you know what, you're going to be in this magazine that has x amount of unique, you know, UVMs per month. We're going to get you this speaking engagement. It might be less people in the room, but we'll live stream that speaking engagement. We'll send that out. We'll put it on multiple channels. So we've just gotten really creative with what a standard media placement looks like. Joe Taylor Jr. (03:59): Sure. And I think that media landscape has changed so much because I hear you mentioning there are so many platforms now. So even though as publishers are cutting down the number of people that are working inside a magazine, for instance, that might have had an editorial staff of 110 years ago might be doing the same thing with 30 or 35 today. And yet they're running a print publication of video channel, multiple social media platforms and you have one editor who now has their hands on all of those things. So, how do you help clients figure out how to spread themselves across all of those different platforms without losing focus? Rakia Reynolds (04:42): Yeah. And I think it's really being able to work with clients to say you have to be able to stick with a couple of things. You can't be everywhere and you can't be everything. One of the things that my mother told me as a child is 'Rakia you cannot be on every ship that sails.' And although I was super rebellious and I probably didn't understand that until about five years ago, it's really saying how am I going to anchor this client and make it a little more impactful because we all know that when things and messages, especially when they get watered down, it has less of an impact. So we concentrate on platforms that are going to be high impact, but maybe a little less of a push. So having that low level lift, but more of a higher impact. Rakia Reynolds (05:30): So for some of our clients we're saying to them, you have a great authoritative voice. We want you to only focus on twitter. We want you to only focus on the behind the scenes of Instagram. Take away your Facebook. But then for some of our clients, knowing what their demo is, knowing the consumers that they want to reach, we may say to them, you need to focus specifically on Facebook because that's your community. That's your message board. That's where you're really going to build up your audience and your base. So it's going back to that consumer behavior. It's going back to the consumer way of thinking. How do you reach people and be a, you know, having a high impact but not having to do so much work. Joe Taylor Jr. (06:08): So you've been spending the last 10 years trying to help clients figure out how to reach those audiences. Tell me about the transition that you made from editorial into launching and managing your own business. Rakia Reynolds (06:21): Wow. It's been 10 years. Oh, I didn't even know it's 10 years. Thanks for calling me out. Joe Taylor Jr. (06:27): I say that because a lot of agencies, you know, the rolling, conventional wisdom in any small businesses that you're lucky to make it to year five. Rakia Reynolds (06:36): Absolutely. Joe Taylor Jr. (06:37): Agencies typically get bought up or absorbed or just disappear after about year two or year three. So it's an achievement to have gotten to 10 years in service, but is that what you-- Did you think that you'd be in it for 10 years? Rakia Reynolds (06:51): No. So, just to give a little bit of the origin, when I started off as a television producer, I was producing scripted drama series. And then I got into the world of reality television. I was working in development. So I'd always been that producer that was scripting these wonderful stories or telling stories that needed to be told and I was being able to, you know, I was able to hold the key on how to tell those stories. Rakia Reynolds (07:15): And then I also worked for Lucky Magazine for a stint and producing some of those fashion editorials and then going on to Cookie Magazine. So I got this rich experience in working in magazine and then also working in television. So, at one point I started doing webisodic content and that was 10 years ago. So I started working for a public relations agency heading up their web 2.0 department. So the way that I got there was actually through a series of unfortunate events. I had been laid off from television and then, you know, magazines started to make that shift. They started going from like, you know, x amount of pages to x amount of pages. They started to get a lot thinner and when they started to get a lot thinner, it made me nervous and said, okay, how am I going to pivot and how am I going to shift? Rakia Reynolds (08:01): So when television started to change, magazine started to change. I wanted to take a mixture of all of the things that I had done in television, in magazine on Web, and I said, how do I like mix this into a bowl and make this something that I want to do? And that's how I really came up with the theory behind Skai Blue Media and having this multimedia approach. So, when I started the agency in 2009, people were like, what is multimedia? What do you mean by that is it mixed media. Like what does that mean? So it took me a very long time just to build our brand message in what multimedia was. But it essentially was me mixing in everything from the traditional side of things to the non-traditional side of things. But for me, it was having that way that when I was I was laid off, I was laid off from television and that going into a traditional public relations firm and not having as many magazine jobs, I knew that I had had a good brain. Rakia Reynolds (08:54): I'm like, I'm a smart person. I should not have to be on unemployment or eating peanut butter and jelly and tuna fish sandwich. These were the messages that went through my head and I was like, I don't want to be broke. But there's something about challenges provoking the power within you and saying I can do this and I'm going to do this now. And and that's what I really did. I didn't do it with a business plan. I didn't do it with a backer. I didn't have an investor. It was I have to do this and I have to do it now. So there was a sense of urgency. And I think sometimes when you have a sense of urgency, you tend to be a little more aggressive because it is urgent. You don't operate with the same tone of fear that some businesses start with. So I was put into a situation and it was beneficial for me, but I didn't know the benefits of being put into that situation until maybe three or four years down the line of my business. Joe Taylor Jr. (09:42): So we often hear the metaphor of swinging from vine to vine and learning how to let go of one before you've got the other in your hand. You come through this experience of being let go. Where did you start to drum up your first clients? Where did you find businesses that were willing to take a risk on a completely startup agency? Rakia Reynolds (09:59): So I went back to my roots. I went back to, okay, I've moved from television to magazine and you know, I went to this traditional public relations firm. When I quit the public relations firm, I went back to TV and then I was laid off. So I was like, oh my gosh, I made such a bad decision. And when I started my company, I went to my alma mater. I went to Temple University and said, Hey, I'm starting a business and I want to pitch you guys on some new business. So Temple University actually gave me my first big contract when my company was called Skai Blue Productions instead of Skai Blue Media and then we started to take some of the work that we had done with Temple University and then went onto working with boutiques and then went onto working with business improvement districts. Rakia Reynolds (10:38): So it was like brick by brick by brick, every great job. It was like, you know that saying you're only as good as the last thing that you had done. Well, I made those things very exceptional because I wanted people to talk about. I mean I need to bring my own brand ambassadors. So I needed people that I had done work for to say and make those referrals for me. So after Temple then it was working with Bus Stop Boutique and Bust Stop Boutique then referred me to the South Street Headhouse district and then the South Street headhouse district then referred me to this person and then it kept going and kept going and kept going. New Speaker (11:08): As you start to build these stacks of referrals and you build out a portfolio, tell me about the process that you use to clarify who your ideal client is. At what point did you start to narrow down and start to say, hey, now I know better who I want to spend more time with? Rakia Reynolds (11:24): Yeah, it took. It actually took me a while to figure out who the ideal client was for Skai Blue Media. I think those first three to five years, we're really trying because when you're building a business you have to take- honestly, unless you do have a backer and you have, you know, a lot of opportunities. I didn't have a ton of opportunity. So I had to sort of take what was out there because I was building and I was trying to figure it out as I went along. And I think for me it was just making sure that I was doing really good work with everyone. So I think finding the great, the ideal client, or the perfect client for Skai Blue Media really was a trial and error thing. It was like, where are we producing the most results? Were we getting the most bang for these clients? Rakia Reynolds (12:13): So if we brought a client on and we had a six month engagement. We were measuring what the success was. And people that we weren't successful with, we said, you know what, maybe that's not our core competency. We shouldn't be going after those people. So I know now we really identify what our verticals are, are they people versus products versus places. And we've really narrowed it down. I mean, when we first started, you know, I had a range of client, I was representing fashion folks, technology folks, nonprofits, and we still do that. But the overarching theme for us is always a lifestyle. So although we still have the same kinds of clients we worked with initially, I think, the way that I've evolved the company is really having an overarching theme in our overarching theme is lifestyle. Well, I think it brings up something that is. Or at least feels fairly recent, the evolution that we've had in media around lifestyle. Rakia Reynolds (13:03): So when we say lifestyle, what are we talking about? When we, when we try to position a client or a brand inside a lifestyle, what are, what are you aiming for? So, and that's lifestyle is actually very different for every company. It's really how you define lifestyle. I worked with some people and they say lifestyle is really like, you know, home and fashion and for us lifestyle, it depends on our clients at the time. And I will tell you, for us, we work with top models, we work with celebrities, we work with fashion houses. So lifestyle, for us it's really the climate of the mixture between fashion and retail. So, for us, it's a lot of fashion and retail and those lifestyle experts that are maybe talking more about home and some of these, you know, these soft situations. We represent a lot of social activists, financial activists. Rakia Reynolds (13:53): So I have to sort of put those in buckets. So is it, you know, if we're working with people, places and products, where do they fit within? So lifestyle is really a vague term. I know that a lot of people will say, well, what is a lifestyle expert? A lifestyle expert honestly can come on and talk about a fashion trend. A lifestyle expert can come on and talk about what they're doing in a house. A lifestyle expert can come on and talk about recipes and how it could be an stay at home mom. It's really how you define it. But I think when you use the word lifestyle, you have to also have a tagline under there. So we were working with a couple of folks in the finance arena and we actually labeled them lifestyle experts because financial literacy is so important right now. Rakia Reynolds (14:37): It's not just you need to be following along the vein of somebody that's, you know, in life, in finance. It is a lifestyle to make sure that your home is in order, that your business is in order. So when you talk about lifestyle, sometimes that is some of our finance clients. So I think it's using, when you use the word lifestyle, you have to have that tagline and the thing that comes after it to really describe it. I would imagine that a financial client and a fashion client might have different definitions of success for a campaign. How do you help clients measure the results that you're achieving for them? We, I mean we use a lot of different tools to measure a success and I'll tell you for our clients in the fashion space, it's units. How is this measuring to units or you know, clickthrough rates if you're going through a site or what their website traffic looks like or what their Shopify accounts look like. Rakia Reynolds (15:38): So it, it really depends on the client. For some of our nonprofit clients or clients in the social enterprise space. We look at audience engagement and how we've activated people. So we worked with Global Citizen and the way we measured success with Global Citizen is definitely a lot differently than I measure success with working with Serena Williams and her fashion brand. When I'm working with Serena's Signature Statement Brand success is what did we move, how do we reach that consumer? What did, how did the audience receive the information? But then when we're working with a Global Citizen, it was how do we look at how many people we activated, how many people were a part of this movement. Sometimes it's as simple as how much money was raised when you're working with a nonprofit. So our approach is always bespoke. Rakia Reynolds (16:29): We never have a cut and paste answer. It really goes to what client are we working with, what are their specific goals and objectives? And then we figure out how we are going to succeed and be successful for them through what our deliverables will be. Walk me through a scenario where you had a client that maybe didn't quite understand the metric had shifted or they might have been looking at one set of results and you show them, well actually, you landed all of this instead. Have you ever had any kind of those kinds of breakthroughs? I'm trying to think of... that's a tough question because I have to be honest. Oh, we do. Okay, so I won't name the client. So we worked with a very corporate giant, massive corporate giant, on creating a digital series and it was all around native content and how it reached their customer base and they were looking at big, big, big numbers like we want millions of people to see this. Rakia Reynolds (17:34): We want millions of products moved after this and, for myself and the team, we wanted it to be about less about the number side of things, but what the quality of the content was. And I think we're going to get into with, with AI and in all the AR and all of the new technology that's coming out in terms of the digital side. We have to bring back the emotional piece of things and so what we're doing. We're working with a researcher and a couple of folks on the tech side and really measuring the emotion of how people feel about a certain product or how the perception of a certain products. I don't think that the client got that when we were, when we were trying to deliver that to them because we gave them something that next year is going to be big. Rakia Reynolds (18:26): It's going to be a huge impact for them and I think one of the challenges for Skai Blue Media and myself is that we are trend forecasters and we think so ahead of the curve. There've been so many instances where we've created a campaign for a client and it's like, 'well we don't know if that worked for us.' This is really the main thing. And then a year down the line they come back to us and say, 'this was amazing and we should have listened to you. Then can we. Can we redo the same thing you did with us last year?' So we have a lot of repeat clients because they see that the work that we've done is something that is happening in one year or in some instances I've worked with clients and we've done something and two years past and they say we did this two years ago with you can we do the same exact thing? Rakia Reynolds (19:13): It didn't catch up with the moment. Yeah. I think we were ahead of the trend when we were one of the first agencies that were really actively using vine and working with vine influencers and then vine left. But, I think for us, because I love the Generation Z population. I'm raising a Generation Z child. She is my advisor and counselor. So I get this insider perspective on a lot of things that are coming down the pipeline that maybe people our age don't know about yet. And I'm able to implement that in the work that we do. So we're reaching the millennials but am reaching the Gen X-ers. I'm reaching the baby boomers and I bring a lot of people around me, so like my board of advisors, when my friend tour board of advisors are people from all walks of life, people that are reading a AARP, people that are like, Hey, I'm a gen Z'er and I'm ruling the world, so I'd like, you know, my friend tour board of advisors to run the gamut so that I'm touching all of these people, but I'm touching these people in the right way. Rakia Reynolds (20:12): Sometimes. That's an amazing thing. We do great work, but then sometimes it's. You guys are really ahead of the curve. New Speaker (20:18): Well, I think you bring up a great point in corporate America. Often we see folks making decisions quarter to quarter. What did you do this quarter to impact the next quarter's results? And you do see those things where, oh, what did we do that caused this spike? But it was three or four quarters out from the campaign and I can envision somebody asking you for the same type of campaign, but what I would hear in that is we want the same kinds of results. If you're already thinking, if you got those results based on a tool that doesn't exist anymore or a platform that's fallen out of favor, you can't necessarily run the same exact set of plays, but you still have to come up with the same results. So if in a landscape where you've got platforms that come and go, and we've been around long enough to see things that were the next big thing and they're gone within two to three years. New Speaker (21:13): So vine, huge cultural impact, not a sustainable business for some reason. Snapchat had their IPO this week. I love watching folks on CNBC scratching their heads and trying to figure out how this IPO was successful because Snapchat users are snapping up that stock like crazy, but not the institutional investors. And it seems quite a bit like how the platform gets used. It's not the same folks. It's not like what we saw with Facebook or twitter where everyone dives on Snapchat is that thing that by and large, if you're over 30 it seems inscrutable to you. And that's by design, right? And yet, advertisers, marketers really want to get that demographic of folks that fit right into the snapchat user profile. So to a degree, when you're working with a client, how do you figure out how to communicate to them the benefit of working with a platform that they might not understand at all? How do you get buy in from somebody in the c suite who's looking at a tool like Snapchat and saying, I have no idea what this does. Yeah. Rakia Reynolds (22:24): Well I, you know, I have to be honest. I think it's a mixture of things. I mean I'm very data driven so I like to present clients with specific kinds of research and we do a lot of research and we rely on some of our tech partners to work on research. But I will say that we've made ourselves such an authoritative voice in the media landscape that we don't really have to beat our clients down to tell them what to do. It's, it's really, we're super respected and it's like, hey, you guys are using this. If you think, and it's funny, knock on wood, we have clients that come to us and say, just tell me what to do. And, and that has worked for us because we really liked to work with clients, you know, that are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Rakia Reynolds (23:11): There are some clients that we work with that are big corporate giants. But then there are other clients that we work with that are super entrepreneurial. They've just started their company, they've just closed around the funding and they want to be able to invest in some marketing and communications. So I think being able to have two sides of the fence where we have those corporate giants and we have those startup entrepreneurial folks. We get to play. I mean we sort of like get to sprinkle our pixie dust on so many things. But I would say that if, if there were any instance where I really had to convince a client, it's really showing them data and maybe giving them specific examples of other people that look like them or that are in their field or in their industry and showing them their trajectory and, how they started, how they got there. New Speaker (24:01): I think it's striking because these are still people. They're still individuals that are making decisions at a very human level. It's just sometimes the order of magnitude might be higher. It's not unlike the concern that someone in a small mom and pop startup might be talking in the same exact way as someone at a fortune 50 company, except there's just a couple of zeros at the end of the spreadsheet. But the same decisions, the same concerns. Where are we going to get budget? How are we going to make this connect? And I think that draws back to one of the things that I observe is that you all treat yourselves as a client. You have to constantly work on your own brand to build that kind of that capacity to be recognized by clients and prospects. So tell me what you do to ensure that you are staying as focused on your personal brand and on Skai Blue as a brand and you don't fall into the trap that many entrepreneurs do, which is they focus 100 percent on clients. They never reserve gas in the tank for themselves. Rakia Reynolds (25:09): Yeah. And I've seen that as a mistake. You know, I've watched a lot of media companies when I was starting my company and looking at what did they do and how did they do it right? And I see a lot of the companies now that are starting, some of them are focusing way too much on themselves and not enough on their clients. And I've gotten advice from people and I have to say I attribute a lot of the success to mentors and people that I've bounced ideas off of that have an external perspective and we'll observe and say, hey, we see you a lot. Because there is a fine line between you out shining some of the people that you work with. It may work for you and it may not work for you. Rakia Reynolds (25:59): But I made a decision a couple of years ago to really develop a communication strategy for Skai Blue Media and the people that work at Skai Blue Media. So everyone has to be an authoritative voice. Everyone has to be. I mean, and so I really take the hat of being a casting director. You know, when I bring people in, it's still the same sort of formula when you're casting a movie or you're casting a show. You have to bring people in that are going to be complimentary to the company that are going to help to build the cornerstones of the business. But they also want to be able to be an authoritative voice. They know that they're smart and they know they are confident in being smart and they want to be able to lend that to something that sometimes is other than their clients. Rakia Reynolds (26:45): And I think the way that we brand ourselves, it also helps people that can't afford our services. So we go on and we do Facebook Lives, we do IG stories, we give a lot away to people because we've, we've, we figured out that not everybody can be on the Skai Blue Media roster, you know, or not everyone will be able to fit on the Skai Blue Media roster. We try not to exceed, you know, our bandwidth. But in branding individuals on the company, it was really just a, an effort because I knew that I couldn't scale myself. I noticed that we were getting a lot of business because people wanted to do business with me or they want it to be able to be in the same room as me. And I said I'm not scalable. Like I can't multiply myself. Rakia Reynolds (27:31): So the strategy was really to go and brand every single person that worked at Skai Blue Media, down to the company's being... the company is called Skai Blue Media. Oddly enough today I'm not wearing blue glasses, but I always wear blue glasses. I have blue hair at the company. You are always wearing blue. Someone is always wearing blue. So they're the brand and then they're an authoritative voice themselves. And we section it, there's, there's the creative, you know, everyone has a type. It's the creative, you know, it's the person that's the creative juice squeezer or the person that's a communications architect. So we really figure out who that person is, what they're best at, and then what do they want to tell the world? New Speaker (28:10): Well, even saw on your social media, you rolled out with the photos, have already with the same jackets and--you squad. And very few very few companies of any kind can pull that off in a way that's actually authentic. But I saw those photos and thought these are people that actually enjoy, you know, collaborating this way and doing some things that, for them, it would be fun for many other organizations. Just getting everyone in the room can be a little bit of a chore. When you're casting, using that phrase I heard you say, when you're casting the organization- where do you look for talent and what are the traits that you look for that signal to you that someone's gonna thrive inside your org? Rakia Reynolds (28:54): Yeah. #squadgoals. And I'll give a shout out to Javier Alonso, who is our Associate Creative Director. He put that shoot together and it was this theory that everybody was getting information for the new year and really prepping for all the great things that were to come in 2017 for the company. But I think in terms of talent, I really love working with interns. And we have a great internship program. I started my career through a really great internship. So we start there. Our internships, we take them seriously. You know, some of the people at the company, I'd say maybe 40 percent of the folks that work at Skai Blue Media started off as an intern. So, so we really look there. I never really cast a huge net out there, uh, because we so many inquiries on a daily and weekly basis because we are so visible and people are like, hey, I want to wear a blue jacket and I want to be there. Rakia Reynolds (29:50): We really started looking at our intern pool and who is ready to take it to the next level. Have they interned with us, you know, for semester, have we measured success with them, have they completed all of their learning objectives and then look at our internship program to say, is this person someone that can be an account coordinator or an assistant creative. And we really like to make it so that people can grow and move up the ladder at Skai Blue Media. So I'd have to say we start off at looking at our internships, New Speaker (30:22): So thinking about how you want to grow and continue to evolve. Looking into the next 10 years of the organization, what are some of the things that you want to spend more time working on? What are the things that you think that you can grow to accommodate? Rakia Reynolds (30:35): Well, I've already started because with Skai Blue Media, we have gotten offers to be acquired and I wanted to talk a little bit of that, about that. Our first three years of business, I was approached by someone to buy the company. The fifth year of business, I was approached by another person in the past three years. I was approached by three companies that wanted to buy sky blue media. So, I know that we have something great because we're always, you know, someone's always propositioning us to be bought out and we're not ready yet. So what I'd like to do is to be able to take Skai Blue Media globally. We started to sort of dip our toe into the global market. I'm advising two businesses in South Africa. I'm doing some advising to startups in LA and I'd like to really take that entrepreneurial route. So having an arm of Skai Blue media that is really focused just on the entrepreneur and their business, their branding and the boasting of their product or their service. So if in the next 10 years, and I don't know for me, I'm not even thinking that far out, but I'm thinking, in the next three to five years, really having a strong entrepreneurial vertical. New Speaker (31:44): I think it speaks to the fact that with the right focus and with technology you can have that global impact now. Whereas 10 years ago even you had to be one of those sub brands under one of the three monster agencies that exist out there. It's weird when you trace back the charts. I've worked with clients where we've brought in the, you know, the bakeoff where we decide, okay, which of the agencies are you going to go with? And three out of the five are part of the same parent company. And then you think, well why did we just not call, you know, those people. And just like I often use the analogy about restaurants. There's something about going to a small independent restaurant where the chef is doing their own thing and that's not to say that you won't get a great experience at someplace that's part of a larger group, but there's for both and there's room for that individuality. So thinking, thinking personally, just beyond growing and getting into a lot of frequent flyer miles, what excites you about the work that you're doing and what do you want to see more from your team over the next few years? What do you think going to be turning out from Skai Blue? Rakia Reynolds (33:01): You know, the thing that excites me is really being able to build these awesome brands. I mean we have a client and you know, we started with her when she had about 80,000 followers online and she's totally disrupted the fashion industry. She has over 3 million followers just on one channel right now. And for it, it makes me like give me this like proud mama moment because we get to work with really awesome people and I think the most rewarding piece of the job is being able to start off with a communications plan and you know, in a, in a year be able to measure look at how far we've come and two or three years down the line. I actually just spoke with my staff about being able to implement ways to work smarter, faster and better because a lot of us are do-gooders. Rakia Reynolds (33:50): I mean, you know, in the world of communications there are a lot of people out there and we are not solving the world's biggest problems. Although I'd like to insert myself in those conversations to help to solve critical problems, but we're not solving life changing things. And what I'd like to do is have my staff be more involved in the social impact space. So, we get to work with social enterprises. We work with a lot of activists. But I think what I'd like my staff to do is to really sort of shift because we're going to be shifting a lot of the things that we're doing and we're really evolving and I want us to tackle more of the social impact and being able to be world changers and great leaders. I have some great leaders on my staff. But I want us to get into the arena that we are actually changing the world. And the way that you change the world is that you help to solve some of the most critical problems that are happening in the country that you live in and then you can do it globally. Rakia Reynolds (34:52): So my biggest ask, or my biggest win for my staff is that when we're all sitting at the table and we are all change makers New Speaker (35:00): Well, I think there is a great place to leave it. Rakia Reynolds from Skai Blue Media. Thanks so much for stopping by The Build. Rakia Reynolds (35:05): Thanks so much for having me. Joe Taylor Jr. (35:07): Thanks again for listening to this episode of The Build. Our producer is Katie Cohen Zahniser. Our production coordinator is Nicole Hubbard. Our production team for this episode included Amelia Lohmann, Jess Ryan, Faiza Samreen, Giana Seeney, and April Smith. Podfly productions manages our post production and our theme music is performed by Arrows and Sound. I'm Joe Taylor Jr. Thanks for listening to this episode of The Build.