Get to Know Publicist: Q&A with Founder & CEO Lara Vandenberg
Jordan Kelley, Content Director, Brandstorytelling.tv
Today marks the launch of Publicist, a new online destination for brands and brand storytellers seeking communications and marketing talent on-demand. Publicist was founded and is operated by CEO Lara Vandenberg. Vandenberg, former SVP of Marketing and Communications for the digital marketing measurement company Knotch and Forbes 30 under 30 list-maker, chatted with us at Brand Storytelling about the nuts and bolts of Publicist:
What is Publicist?
Publicist is an online marketplace that connects premium freelance communications and marketing talent with brands, agencies and individuals. The platform provides access to any service needed to build and maintain a brand’s image, health and identity -- both internally and externally. Publicist was actually in beta for a year and we received great traction from the Communications & Marketing industry, before formally launching to market today.
Why launch Publicist now?
I have always believed that the Communications and Marketing industry was moving toward project based work. Even before COVID-19, the freelance economy was the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S, and now that is continuing to accelerate. In the last couple of months, particularly around COVID-19, the broader environment has inadvertently made Publicist even more relevant given that: more talent is moving to freelance-based work, more companies are better served by flexible support than some retainer-based agency relationships and more brands are continuing to rethink the size of their internal teams. COVID-19 has allowed us to work even faster to get Publicist to launch to support this evolving change in the industry.
Who needs Publicist? Who are you looking to serve?
Publicist is built for modern marketers and communicators. Publicist has been used by some of the most innovative startups in the industry to large enterprises. All talent is vetted through a rigorous process and have previously worked for brands including: Apple, Nike, Microsoft, IBM, Away, Glossier, Casper and Google. We found that across the board, regardless of industry or company size, fast access to premium talent has historically been hard. Typically, recruiters or agencies outsource projects to talent and often up-charge on the project. For talent, it’s also difficult to focus on current work, new business in addition to administration like invoicing. With Publicist, all of this can happen on our secure and flexible platform.
What are your most popular skills and services?
We currently have over 300 skills on the platform and this is growing everyday. Some frequently requested services are: Content Creation, Public & Media Relations, Internal Relations, Crisis Communications, Go-to-market Strategies, and Interim CMO services.
What are your feelings as you head into your first venture as a Founder and CEO?
I’m going to answer this question in two parts as I believe the role of Founder and CEO are very different. As a first time founder, I’m entirely motivated by trying to solve this problem of it being hard to hire project based premium talent in the communications and marketing industry. Although I am launching a company at a volatile point in our macro-economy, the future of work is an area people are really excited about, and in parallel it’s a problem I’m excited to solve.
In regards to being a first time CEO, I feel incredibly grateful to have an amazing team, investors and advisors around me. It has been interesting to grow a team virtually from the ground up, but we all strongly believe that this is what the future of work looks like.
What are your goals and plans for the future of Publicist?
Our current focus is to grow our business in North America. We do have plans to expand internationally later this year, and additionally, we will continue to launch new products throughout 2020.
About Lara Vandenberg
Lara Vandenberg is the CEO & Founder of Publicist, an online marketplace that connects premium freelance communications and marketing talent with brands, agencies and individuals.Prior to Publicist, Lara led Communications & Marketing for brands like Knotch, Westfield and others and has been named to both Forbes 30 Under 30 and B&T 30 Under 30 lists. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Lara attended The University of New South Wales where she completed a combined degree of International Business and Media & Communications.