2017 is a big year for Elmore Public Relations—we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary! For the past 25 years, our agency has been working with numerous clients to help them achieve their goals, or as we say – connecting strategy, expertise and results. Each week we’re highlighting a year of Elmore PR.
Last week, we shared Elmore PR was started in August 1992. We thought – what better way to commemorate 1993, our agency’s first full year, than with a Q+A session with Susan Elmore herself?
We sat down with Susan to discuss Elmore PR’s beginnings and her inspiration behind the agency.
Q: Why did you want to work in PR? What do you love most about it?
What I love most is the idea of connectivity. If you’re strategic about it, you can link key causes to different groups of people and as a result, curate a much stronger and larger audience for your client. With IKEA, it was about connecting Trees for Houston and other non-profit organizations to the local store in a way that brought money and resources to the nonprofit.
On another front, it was easy for me to see opportunity all around Downtown Houston. Our first few clients were located downtown, like the Theater District, Central Houston, the Houston Symphony and others, so it was really fun and exciting to figure out how to build partnerships that would strengthen those organizations.
Q: What was your inspiration behind starting your own agency? Who were your mentors starting out?
I had a wonderful opportunity to promote multiple hotels at the same time — Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Washington D.C. — and I realized there was an excitement to having multiple projects in motion and being able to challenge myself to get results in multiple locations. In 1990, there were a fair number of PR agencies serving the oil and gas industry, and beyond that, there were a number of smaller agencies focusing on hospitality, real estate and other industries. It was a pretty competitive market for PR, but there was always more work than there were people to cover it.
I partnered with Maggi Jones early in my career as a PR professional. I met her while I was at the Lancaster Group and once I started my own thing, she offered to hire me to support her on several accounts. I learned a lot from Maggi and when Starbucks conducted an agency review in Houston, Maggi and I boldly offered up our services. When we secured the account, the Starbucks team leader told us we were the only agency in Houston who really “got it!” and we were proud to have adapted to Starbucks culture in such a short period of time.
The goal was always to have clients that were offering excellent products or programs and figure out who else needs to know about this client. Our objective is always simple — how can we bring more eyes, understanding or engagement to this client?
Q: Over the past 25 years, Elmore PR has certainly had plenty of highlights and big wins. Is there one in particular that stands out to you?
Out of all of the high profile projects that we have helped ‘launch’ the ones closest to my heart are the ones that were also good for Houston — opening the Rice Lofts, opening The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, opening Buffalo Bayou Park — I feel that announcing, constructing and opening Discovery Green was the project where we had the opportunity to showcase our skillset at its highest level.
We started on Day 1 when the project was announced and the only “engaged” parties were the foundations with the vision and the City of Houston. We are now in May 2017 and Discovery Green has an audience of almost 100,000 on Twitter, 145,000 on Facebook and 45,000 on Instagram. Last year, the Discovery Green website saw 3.5 million page views. We are thrilled that we were part of the team to take it from an idea, through construction, to a thriving, beloved landmark, featured in press all over the country and around the world.
This Q+A with Susan is just the tip of the iceberg! There’s so much more to learn about Elmore PR, our team and the wonderful clients we’ve had the opportunity to work with over the years. Stay tuned for more! Up next, 1994. Don’t miss out on the next installment, where we will reminisce on exciting projects, including developments in Downtown Houston and Elmore PR’s involvement in opening a coffee giant’s first Houston location.