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Brittanie Price: “You can’t be everything to everyone ”

Spend the extra money on a solid accountant — In the beginning, I refused to jump on the QuickBooks bandwagon, much less hire help for the business finances. I paid dearly in time, money and my own sanity. My business expenses and contracts were a mess, I had at least five different spreadsheets for billing and tracking […]


Spend the extra money on a solid accountant — In the beginning, I refused to jump on the QuickBooks bandwagon, much less hire help for the business finances. I paid dearly in time, money and my own sanity. My business expenses and contracts were a mess, I had at least five different spreadsheets for billing and tracking invoices was a disaster my first year. It was pointed out that I’m actually stealing from my clients and my own company when I spend my billable time sorting out the finances. As the owner of a company, my time is now fiercely guarded and spent driving results for our clients.


As a part of my series about the things you need to know to excel in the modern PR industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brittanie Price, Founder & Principal of BCENE PR. Brittanie’s passion for unconventional storytelling began at an early age when she spent hours perusing the fashion glossies in the grocery store as a young teenager. Fifteen years later, the award-winning publicist enjoys an extensive background in public relations and influencer marketing with a focus on consumer and lifestyle brands including work with Sassoon Salon North America, Girl Scout Cookies, Mamont Vodka, and OLIKA. Brittanie now proudly places her client’s stories in the same publications she once coveted as a young girl including; ALLURE, Byrdie, Conde Nast Traveler, Forbes, Fast Company, InStyle, O, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Southern Living, TODAY, Town & Country,VOGUE, Woman’s Day, Women’s Wear Daily and Washington Post.


Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you “a marine biologist, a heart surgeon, a supreme court justice or a publicist” — depending on the day of the week. But after settling into my first communication course at Virginia Tech, I fell in love with the concepts, the theories and the “why” of public relations. My final year of college, a professor I’ll never forget– Dr. Tedesco, assigned a senior year capstone project which solidified my love for the profession. We were tasked with the branding and launch plan of a local non-profit. Over the semester, I geeked out over the research, went overboard on the creative and then nervously pitched what was to be my first of hundreds of PR plans.

The inexplicable rush that came with nailing the pitch was intoxicating. I was sold — hook, line, and sinker.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?

In 2018, I was pitching for OLIKA, a new D2C company set on reinventing personal care and household staples. We secured a number of high-profile media placements its first product, Birdie, an uber-cute bird-shaped hand sanitizer. But landing in the hands of the Kardashians was a dream come true for the OLIKA founder. Not one to turn down a challenge, I all but stalked Khloe Kardashian’s publicist to see if we could send her a few products. Meanwhile, we partnered with a couple of celebrity hairstylists and makeup artists to sample the product. We were lucky enough to find Justine Marjan, who not only loved OLIKA but is a dear friend and hairstylist of the Kardashians. Fast forward a month or so later, I get a text from OLIKA’s founder to turn on E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Lo and behold, Birdie was sitting on Khloe’s kitchen counter during several scenes.

I just about fell out of my chair when I caught our bird on TV. Thanks to Justine, Khloe put Birdie on her SnapChat and I texted the founder, “our work is done here.” It was a surreal moment to make someone’s dream come true.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Oh goodness! When I first announced the launch of BCENE PR, a friend kindly pointed out that my title was incorrect across all my agency materials. I used “principle” rather than “principal.” Principal refers to someone in a position of authority while “principle” refers to a natural, moral, legal rule or standard.

I was mortified looking at my newly minted business cards. My head went to, “how can I position myself as a communications expert yet, screw this one up.” Bottom line? I’m in the business of human connection and humans are messy. I’m not immune to making mistakes. At that moment, I had a choice to beat myself up or laugh it off and thank the friend for catching the mistake.

I chose the latter and try to let myself off the hook a bit more these days.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’ve found myself in a super interesting space of lifestyle PR including work with personal care products, indie beauty brands and a couple of heavy hitters in real estate. I have the privilege of partnering with founders who are reimagining and elevating the everyday essentials– whether it’s hand sanitizer, toothpaste or even home design.

I recently spoke with a founder and he put it perfectly, “we’re taking a product category that meets a basic need and transforming it from ‘need’ to “want.’”

I’m fascinated by innovation and the “why” behind projects. It makes storytelling and pitching that much more exciting.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

The difference between “principle” and “principal” — No, really this would have been helpful. The lesson was in asking for help with proofreading any and all BCENE PR brand materials before going live. We do an awesome job of editing for our clients, why shouldn’t we give the same TLC to our own company?

Spend the extra money on a solid accountant — In the beginning, I refused to jump on the QuickBooks bandwagon, much less hire help for the business finances. I paid dearly in time, money and my own sanity. My business expenses and contracts were a mess, I had at least five different spreadsheets for billing and tracking invoices was a disaster my first year. It was pointed out that I’m actually stealing from my clients and my own company when I spend my billable time sorting out the finances. As the owner of a company, my time is now fiercely guarded and spent driving results for our clients.

If you answer emails at 10 pm, you’ll keep getting emails at 10 pm — Work/ life boundaries were nonexistent when I started BCENE PR. Driven by the fear of appearing unavailable, I made myself accessible at all hours of the week and eventually burned out. Thankfully, someone pointed out that “I teach people how to treat me.” By answering emails and messages during non-business hours, I was reinforcing the behavior as acceptable. After a bit of discomfort in holding back late night or weekend responses, I noticed a significant drop in off-hours messages. Clients have always respected and valued my time. It was a matter of whether I respected my own time and space enough to make a change.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable — In PR nothing is guaranteed. Ever. The same goes for entrepreneurship. Sometimes I catch myself in moments of “Oh my gosh, I’ve built my entire career and now launched a company that rests on the kindness and favor of others!” While a bit oversimplified, PR is an interesting concept in the day to day and requires making friends with the “not so fun” feelings of uncertainty. Stripped down to its essence pitching is simply asking for help in exchange for offering valuable information. But favor is dependent on timing and credibility. Otherwise, you’re forced into an awkward ask such as, “Hey writer/reporter, I’ve got this super interesting story. Would you drop everything you’re doing and pay attention to my client. Also, please spend your valuable time writing favorably about said, client.”

You can’t be everything to everyone — My leadership style has evolved over the last 24 months. After much trial and error, I now understand BCENE PR is not designed to be everything to everyone. Meaning we’re incredibly well-versed in certain industries and expertise. We’re not the right fit for every single

client that comes our way and that is perfectly okay. I once made the mistake of taking on a project outside of our natural purview of lifestyle PR. The client was a financial services company looking to revolutionize banking systems. Personally, I adored the team and respected their pedigree. They were lovely, super smart and had incredible vision. However, we had none of the relationships they needed and no way of making a significant impact without some serious ramp up time. After 90 days, I got honest with the founder about my concerns. He graciously offered to keep us on but at that moment, I realized I was doing him and his vision a disservice. Instead, we took the time to find him a few rockstar fintech PR companies and made a few additional friends across industry lines.

You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?

Dig before you’re thirsty as relationships are the lifeblood of public relations. I’ve found great success in cultivating and nurturing a network by reaching out and engaging early in the game. For example, I recently moved the business from Washington D.C. to San Diego. When we got word of the move, I asked my east coast friends for help in connecting to like-minded women in the area. By the time I unpacked, I was plugged into two networking communities, had a handful of coffee dates on the books and we landed our first west coast client within a few months.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

Good work begets more work. While our marketing funnel is up and running with an optimized website and a solid content marketing strategy, about 90% of our portfolio is a result of word of mouth referrals. We are fortunate to have an incredible group of clients that value us as true partners and recommend us to others. However, in the business development process, we’ve found it’s more beneficial to provide baseline pricing and service offerings upfront and on the website. Pricing transparency lets shoppers opt-in or out of your price point and favors those that see the value in public relations.

Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?

While books and podcasts are awesome for certain businesses and expertise, we’re in the business of communication and I’ve found it more helpful to do just that– talk with others. Finding a community of real-life publicists and marketers has been invaluable in my career this last year. I’ve become involved with PR Couture by Crosby Noricks and the group “Pitch Please!” where Crosby invites weekly speakers to join the group. We discuss everything from how to get more comfortable with the sales process, to catching scope creep and new strategic pitch tactics. It’s been vital for my growth this last year.

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. 🙂

Being of service to others has been a game-changer for me and not just in the professional sense. The scientific benefits of helping others is overwhelming– between extending your lifespan, alleviating loneliness and even, heightening a neurochemical sense of reward. One team of sociologists tracked 2000 people over a five-year period and found that Americans who described themselves as “very happy” volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month. Taking that concept to a broader sense, what if we had one holiday a month dedicated to being of service to others? Hello! Instant happiness, more productivity over a longer time and perhaps some real change in the lives of those in need. Sounds like a win-win to me!

This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.

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