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“Create original concepts.” With Olivia Ormos

As a marketing/ social media focused agency, I knew we had to stand out as the industry was flooded with creative agencies. Aside from servicing clients, I like to make sure we are also disrupting the space with our own original concepts, ideas and bringing those to life as marquee landmarks for the agency.Model Volleyball […]

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As a marketing/ social media focused agency, I knew we had to stand out as the industry was flooded with creative agencies. Aside from servicing clients, I like to make sure we are also disrupting the space with our own original concepts, ideas and bringing those to life as marquee landmarks for the agency.

Model Volleyball is my best example. I started this event with my partners in 2010 and it has grown to be one of the largest events in Miami with over 20k spectators and one of the most niche trademarked event concepts there is. So many have tried to knock us off and do it themselves, but have never been successful. It takes a special level of trust to bring together the most competitive industry for a cause.

With concepts like Model Volleyball, we are always trying to be disruptive and push ourselves to new limits every year.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Olivia Ormos the founder of OO & CO, a 360 full service marketing agency that thrives on creating experiences and innovative brand solutions. Her specialty includes events, digital and social marketing, brand awareness, talent management, corporate sponsorship and celebrity development. Through her extensive network, she has a pulse on the insights needed to align brands with influencers; increasing our client’s market share in their industries.

Her agency has organized and curated some of the biggest happenings across the country including the annual Model Volleyball Tournament, Art Basel, Food & Wine Festival, Miami Swim Week, red carpet events, nationwide Pro Bowl and Super Bowl events.

From throwing sold out party tours across the nation, to organizing philanthropic efforts for the community, we work diligently to bridge the gap between cool & conscious. During these successful events, Olivia has executed media impressions in the multi-millions as well as garnered key recognition and marketing campaigns for clients.

With offices in Miami, her team consists of the most highly skilled professionals with experience ranging from digital curation to design to event production

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Growing up both my parents were entrepreneurs and owned their own companies. I was fortunate enough to never have a parent miss a volleyball game, a school meeting, or the moments I needed them most. I pay tribute to my parents for instilling this type of independent mentality in me so young where it felt normal when the time came that I didn’t want to just get a “job”.

I will never forget the moment I knew I was in the right field, I had signed up for Introduction to Public Relations and on the first day the professor asked “How many of you are good at math?” and not one student in that auditorium raised their hand. As the group chuckled, he followed by saying “Welcome to the College of Journalism and Communications” I fit right in.

When I graduated from the University of Florida, I had already had several jobs and internships under my belt. I chose to work every winter and spring break (more of that later!), I was eager to network and learn from experts and made sure I was ahead of other men and women in the PR/Marketing world. I knew it was uber competitive and I had to get the edge when it came time for graduation.

While searching for an entry level role after graduation, I could not believe I just spent 4 years studying my ass off, working every chance I could get, to ultimately be offered $30,000 a year. I thought to myself, I could go clean homes and make more than this.

But my first opportunity and job was an incredible one. My friends had purchased the infamous South Beach nightclub B.E.D and asked me to be their Director of Marketing. They paid me $800 a week in cash and I thought I was rich! I was able to connect with every single media outlet, alcohol rep, sponsors, DJ, performing artist, promoter, manager and more because they all wanted to host their parties at B.E.D. This was a huge stepping stone in my career meeting all of these amazing contacts so young at 22 years old, and some I still collaborate with to this day.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

As a marketing/ social media focused agency, I knew we had to stand out as the industry was flooded with creative agencies. Aside from servicing clients, I like to make sure we are also disrupting the space with our own original concepts, ideas and bringing those to life as marquee landmarks for the agency.

Model Volleyball is my best example. I started this event with my partners in 2010 and it has grown to be one of the largest events in Miami with over 20k spectators and one of the most niche trademarked event concepts there is. So many have tried to knock us off and do it themselves, but have never been successful. It takes a special level of trust to bring together the most competitive industry for a cause.

With concepts like Model Volleyball, we are always trying to be disruptive and push ourselves to new limits every year.

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?

After working an entire summer as an intern with the Opium Group in 2005, Miami’s top nightclub group, alongside their in-house publicist, I was fortunate enough to be flown back down from school at UF in Gainesville to be a part of the VMAs after parties at all of their hottest venues.

I was given the job of working the door with the ever so sought out “NFU” list, an acronym for “No F*ck Ups” and like every good intern I took this role very seriously.

Celebrities began to arrive at the red carpet at Prive nightclub, the press line was insane with a sea of thousands of people trying to pry their way to the front of the line. Usher, Shakira, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey you name it they were all there.

A very young and good looking man arrived and I loudly remarked “Who is that?”, the minute this line came out of my mouth I instantly regretted it. His manager heard me and said “the whole world will know his name next month, watch out for this kid” I felt like such an idiot, how could I have said that out loud!

Any guesses? It was Chris Brown.

As the night went on I was tasked with helping inside as well.

I got a tap on my shoulder, it was Usher.. USHER was tapping ME on the shoulder!! He said “can you help me get another bottle of Patron?” Of course I replied with an eager smile and told him I would be right back with his bottle. The bartender handed me his bottle in the green cardboard box and not thinking anything of it, I rushed back to Usher and handed him just that, a bottle of Patron inside a box! Luckily, he didn’t care and just smiled and accepted.

When I look back at these silly moments I laugh because I know these were the moments that needed to happen and those I am happy happened before I even graduated college.

Going forward, I kept my mouth shut at events and kept the awkward thoughts only in my mind and of course, I took the bottles out of the boxes before they got to VIPs.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I met Jeff through my internship at the Opium Group, he was a New Yorker and had been hired to run all of the groups New Year’s Eve events in Miami. I was home for winter break and my soon to be summer boss Vanessa called and said he needed an assistant for two weeks. They told me I would make $2,500 and would have to work on NYE. Without hesitation I accepted and this was one of the moments that changed my entire life.

Jeff was tough, a good kind of tough, and in return made me tough. After training me for three short days, he picked up and told me he had to return to NY to run Mariah Carey’s NYE party and “I got this” ummm me? I’m 20 years old. What are you talking about?

He left and I was told to run the show, signing out tickets to promoters, selling tables, seating charts, VIPs, press — this became one of my callings and a relationship I would have with Jeff for years to come.

The following summer I spent with Jeff in NY as his assistant, learning, growing and conquering every obstacle that came my way.

One of the biggest impacts he made was when he asked me to get cases of tequila from Manhattan to the Hamptons for his event with just a few hours notice. I didn’t have a car, or the arm strength at the time, and had to figure it out.

Luckily my friend Marino was driving out that day and he offered to take the cases for me, boom! Friday night in the city and I am free and clear. Friends from Miami had flown up to visit and we were off to Sushi Samba for dinner.

At dinner, my blackberry sounded and his name appeared on my caller ID. I immediately got a stomach ache, “why is he calling me at 9pm on a Friday?” I answer and he says “WHERE’S MY TEQUILA?” In sheer panic I told him Marino had taken it out there this afternoon and blah blah blah hysteria. “FIND MY TEQUILA”.. Click.

With zero service in the Hamptons and no answer from Marino, we pick up and head to the office to see if the tequila had actually been picked up or not. No tequila, good sign.

Once I finally reach Marino, pacing the streets of Park Avenue, he calmly tells me he had dropped off the cases hours ago and I had nothing to worry about.

I call Jeff and say “MARINO DROPPED THEM OFF HOURS AGO, THEY’RE THERE!!”

He replied with “Why didn’t you know that?”

Since that moment, I have never not followed up a day in my life.

I am so grateful to have had a mentor like Jeff, everything he did was only to better my long term success and make sure no man ever tried to take advantage of me in the workplace.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Over the last 10 years, aside from services like PR, marketing, social media and event planning I was a manager to many high profile influencers. This type of work exposed me to some very difficult decisions at times in the disruptive space and how to advise clients accordingly.

I think disrupting an industry is positive when you can create a positive chain of events that betters the world as a whole and not just yourself.

If it’s just you that seeks to benefit, and potentially harms someone else’s business, I usually think twice about pulling that trigger and if it’s worth it for my long game plan.

Change, evolving,

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Back to Jeff here — my two biggest takeaways working with him were “Figure it out “ and “Always follow up”

Since we already covered my “following up” story, I’ll jump right into “figure it out”

He would send me emails with zero directive. If it was an invoice, I had no idea if it needed to be paid, the items needed to be picked up or I was supposed to make the order. This type of training pushed me to be a forward thinker and not get too comfortable, well ever.

It got to the point that the guy who owned the printer felt so bad for me, he would call me to see how I was doing and never missed a birthday call to me for close to 10 years.

I have tried my best to instill this type of training in all my teams as I know how effective it was for me and my growth in the industry,

The third piece of advice would be to “always know who you’re talking to, and if you don’t know don’t assume anything” That same summer in NY, I worked the front door at Russell Simmons July 4th Hamptons party and was told by then publicist Jonathan Cheban that “anyone wearing shorts, not even Prince, should be let into the event.”

A man arrived in shorts, cool shorts I should mention, and said he was on the list. I politely advised he needed to change in order to be let into the event.

Within 3 minutes Jeff came shrieking at me from the backyard, this was Russell’s head designer and I had just told him to go change.

Looking back knowing what I know now, I should have had a side conversation and called Jonathan or Jeff to double confirm but I was just following directions!

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?

I firmly believe your best lead generation is yourself and the people around you. If you kick ass for your clients and treat your team with respect, they will want to refer you to clients and stick around for the long term.

Aside from direct referrals, we are members of Winmo, a search engine platform that provides contact information for brands, press & companies all over the world.

Although on the pricier side, just one successful lead pays for the membership for the entire year.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

During quarantine these past few months, I launched an accessible and affordable marketing membership platform — “Lessons from the CEOO”, available for $1/month that gives them access to 6 videos monthly. (patreon.com/ooandco)

Lessons is an all-encompassing monthly membership program where you will find helpful tutorial videos within marketing, social media, content curation, business etiquette, events, networking and more right at the tip of your fingers.

I wanted everyone who had potentially lost their jobs or someone looking to improve to sustain their job, had access to marketing & overall business education.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

A recent interview I did within my Lessons from the CEOO Platform was with my friend Heather White. Heather is a African American female business owner of Trill Fit, a fitness dance studio in Boston, as well as the Head of Marketing for INBOUND.

Heather and I spoke about the importance of diversity in the workplace, social media as it pertains to BLM & how we can better educate ourselves on systemic racism for the long term. This was a special interview for me, where the uncomfortable but most necessary questions were asked, in a safe space for us to grow & learn together.

I thought it was extremely important to ask these questions, when so many people have no one to ask and therefore no way to improve the way they operate their businesses.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Always ask, the worst anyone is going to say is NO.

I am a huge believer in being assertive and going after what you want in life. Although sometimes we get lucky and things come our way, we can not get too comfortable and must remember to just go for it, always.

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. 🙂

I have always advocated for female-owned businesses and encouraged women to start their own businesses. If I could inspire a movement it would have to be creating a coalition to bring affordable legal, business and grant opportunities to female-owned businesses to allow for a more immediate growth and a chain of events — women helping women.

How can our readers follow you online?

@oliviaormos

@ooandco

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