Patience may be a virtue; but it’s necessary at times.
Growing a business requires discipline and investment.
There’s no substitute for hard work.
Running a business requires wearing a number of hats and an assortment of different responsibilities.
Think good and it’ll be good. Negative people make positive people sick. Remember that.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Josh Nass, an attorney who specializes in crisis communications, reputation management and public affairs. Nass has represented a diverse roster of clients including media properties, healthcare companies and titans of industry in the corporate world. He currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina; making bi-monthly trips to DC and NYC.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Josh! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I’m a born and bred New Yorker who has temporarily escaped the COVID realities associated with city living and relocated to the Lowcountry. Professionally, I’m an attorney who runs a public relations agency; a public affairs outfit; and a digital reputation management firm. I’m a voracious reader and a major news junkie. I’ve always been especially intrigued by the intersection of media and politics.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Challenge the status quo and success will follow you like a shadow”
I think it’s human nature to seek to adapt to whatever the norm is in a given situation or whatever societal norms may dictate at that very moment. Surely starting your own business and choosing to go out on your own upon graduating from college may seem atypical. But I strongly believe that if you have faith and confidence in your capacity to succeed and execute on whatever your vision may be, ignore the naysayers. Believe in yourself; and so long as you’re able to produce a high quality product or service that rivals those of your competitors, you’re going to make a splash, in a constructive way. And in my experience working with leaders in the corporate world across so many different industries, I can tell you that this principle applies regardless of the industry one might be operating in.
But I’ve also been uniquely blessed to be able to see this concept in practice in a way that has truly had a historic impact. A great example would be our work on the campaign of the current President of the Republic of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili. We worked tirelessly handling all communications and media relations for the current President during her campaign to become the first female President of the Republic of Georgia. In fact, it proved to be a historic victory — as she not only became the first female President of the Republic of Georgia; but also of any nation in the Caucasus. As someone who’s passionate about the advancement of women in politics and all other spheres, it was truly a privilege to be a part of this historic campaign.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I love to read; and have always loved reading biographies — likely due to my fascination with people and better understanding what makes us all tick. I recently finished reading Jon Meacham’s book on Thomas Jefferson entitled The Art of Power. It’s an excellent read and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in history.
In terms of podcasts, while it certainly won’t earn me any praise among my conservative friends, I thoroughly enjoyed David Plouffe’s podcast on the Presidential race. Preet Bharara also has an outstanding podcast on which he interviews some remarkable people. I found his interview of Ambassador Michael McFaul especially interesting.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
While my PR firm had certainly done some digital reputation management work for clients over the years, the pandemic created a real need for it among some of our clients — particularly those in the hospitality, travel and healthcare fields. While our core competencies have always been in traditional media relations, we’ve certainly done work in the digital realm and it is certainly no secret that whatever negative press attention that might be published about a client will live on in the internet ether for the end of time. The need was always there; but it was the pandemic that ultimately accelerated our work in developing a program for our clients that effectively allows us to offer digital reputation management services in an efficient, comprehensive and effective manner.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
The type of reputational harm that the pandemic caused a number of our clients in the sectors that were hit hardest by the pandemic led us to creating a company that solely specializes in digital reputation management services. Dignified Online is a white-glove digital reputation management agency that contractually guarantees clients results in an industry where that remains unheard of. Our proprietary technology ensures our clients’ identities are always preserved as a campaign unfolds, and that our clients’ anonymity is preserved and respected.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
As the need developed, I began having conversations with colleagues in the broader public relations industry about digital reputation management. There were two consistent takeaways I had from those conversations. First, that there was unquestionably a need for the service among their client interests. And secondly, that the quality of the service presently being provided was consistently viewed as being sub-par and inadequate.
The idea for every good business idea starts with identifying a real need that exists in the marketplace.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Thank G-D, they are going remarkably well. In short order, we’ve already grown a roster of clients that includes captains of industry in the corporate world; a foreign government; several leading companies in the hospitality sector, and private individuals.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
There have been many; especially given the nature of the service we’re offering. We’ve been retained by individuals involved in some of the most talked about press stories and scandals of the last year. Unfortunately, I can’t be of much help when it comes to sharing anything salacious, as all of our clients are granted the utmost level of discretion, that they’re certainly deserving of.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Patience may be a virtue; but it’s necessary at times.
- Growing a business requires discipline and investment.
- There’s no substitute for hard work.
- Running a business requires wearing a number of hats and an assortment of different responsibilities.
- Think good and it’ll be good. Negative people make positive people sick. Remember that.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
Moving to Charleston, especially during these frightening COVID times. Walking and enjoying the fresh air that the Lowcountry has to offer.
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?
A movement of generosity and giving. There are so many amazing stories of acts of generosity that have taken place during these especially dark and turbulent times. They’re truly heartening and inspiring to read and hear about.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Edward Bernays was known as a pioneer in the PR field. He did unfortunately pass away several decades ago, so that might complicate things a bit.
How can our readers follow you online?
On Twitter, @JoshNassPR or on LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshnass
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thanks so much for affording me the opportunity.