We talked to Connie Ramos-Williams, CEO and president of CONRIC PR + marketing, a creative agency that partners with businesses to provide comprehensive strategic branding, digital marketing, public relations, advertising and website development and here is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Connie Ramos-Williams: Thankfully, everyone in our family is healthy and prospering despite the pandemic. Unfortunately, in October 2020, my husband, three of our children, and I contracted Covid-19 from an unknown source. While everyone else had mild symptoms, I was hospitalized due to low oxygen levels and severe pneumonia. We take Covid seriously.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded CONRIC PR + marketing.
Connie Ramos-Williams: After a career in niche magazine publishing, I launched CONRIC PR + marketing in an effort to disrupt the economic trajectory set in motion by the Great Recession. Unemployment numbers were high, and new business start-ups were on the rise. Established companies found themselves in need of a brand refresh while the growing number of start-up companies required strategic branding and marketing support in order to successfully get off the ground. I recognized the urgent need to help these companies develop, execute, and manage cost-effective strategic branding and marketing plans that would help them realize their dreams, survive, and thrive during a tough economy.
Over the years, CONRIC has grown steadily, attracted and maintained top talent, expanded its service offerings, received multiple industries and community awards, produced historical community events, created innovative projects, and partnered with hundreds of clients to help them break barriers and surge past competitors.
The agency has grown so quickly that it was forced to relocate to larger office space four times during a span of ten years. About to make its 5th move to a 6,500 sq. ft. office space in 2019, I decided instead to follow my gut and global market trends. This led me to transition CONRIC into a telecommuting agency in early 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic was announced. The agency is currently well-positioned for continued smart growth to better serve its valued clients.
How does CONRIC PR + marketing innovate?
Connie Ramos-Williams: As a leader in the digital marketing, advertising, and public relations industry, CONRIC PR + marketing turned to innovative communication strategies to help our clients and agency stay relevant and stay connected at the start of and throughout the pandemic. We immediately launched the #SWFLStrong Facebook Group and Podcast to feature and connect businesses, non-profits, and individuals throughout the SWFL community. We host podcasts twice monthly and circulate them across all digital platforms, as well as keep the Facebook Group engaged.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Connie Ramos-Williams: In March 2019, when news of the pandemic hit SWFL, forcing businesses to close or work remotely, fear and panic set in, causing a few clients to place their accounts and marketing on hold and collections to fall behind. We worked with clients to help them get through the downturn and find ways to help them pivot. We maintained open communication with these clients during this difficult time to provide encouragement and support. This resulted in the clients bouncing back quickly and returning to our agency after just a one to two-month hold. In addition, we were fortunate to land new clients who were pivoting their business and in need of a brand refresh or new product launch.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Connie Ramos-Williams: We were proactive. Rather than lay anyone off, we made the tough decision to reduce everyone’s salary by 20% across the board, starting with my own. We did this for just two pay cycles, which was enough to get us through what could have been a rough few months.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Connie Ramos-Williams: We set recurring weekly or monthly calls with clients utilizing Google Video Chats or Zoom. Although we did this prior to Covid-19, we did this quite a bit more after the pandemic for obvious reasons.
We also set up shared cloud-based folders with clients to share and transfer files.
Your final thoughts?
Connie Ramos-Williams: Following my gut and global business trends really serves to keep our agency in front of the curve. It was just a month or so before the pandemic that we transitioned to a remote agency. Although some asked if we had a crystal ball, no one could have predicted the pandemic.
Link to WINK News Coverage – https://www.winknews.com/2020/06/19/founder-of-swfl-strong-facebook-page-shares-her-inspiration/
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