PR’s Top Pros Talk… Connecting a Brand Story to the News Stream
Jeanniey Walden, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, DailyPay
Why should communicators use earned media to get their message across? Jeanniey Walden, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at DailyPay, offers insights into how the brand ties its messages into the news stream to add benefit to the story of the day. Jeanniey also discusses how she differentiates her role between short-term and long-term objectives.
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About the Host:
HOST: DOUG SIMON
GUEST: JEANNIEY WALDEN
DOUG: Jeanniey, I think it would be great to start off by having you give some context about DailyPay, what the company does, and your role there.
JEANNIEY: At DailyPay we’re trying to make a new financial system, one that works for everybody with their pay. So, at DailyPay we made it possible for you to see how much money you’re earning as you work and access it when you need it. So, goodbye two-week pay day.
DOUG: So, basically, you can access the money that you’ve already earned before payday?
JEANNIEY: You can access the money that you’ve earned as you earn it. Yeah, it’s very cool.
DOUG: Great, now tell us about your role there at the company.
JEANNIEY: So, I’m the Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, and my job is to build the brand of the company and make sure that the most number of employers and employees know that this option is available to them.
DOUG: That’s great. And while you’re a CMO, oftentimes there’s confusion of how much of that role is public relations, how much is marketing, you’re overseeing those different functions, and you’re also serving as spokesperson. So, you put a lot of emphasis on earning media about what your organization is doing and what the stories of the day are.
JEANNIEY: Yes, I’m a huge believer in earned media to help build any type of brand. Whether you’re a start-up, whether you’re a mid-sized company, or whether you’ve been around for 100 years, I think earned media is the most authentic way to get your story across and to really build a relationship with the people that you’re trying to reach with your message.
DOUG: So, what are some of the ways that you’re trying to tie in what you’re doing to the news of the day in the news stream? Obviously, that’s a very effective way to try and get coverage if you can fit into a larger story.
JEANNIEY: That is how we create our media and comms strategy at DailyPay. We look at whatever the topical stories are and figure out if what we were doing at DailyPay can add benefit to those stories. Is there an insight? Is there an angle? And we look to insert ourselves with a conversation. And for DailyPay, when we’re talking about employees getting access to their money, there is almost no story, it’s like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, there’s almost no story that I could not connect DailyPay into within 6 steps.
DOUG: Yeah, and is Kevin Bacon using DailyPay? I guess we can look into that a little bit later. You also talk about from a pitching and earned media standpoint that you can’t always be selling to be effective. What do you mean by that?
JEANNIEY: Yeah, I just absolutely hate selling. I actually don’t really enjoy getting bombarded as we all do with calls from vendors and sales pitches as I’m trying to do my job. I’ve always been very specifically against coming across as a salesperson or a vendor. What I believe really shows the true power of a brand is the ability to just share what you do and let the customer and the results speak for themselves. So, most of what we do in our earned media and conversations is sharing our clients’ data, their successes, their challenges, and it works really well. I’m also a big believer in sharing things that don’t work with the appropriate organizations and teams because oftentimes learning the five things to stay away from when you’re taking a look at these types of solutions or understanding pitfalls can be as helpful to an entity that’s considering your solution. Probably more helpful than if you’re just coming out with the top benefits.
DOUG: Yeah, it’s not always about what you should do, it’s also about what you should make sure you don’t do to navigate the right path. You touched on it or earlier in your role with the CMO, role, spokesperson role, how do you navigate and sort of divide your own time between those different responsibilities? And then we can get to the mix of different tools and tactics that you use.
JEANNIEY: Yeah. The key for any great leader is to have an incredible leadership team underneath them, people that are experts in their areas and probably a lot smarter than the leader is. And to understand the company strategy and help enable them to move the company forward based on their areas of expertise. So, I spend most of my time looking at where we are as a company, where we’re going and what’s appropriate in order to get there, whether activating PR or comms, whether looking at demand gen initiatives, or even focusing on channel partnerships. All of those play such a critical role. Now, because I’m a spokesperson of the company, a lot of my time is spent having incredible conversations with amazing people like you and your team, and I love that because I feel like in every conversation I have, I’m learning more, I’m getting more perspective. I’ll say something that I think is really smart and you might scratch your head and say, “Wait, can we retake that part because I don’t understand what you’ve said?” And that’s important to me because I’ll take that back to the team and say, “all right, we thought it sounded good, but nobody else understands it outside of everyone involved”
DOUG: They are not getting it.
JEANNIEY: I just returned from an HR event that was in Orlando, Florida, and it was very interesting to listen to the people’s questions when they were coming up to me after a speaking session that I did and understanding their perspective because in many cases, they gave me new ideas about how we should be packaging our message and making it easier for them to help themselves also educate their leadership in their company. So, everything is a learning opportunity in my world.
DOUG: And a question that came to me a little earlier as you were talking is sort of how you differentiate your role between short term objectives, sort of mid-term, and long term because you’re responsible for all of those. How do you work through that? Can they be in conflict? Is there a way to make sure you’re sort of hitting on full throttle on all of those different aspects?
JEANNIEY: For us everything starts with the long game, and especially in PR and comms it often takes a good six to nine months to build a credibility to get into a certain media outlet or a certain type of conversation that’s happening, and you continue to build credibility as you go. So, we’re always looking at what is the ultimate result for us, where do we want to see ourselves and then go backwards to say, how do we get there? So, that’s the long game. Now, from a mid-game standpoint, we’re looking at capitalizing on trends of the day. From a short-term standpoint, we have everything that most companies look at for short term options. Maybe it’s a new client launch. Maybe it’s an earnings release, a new product launch. Those absolutely can play a big role. I don’t see them as ever conflicting because I see every piece of media that we put in the market as a part of a larger story. So, ultimately, when the largest story is unveiled, you’ll be able to go backwards and look at the string of media that we shared in order to get there and say, “oh, it makes sense.” They talked about this here because this was coming up three months from now. and might not be obvious at first, but over time it plays out.
DOUG: Yeah, I think whether people watching this, or working with the brand, or with a PR firm, or other communications from, there’s a lot of value that they’ll get from this discussion. Thanks so much for your contributions.
JEANNIEY: Thank you.