Brooke Hammerling, the strategic communications veteran who brought us Brew PR, announced her new project today.
Dubbed The New New Thing, Hammerling's new communications advisory wants to help startups bring more authenticity to brand messaging and comms through high-level partnerships with CEOs, founders and executive leadership teams.
There are a few critical pieces to The New New Thing:
First, Hammerling will not focus on the usual six-month press release strategy that drives communications at most tech startups. The New New Thing isn't focused as much on an individual product or funding round announcement as much as the high-level strategy of storytelling across the entire brand, including the company and the founder. In fact, the only pre-launch clients Hammerling will be taking on must be female-led and mission-driven.
Second, she'll be working directly with startup leadership teams to craft those narratives paying special attention to the stories in between the stories.
And finally, The New New Thing will have a huge focus on authenticity as a driver of relationships between its clients and the media.
One catalyst for the new project, according to Hammerling, was the evolution of the comms landscape as a whole. Not only is the media's bullshit detector hyper-sensitive, but so is the end-reader. It's no longer enough to send out the same robotic press release announcing funding.
"I'm bored of seeing the same picture of two male founders announcing their funding for some fintech product that's going to change the world," said Hammerling. "There needs to be a fostering of the relationships between CEOs and the people telling their story. Being authentic is really hard for larger organizations, or really any organization. And now, in 2020, there is no option but to be."
Hammerling explained that getting into the weeds with founders and tackling a storytelling challenge is what she loves doing most. She admits that managing a large team and dealing with the nitty gritty of comms (writing up press releases, pitching speakers for tech conferences, etc.) aren't her strong suits.
As you might imagine, the launch of The New New Thing means that Hammerling has officially left Brew PR, the firm she founded and sold to Freuds for $15 million.
The New New Thing is part of a newly expanded collective of service providers called Plan A, led by co-CEOs MT Carney and Andrew Essex. Plan A combines expert service providers from the fields of communications, branding, advertising, creative and social, among others.
Hammerling will be focusing on early and growth-stage startups in the tech industry, with a current client list that includes Lemonade, LiveNation, Framebridge, Splice and Eko.
One example of how The New New Thing works is made clear with Splice. The company is represented by a PR firm that manages the day-to-day news cycle and announcement schedule, while Hammerling works directly with founder and CEO Steve Martocci on the overall narrative that runs through all of that.
When asked about the greatest challenge moving forward, Hammerling's answer offered a taste of the authenticity and relatability she's trying to bring out of her clients.
"Can I do this? Do I have the right instincts and guidance for my clients?" said Hammerling. "I think I do and I've been successful at that, but how do I maintain that and communicate that to others?"