Caroline Galloway - Founder & CEO, Mouth to Mouth PR & Partnerships

Caroline Galloway is on the verge of a 10-year anniversary with Mouth to Mouth PR & Partnerships. A veteran of the PR  & Entertainment Marketing game, Galloway took a calculated risk in 2010 by leaving the cozy confines of a C-Level marketing role for a major brand and setting out on her own. The move paid off and now nearly a decade since launching M2M, Galloway can look back with a smile. Galloway and M2M are not slowing down and are ready to march into the next decade full-speed.

Before starting her own brand, the “Super Genius” worked for the likes of The Walt Disney Company, Planet Hollywood International, Universal Studios and Gibson Guitar Corp.  Although each position was fulfilling in their own ways, Galloway found the challenges of being the founder and CEO of her own agency exhilarating. Like other successful entrepreneurs, she has put everything into the company to make it what it is today.

Galloway took time out of her ever-evolving schedule to sit down and speak with Totalprestige Magazine about M2M and the ride she has been on since starting out in the PR and marketing world.

Caroline, Mouth to Mouth PR & Partnerships works in the entertainment, consumer brands, music and film industries. First off, tell us about the agency and how it got started?

Mouth to Mouth PR & Partnerships, also known as M2M PR (www.m2mpr.com), was founded in December 2010. After years in the corporate world leading large global teams for major consumer brands and entertainment entities including the Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, Gibson Guitar Corp.and others, I was anxious to take a risk. I left Gibson Guitar and was immediately offered a position within the industry. But the “tug of a risk” kept drawing me back to the idea of doing something on my own. Many colleagues also urged me to start my own business, having worked with them on various projects throughout the years. Now we boast thousands of media placements in every major outlet and across various countries. We also have a diverse portfolio of clients that allow  us to be creative and excited each and every day.

It’s hard to believe that M2M PR is coming up on a 10 year anniversary next year. The thought that a risk taken in 2010 and an idea to pursue a dream is one that I am still quite proud of. Without the trust of my partners and incredible colleagues across the globe, it would not be possible. For that, I will always be grateful.

I’ve always had a love for the entertainment business. This gave me the freedom to expand on my experience but also offer a wide variety of support services and creative opportunities to partners. We call our clients “partners,” not clients. Those organizations and industry leaders who entrust us with their communications and marketing are our partners as we work together to accomplish the end goal. This simple reference immediately gives someone a sense of how a relationship for success really works. We are in this together. We share in our partner’s goals. We like to think this makes us very different from most.

What led you to the company and what was your experience in the PR field previously?

Prior to M2M PR & Partnerships, I was very lucky to be given extraordinary opportunities with amazing companies in the entertainment industry. I spent many years at the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida leading the efforts of the broadcast marketing team. When I left Disney, I took another risk and became the production and communications liaison for Clavius Base, the production company of Tom Hanks. I had helped secure the Emmy-award winning mini-series “From the Earth to the Moon” which would go on to be produced out of Disney-MGM Studios. It was a unique and exciting opportunity I could not pass up. When the mini-series wrapped, I was named VP of Global Promotions and Public Relations for Planet Hollywood International. I oversaw a global team of some of the hardest working PR and marketing professionals in the business.

Later, I joined Universal Studios as the Director of Strategic Marketing and Promotions. I was then called by a recruiter from Nashville and asked to consider a communications position with Gibson Guitar Corp. After much thought, I joined the guitar brand as a consultant and was hired by the CEO who later named me EVP of Outreach Marketing. As the EVP of Outreach Marketing, I oversaw and managed the Global Public Relations, Entertainment Relations, Special Events and Promotions departments. The varied experience I have had in my career allows me to see a marketing plan a bit differently than what many consider traditional. I understand how many assets play a big role in  storytelling and placement for our partners.

How important is a good PR agency in the entertainment industry?

I think this question is just like asking “how important is the doctor you see?” or “how important is the school you send your children to?” I say it this way because a good PR agency is just as important. It is your way of communicating a specific message and, in some ways, the last step to having your persona, brand, name, or product in the public eye. We all know once you are in the public eye, it is hard to persuade anyone to look at it differently from what was originally portrayed.

Developing a storyline that not only tells the story but builds your brand is incredibly important. Taking the time to determine what the most important story points are and understanding the history behind it is key. Targeting media assets that make the most sense and appeal to the partner’s key audience and range is also equally important. Good PR is a critical component of success. If you have consistent PR that keeps your name or brand top-of-mind, you’re going to succeed. Targeting the right media sources to get your message out is also very important. It raises awareness and gives you a voice that is more personal than traditional advertising.

Can you tell us about some of the past and present clients Mouth to Mouth PR & Partnerships has worked with and some of the work the agency completed for them?

We’ve been so fortunate to work with so many partners, past and present. It’s hard to list them all. Some of the most fun have been musical artists because their passion also lies in telling a story but with music. I’ve worked with U2’s The Edge and legendary producer Bob Ezrin when we launched Music Rising in 2005 after the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The organization still exists today and has become a national disaster relief fund for the music industry. Les Paul, the “Father of Modern Music” and a personal hero of mine, has entrusted us with all of their PR and marketing efforts through the Les Paul Foundation, which Les actually created himself prior to his death. We are currently working with Clearbrook Hospitality in Nashville, TN providing all PR support for the opening of the Glen Campbell Museum & Rhinestone Stage which is set to open in early 2020.

We provide PR, talent relations and marketing services for Kruse GWS Auctions, a world-record-breaking memorabilia auction house in Los Angeles and we are working with America’s Toy Scout – Joel Magee – who is a regular on the hit show “Pawn Stars” and various regional shows. I am very excited to also be working with the T.J. Martell Foundation on a new social movement called “Me For You” which brings women together on a national scale for a healthier life and have done work with Fender Musical Instruments, AEG Presents, Stayhealthy Inc., Augmently Inc., and so many others, just too many to list. You can visit our website at www.m2mpr.com for more information and partner profiles.

One thing that sets us apart from others and makes M2M quite unique is our mantra and keys to success. We don’t use lofty corporate titles in our organization. We use interesting titles that have a sense of fun and energy to them. For example, my title is “Super Genius,” even though I am the founder and CEO of the company. Our creative producer lead is the “Creative Tech Head” and our production assistant is the “Most Interesting Assistant on the Planet.” It is one of the things that makes us different and gives most potential new partners a much more relaxed approach to our first conversation.

How are advances in modern technology changing the way PR is done on a daily basis?

It has made a huge difference! Technology has given us so many new avenues to pursue information, ideas and conversation. Creating opportunities that include social media,  augmented reality, virtual reality or engagement through mobile devices gives a partner an added opportunity to reach a consumer in a more engaging way.

That immediate and first-hand communication opportunity can establish huge followings and exciting opportunities, which is why we include that methodology in everything we do. With today’s modern technology, it is now easier to get your message or brand in front of an audience but it also calls for targeted content so you don’t get lost in all the chatter.

As a PR and Marketing agency, M2M offers an all-inclusive package to clients. How important is it to be a one-stop shop for clients?

I decided this day one! I want everything M2M offers to be part of the “big picture” idea. Having everything available in-house not only provides us with the opportunity to see how everything works together, but also gives us a creative advantage in sharing ideas and bringing them to life for our partners. We are all-inclusive with pricing and programs. What I mean by that is that we do not charge by the hour. Instead, we charge a flat rate fee. The reason I established this process is so partners can always stay on budget and feel as if they are getting more than what they bargained for. We are a 24/7 agency and if it takes us one hour to do the job or 50 hours, the partner always knows how much it will cost with no surprises at the end of the month. With all of the different agencies and services out there, we know how important it is to make this process as easy as possible, which is why M2M offers the “one-stop shop” experience to save our partners the hassle and time it takes to find different companies to do different jobs. This is one of the things that makes our company unique.

Caroline, how has PR changed in the last 20 years with the rise of the Internet?

Communication is now more instantaneous than ever. Competition is more “in your face” and creativity is key to keeping your partner, brand, or story out in front. The Internet has also given life to less personal approaches. What I mean is that the internet has allowed publicists and marketing reps to feel more comfortable with either sending an email as a pitch or posting messages on social media. That can work but nothing will ever replace real relationship marketing and a pitch that allows  conversation with the journalist, media outlet and producer.

Is there still a place for PR in the print format and on television or has everything gone digital these days?

Yes, yes and yes. Television remains one of the most effective ways of communicating a story. I don’t see that ever changing. What makes that “super-sized” is adding a social media campaign that runs in line with either the print or broadcast opportunity. Live streaming, mobile apps, social media ad campaigns, and a robust online presence provides increased audience participation and potential new customers or fans. Each are important, but I don’t see television going away anytime soon.

In your opinion as a PR expert, what are the best ways for your clients to reach customers?

Always look at things strategically. Explore the message and make sure it is in line with what the partner wants to accomplish. Then target key media and understand what journalists are looking for. Research editorial calendars in advance. Align everything with a coordinated digital campaign and make sure your message is relatable. Most importantly, know your facts, stay true to the partner and make it easy for the media sources by providing  creative, intriguing, timely, and entertaining content so they can’t say no.

Where is PR headed in the future and what changes will we see in the coming years?

PR is always going to be a first-hand communication experience. That won’t change. How we develop it and how we present it will. Digital services, new technology, and social interactivity will evolve and continue to allow for new opportunities across the global landscape. I also think companies are going to have to understand the importance of cause marketing and community engagement moving forward, as this adds a new dimension to overall brand essence.

Caroline, what is a day in your life like?

I don’t sleep much! Never have. A day in the life of Caroline is all about balance. I have a very supportive husband and a great family who understands my crazy schedule and long hours. My day usually begins around 5 a.m. and after two cups of coffee, I am ready to go. There are no specific hours for me as every day is different and some more demanding than others. But the key to anyone’s success, no matter what business it is, is that they recognize balance. Balance between work and family, work and personal time, and self-care. So, when I turn things off to concentrate on my family or be home with my kids, it’s just that: no emails, no screens, no texts. I had a boss at Disney named Tom Kennington, who to this day I say was the best boss I have ever had in my career. He always told me that I would be of no use to him if I didn’t allow myself time to “rearrange the molecules in my head.” I’ve never forgotten those words because it is true. Balance allows you to rejuvenate.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have a passion for interior design and architecture. I have my hands into vintage design and the hunt for treasures that may make a home a bit more personal for someone. One day I’ll be sitting in Newport, Rhode Island, (my favorite place in the U.S.) with my own place offering treasures from around the world and design ideas to whomever walks through the door. I also have this strange love for “flipping houses” every once in a while. But for right now, I am content in building compelling stories for grateful partners.

What makes you smile?

My children. Two of the most interesting people in the world. My husband isn’t too bad either!

What scares you?

Where we are going in the world today. Every day, I seem to wake up to challenging news that scares me. When I have time to think about our country’s national security and future, it concerns me greatly. I’m also deeply concerned about our environment. Climate change is real and we must do something about it. It’s a scary time in my opinion and I hope everyone keeps their eyes and ears open and takes time to understand.

Do you have any hobbies? 

Painting, interior design, treasure hunting and writing. Someday, I will write my book.

Which historical figure do you most admire?

Barack and Michelle Obama. OK, I had to name two, but my admiration for them is undeniably there. I would give pretty much anything to just sit down with them and talk.

Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?

Sorry I had to pick three!

“If I only had one dollar I would spend it on Public Relations” – Bill Gates

“The most important work that we will ever do is within the own walls of your home” – Harold B. Lee

“Everything is earned, nothing is given” – LeBron James

If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?

Peace. I would use my one power to bring peace to the world. Peace to those suffering persecution, peace to those suffering from illness, peace to those suffering from war, peace to those suffering from grief, peace to those suffering because of man’s mistakes, peace to those who are homeless and peace to those who struggle every day with mental illness.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I always like to end interviews, presentations or speeches with a point that I feel is critical to success for anyone on any level of business.  That is – Be kind to your colleagues and understand that they have something to offer.  They are there to help you look good. Take time for young people entering the business and nurture them as they are the ones that will carry your success through the next era and don’t ever forget where you came from, it is why you are who you are. We are all here for a reason and while we work hard and compete for certain levels of achievement, it is being  true to ourselves, our beliefs and our fellow partners that will make a difference in the future. Success is inevitable if you treat everyone as you would like to be treated and your reputation depends on it. Believe in yourself.

For more information on Mouth to Mouth PR & Partnerships and Caroline Galloway, please visit www.m2mpr.com

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