We had the good fortune of connecting with Ray Drasnin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ray, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Most important factor behind my success? Be unique. Build your personal brand. When I moved to San Diego from Los Angeles, virtually no other PR firms were doing national PR. I had been trained to do celebrity PR and already worked with a number of pro athletes. So that’s exactly what I emphasized. I went after the biggest clients I could target and began landing the big boys (Debbie Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies, Hang Ten, American Express, 1-800-Got-Junk, NFL players, professional sports teams, etc.). Soon, my brand began emerging as a hip, young publicist bucking the trend to be based in LA. Instead, clients loved visiting my San Diego office and I treated them like kings when they came to town. As their brands grew, my brand grew. I started doing public speaking engagements, did a TEDx talk, and garnered thousands of dollars to deliver keynote speeches. After two decades of phenomenal growth, I was specializing in “personal branding” and billionaires were calling me to promote themselves…NOT just their products or services. The moral of the story — go after the big fish and eventually you land them and attract even more big fish. Start doing business with the “whales” and your own personal brand grows along with theirs. These days, I do almost no new business development. Clients are referred to me from previous or current clients. It’s a great position to be in and I worked hard to get there. Personal branding sets one up for long term success. Start promoting yourself creatively and professionally. Or…call a publicist who does it for a living. You’ll never look back and say it wasn’t the best decision of your life.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My History: Branding and publicizing products, professional athletes and entrepreneurs has been my career for the past 30 years. I’ve been a publicist in Los Angeles and San Diego and been blessed to represent some of the most prominent figures in professional sports, Hollywood celebrities, Fortune 100 corporations and endless entrepreneurial ventures. In 1989, I founded Drasnin Communications, a national public relations firm based in San Diego, and in 2002 launched Foundation Makers, a marketing firm targeting professional athletes. My current agency, Purple Penguin PR, is dedicated to producing high-impact, feel-good stories on behalf of our clients. My client roster reads like a “who’s who” list and I’m proud of that. Here are a few examples: Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies, American Express, General Electric, Eisenhower Medical Center, Hang Ten, Rob Dyrdek, DC Shoes, 1-800-GOT-JUNK, etc. Recently, I’ve done personal branding for a number of highly visible entrepreneurs including billionaire Peter H. Thomas who is Chairman Emeritus of Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) and Rob Hickman who was a founding member of YPO. Rob is building a massive CBD empire (Tyson Ranch) with Mike Tyson, former undisputed world heavyweight champion. In the past few years, I’ve also become a dominant force in representing powerful influencers in the CBD/marijuana industry and worked with cannabis kingpins like Cody Alt while publicizing Kushly and PureKana.
Overcoming Challenges: This one is far easier than one might expect. Here is my advice — do what you love. Wake up and be passionate about your profession. How do you get there? Do only what you love and what you’re good at. The rest is outsourced to professionals that are better and faster at it than you.
1. People do business with people they like. So I live what I preach to my children: morals, values and ethics matter more than anything else.
2. People do business with people like them. So find commonality with others and then the business aspect of that relationship falls in place. For example, if you both are from the East Coast…If you both grew up in a Jewish, Catholic (or any religion) family…If you both support the same sports team, if you both have sons/daughters that are equestrians or cross country athletes. These common elements help solidify the bond and make communicating easier and more fun.
3. Give back in your community. Become part of one or more Board of Directors. This is how one builds a personal brand. It is also the ultimate way to rub shoulders with power brokers.
4. Do whatever it takes to become a seasoned (or at least comfortable) public speaker. The person behind the microphone is always viewed as an expert. If you want to influence the masses, hone your public speaking skills and take the stage. Here is my TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2nAUCefiPk
Personal Branding: I do personal branding for a living. These clients are well know business magnates and sports icons. So I better know a few things about my own brand. Here goes… Ray Drasnin is national publicist and one hell of a storyteller. In fact, that’s what he does every day. Pitching national media outlets and sharing stories about why his clients are more newsworthy than the next guy.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I host someone in my town, it’s all about food and access. Anyone can go out to dinner, but not anyone can cook a meal that will blow your socks off. I can, and I love it. I grow my own produce and cook gourmet meals. It’s my passion and my way of showing love. Access means you get the best seat in the best restaurant, you get an invite aboard a friend’s yacht, you get to sit in box seats when you see the local sports teams and you get a behind the scenes tour of local tourist attractions. For a bit of icing on the cake, how about a meeting with a sports legend and a ride-along with the Harbor Police on a boat that will take your breath away? A great host makes a friend’s visit special. Everyone has their own friends, associates and peer group. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors and do the same in return.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This is a Shoutout to Dave Nuffer who mentored me and opened doors to endless opportunities. His love and insight made him like a second father. His brilliance made me a better man, father and businessperson. This is also a Shoutout to Harvey Mackay, whose books taught me how to become a more productive leader and a better communicator. I watched Mr. Mackay on stage every chance I had when I was just beginning my career. While we never spent more than a few minutes together, I soaked up his knowledge like a sponge. Both men encouraged me to become a mentor and I have done that now for nearly 30 years.
Other: https://purplepenguinpr.com/case-studies-overview/ https://purplepenguinpr.com/jussie-smollett-crisis-communication-plans-necessity/