theMIX agency startup communications

My New Year’s post for VentureBeat explains why traditional PR no longer works for startups, and underlies an announcement I want to make here and now, as we begin our 7th year in business: From 2014 forward, we at theMIX agency will no longer describe ourselves as a PR firm. We are a communications strategy and marketing boutique.

This distinction is based on the clients we choose to work with. Because they or their services are so disruptive, we must explain who they are by also telling the broader story of the market and the cultural trends they address. I first learned how to do this as a content strategist with Cisco, and it’s a strategy we apply at tMa. Creating an ongoing narrative for our clients requires so much more than a press release, which as I noted on VentureBeat, does little to drive traction or brand awareness -- it also requires editorial content, a social media strategy, and integrated outreach across many channels to many people.

Social networks have created a conversational context that we and our clients cannot ignore. We must be there at all times to engage with customers, reporters, investors, employees, and many more. Consequently, we also need to understand how social media interacts with our clients’ products, and this means also working with them on the mechanics of virality, analytics, and the product itself.

So no, we are not a PR agency or PR consultants. For our clients, we are partners, an integral part of their marketing, content, product, and social media teams. We’re communications strategists, and we’re lovers of data and technology, and we want to hold our clients accountable to the promises we make. (Just as we hold them to the promises they make, to us and to the public.) We’ve been doing this since theMIX agency started in 2007, and now we’re ready to talk about it. This blog and our Twitter feed is part of our own communication strategy, to explain ourselves to the world. I hope you join us in that conversation.

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