The Silicon Review
Media has changed a great deal in recent years due to rapid technological innovations. Newspaper, magazines, and trade publications have had to get a move on to alter their revenue models. With online news and social media wielding a lot of power, the power to influence is no longer with just the traditional media. These things have, together, meant big changes for both public relations and marketing. But Silicon Valley-based LMGPR has kept up with these changes and evolved with the media environment to create a multi-tiered, systematic approach to public relations called LMGPR Pulse. And it is the talk of the Valley.
The award-winning PR agency was established in 2002 and specializes in B2B and consumer technology. LMGPR Pulse is designed to leverage public relations to drive new business opportunities, increase sales and create category leadership. LMGPR offers a full range of PR and social media services delivered by a team of highly experienced and creative media and PR professionals.
So prolific is LMGPR’s stature as a public relations agency that the company not only did well in a down 2020 economy, it, in fact, helped brands launch in the midst of the pandemic. Among the important launches were the introduction of Monarch Tractor – the world’s smartest, fully electric, autonomous tractor, and the Damon HyperSport – the safest, smartest, fastest, fully connected electric motorcycle ever created. The Silicon Valley-based PR firm is truly at the pulse of the latest technological innovations.
The company is led from the front by PR-visionary Donna Loughlin, who is widely known to operate at her personal best daily, maintaining an ongoing dialogue with her clients and landing them in the headlines in top-tier business, finance, technology, consumer, and lifestyle publications. Her market expertise is vast, including automotive, AI, consumer electronics, sustainability, electric vehicles, and anything you can put in your pocket, car, or home. With LMGPR, she has secured more than a dozen personal and agency awards from global organizations. In a brief interview with us, she shed light on the importance of PR in today’s world and explained how LMGPR is the quintessential cutting-edge PR agency that everybody wants to hire. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. What is LMGPR and what was your motivation behind starting the company?
I formed LMGPR in 2002 following the economic collapse of the dot-com tech era. My primary purpose was to be the in-house PR agency for emerging tech companies in the Silicon Valley. With more than 10 years of industry experience in editorial and public relations, I opted to create my own business for more diversity and creativity in my career.
The first two years of the business, it was primarily myself working directly with venture capital companies bringing emerging technology in both business-to-business and consumer products to market. The array of products included enterprise and consumer security, IoT smart devices, home appliances, and mobile gaming. By 2010, the agency team had grown to more than 12 talented team members and the now award-winning portfolio included robotics, transportation, sustainability, and smart wearables.
Fast forward to 2021 with millions of article impressions, hundreds of launches and dozens of awards for creativity, campaigns and leadership, and we continue to be the Silicon Valley agency of choice for visionaries around the world who are shaping how we live and work. During 2020, LMGPR introduced the electric Monarch Tractor for sustainable farming and the Damon HyperSport electric superbike, proving the agency is on the pulse of the latest innovations and making emerging company leaders.
A key component to our success is a very experienced and diverse team of professionals that are highly creative and unstoppable. We pride ourselves in Leadership, Momentum and Growth (LMG), but it is also very important in knowing it’s a “we” vs. “me” team!
Q. What led you to taking that first step and setting up your own business?
Starting my own business after rising to the ranks of vice president in the corporate and agency world inspired me to create more diversity in my career. In 2004, I adopted two children and decided working for myself would provide more career flexibility. People are always seeking balance. I was seeking personal fulfillment on both regards and never looked back.
Q. What is your formula for success?
“Risk, Challenge and Reward” is a mantra that empowers me to deliver high results and impact. We like to push our clients and ourselves to see the full potential of their corporate narrative and lead them to success. Our wealth of experience in diverse markets and situations is highly regarded by our clients, from new product introductions and crisis communications to SPACs and IPOs. Often, we have to shift strategies very quickly and recalibrate goals, but our steadfast promise to our clients is to make an impact that will move their business forward. The end result is building trust and integrity in our engagement, which is essential for overall success. Additionally, it’s important to be agile as the market, economy and competition can change abruptly.
Q. How do you learn the culture of the company in-and-out before devising a PR/Communication strategy?
During the exploratory process of working with clients, we often do an internal and market influencer audit. From these discussions, we learn a lot about the company values, inspiration and vision. This is personally one of my favorite aspects of developing client relationships. Looking at the entire company and market landscape fosters creativity in looking at things differently and pushing the envelope in creating a strategic framework for success. Sometimes, these are 1:1 napkin conversations over lunch and other times they are Zoom white-board talks involving teams.
Q. How do you work with companies to build brand integrity?
Building a brand is more than the company logo. Integrity in business is very important to establishing a trusted brand from user experience to the stock value. Often, we work with human resources, sales, business development, as well as the C-suite to ensure that communications and consistency in the company story are achieved. We also aim to make businesses bigger than their products. Thought leadership is a key component of our PR programs. We push our clients to become industry leaders by having them speak out on emerging and trending topics as well news of the day. This validates our clients as respected experts in their fields from customers and the media alike.
Listening to the market, our customers and our instincts allows us to be relevant and ensure we have looked at all possible positioning angles.
Q. Marketing communications is more than just a method of promoting a brand. How do you help your clients develop a strategic vision about leveraging on various marketing opportunities?
Customer engagement provides an unbiased way to garner feedback and ensures that the company and product are seen favorably. This constant feedback loop is important for public perception and for adoption. PR, when done right, should help drive revenue, but also evaluation. It is very important to recalibrate the program direction if neither are moving forward.
Q. Staying ahead of trends is something today’s PR and communications firms must do. How do you manage to stay a step ahead of the competition?
We not only read about tech, but experience it firsthand often in the lab – way before market. The market analyst and the media both influence some of these trends, but being part of setting trends is very exciting. We have worked with the first autonomous robots, industrial augmented reality, a 3D-printed supercar, high-performance EV motorcycles and powertrains, AI home security, disinfecting robots, a smart autonomous tractor, and even the future of manufacturing.
Q. It was tough, and it is still, for businesses to manage customer expectations to protect their reputation during the pandemic. As an experienced and award-winning PR influencer and market evangelist, what is your ‘friend in need’ approach for businesses to make it through the crisis?
During the pandemic, the work dynamic changed for everyone. We always make it a point to ensure we are sincere in asking how our peers and clients are doing in the midst of the pandemic. Zoom calls have become a common communication over meetings and have become quite fun and engaging. Dogs, kids, and even an occasional housekeeper make appearances, keeping the meetings realistic, yet productive. Our engagement is highly collaborative, not transactional, so we use email, Zoom, Slack, and other communications tools to stay connected.
I am pleased that 100 percent of our clients have continued to operate during COVID and many have had banner years. We worked with each client to find creative opportunities to insert themselves into the COVID discussion. Many of our clients had offerings that could directly benefit people adjusting to this “new normal.” It was our job to find the sweet spot for each client to join the conversation.
Q. What does the future hold for LMGPR and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
We have started 2021 with some very cool companies that will change the face of agriculture, transportation, robotics, AI, manufacturing, and sustainability. These include Monarch Tractors getting to work in the fields, the first test rides of the Damon HyperSport later this year, Arris’ upcoming unveiling of an even more sustainable path forward for manufacturing, Verdigris making smart buildings smarter than ever before, and Wrightspeed electrifying the medium and heavy-duty trucking industry. These are the new titans of change converging several technologies and it’s very exciting to be part of their journey. The future of how we live and work changes constantly and inspires us daily.
The Visionary Founder
President and Founder
She is known for her work with futurists and innovators, and moving their businesses forward. She is also known for her results-oriented PR programs, dedication to her clients, and constant enthusiasm for new innovation. Both C-level management and venture capitalists have praised her strategic public relations programs that have strengthened brands, catapulted companies to market leadership, secured loyal customer followings, and driven revenue. The industry veteran has ushered in five personal IPOs and taken hundreds of startups from the street to headline news.
Prior to establishing LMGPR, Donna spent more than 10 years leading creative PR programs for several high-profile consumer and business services and IPOs in Silicon Valley for global market leaders in the consumer and business tech sectors. Additionally, she held leadership positions with global PR firms Burson-Marsteller and Edelman Public Relations. Earlier in her career, she got her journalism chops in several markets working for Washington Post, NPR, Reuters, and BBC.
Donna holds a Masters in Communications from UC Berkeley and Marketing and Advertising degrees from San Jose State University and UC Berkeley, respectively. She is the host of a new podcast “Before It Happened” focusing on visionaries and the future they imagine.