Breanna Suden is President & Founder of Suden PR
What's your industry?
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
I never really had any direction growing up as to what I wanted to do for a career, and I certainly had no idea what I wanted to major in college. It wasn’t until I took my first public relations class that I felt everything click into place and knew it was my calling.
A month after graduation I accepted an internship at one of the top global agencies, Weber Shandwick and completely fell in love with the industry. Since then, I’ve made a point to create a diverse portfolio of clients across industries, have worked on multi-million-dollar accounts, have met countless celebrities, and traveled the country.
Having a deep understanding of the importance of quality public relations has led me to dedicate my career to ensuring that my clients receive the highest caliber. This methodology is the crux of Suden PR, which opened amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Since opening, Suden PR has made its mark within the art and NFT communities and represents a plethora of well-known and up and coming artists across the globe. The agency also represents a variety of food and beverage, lifestyle, and entertainment clients and is always looking to add more to its impressive roster.
With years of industry experience, Suden PR converses with journalists daily and is known for securing valuable coverage amongst top-tier, consequential media outlets. Our clients have appeared on national talk shows including The Kelly Clarkson Show, Good Morning America, and The TODAY Show. They have also been featured within some of the top national and international news outlets including CNN, Fox Business, The Daily Mail, Forbes, and International Business Times, among others. Our journalist relationships are highly coveted within the industry, and we always strive to secure meaningful coverage in top-tier outlets.
What does an average day look like for you?
What initially drew me to the public relations field is that every day is completely different. While I always go into each day with a plan, I also know that the plan can change in an instant depending on the news cycle, urgent client news, unexpected crisis, etc. But let’s say the day does go as planned.
Upon waking up, I scroll on my phone and catch up on the latest news/what’s leading the morning’s news cycle. I then look through some emails and work to prepare my to do list for the day. I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home, so I move to my at-home office to fully start the day, which typically consists of meetings, drafting media materials, sending out pitches, tracking for coverage, etc.
I’m a firm believer in a healthy work-life balance, so I always try to take a full hour for lunch. Half of that usually consists of eating lunch while the other half consists of me heading out on a quick walk outside to get some fresh air. I also try and sneak in some household chores in between calls – the great perks of working from home!
I typically end the day recapping all I have accomplished and getting my inbox ready for another full day of work.
How do you balance the needs of your business with the needs of your personal life?
As mentioned before, I am a huge advocate of work-life balance. When I can, I try and take a full hour of lunch or try and/or sign off around 5:00 p.m. While I’m constantly checking my inbox (the norm of living in such a connected world), I will only respond to emails if they are urgent. If it can wait until tomorrow, it usually waits until tomorrow.
If there is ever a slower week, if my workload allows, I’ll sometimes take a half day or a full day off. I never had the opportunity to work at an agency that has summer Fridays (e.g. the office closing early every Friday May – August), so I’ve worked to implement that into my schedule when I can. Mental health is very important and is not something to mess with. I’ve been on the receiving end of burnout, stress, and anxiety in this industry, and I work hard every day to balance as much as I can.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you on your journey in business?
There are going to be a lot of difficult days where you’ll feel completely overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, but the great days make up for it. If you’re in the industry, you know that PR isn’t an exact science. What media are writing about one day they may not be writing about another. So, as you can imagine, we’ve gone through periods where we’ve struggled to get coverage for a particular client or initiative or have been pressured to get coverage in a certain outlet within a certain timeframe. But the stressful days make up for the days where we’re able to share a killer piece of coverage with a client or share a unique partnership opportunity.
What's been the hardest part about the path you've taken and how would you advise someone facing a similar situation to overcome it?
Realizing that sometimes, clients will ghost you after a new business proposal or meeting. And that’s okay.
This has happened to me a few times. After presenting a plan and proposal the clients were aligned with, they disappear. No calls, no texts, no emails. Just gone. The first time this happened I took it personally. Was it something I did wrong? Did they really hate the proposal and were just being nice? Do they want to steal my ideas and try to execute them on their own?
Since then, when this does happen, I try to turn it into a positive, into a learning experience. When working with potential clients who may have not utilized PR before, sometimes they get cold feet. Sometimes they decide it’s not worth the budget. Sometimes they just change their mind. And if so, then it wasn’t a fit anyway.
Are there any well-known Books, Podcasts, or Courses that you credit your current success to?
I owe a lot of my success to my mentors and colleagues; I wouldn’t be who I am today without a lot of them. I am especially thankful for one of my old managers, who I like to say taught me everything I know; how to think quick on my feet, how to take initiative and the lead on projects, how to successfully manage a team and a lot more. She took me under her wing and invested in me, and for that, I am forever grateful.
What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful business owner or executive to have?
The Ability To Take Risks
Starting your own business is a huge risk, and I founded Suden PR amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which, everyone thought I was crazy for doing. But I knew the risks that went into starting a business, and with everyone stuck inside their homes, I figured, what better time than now?
So, I listed the major risks associated with opening a business during that time. First and foremost, being that a lot of brands had cut back on their PR budgets and some agencies were struggling as a result. I was able to use that to my advantage as I had time on my side. I took my time setting up the agency’s website, social handles and reaching out to my network to see who was looking for PR, and by that time, companies were bringing back their budgets and hiring/rehiring agencies. I was able to win a handful of clients within the first months of operating due to the industry bouncing back.
I’ve always been very passionate about the public relations industry, my clients, and my career as a whole, it’s something I’ve worked my entire life for. And that was no different when deciding to open Suden PR.
While it was an easy choice to decide to open my own agency, I knew that my strong ambition would be key to my success. I’ve always been determined to be the best professional I can be, always pushing myself to do better and to take my work to the next level.
A Lot Of Patience
While public relations is such a fast-paced industry, it’s important to have a lot of patience. Meaning, securing media interest takes time, and just because you have interest doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll cover or write the article immediately. We’ve secured stories that have gone live within one hour and stories that have gone live within months, it completely depends on the story, the news cycle, and the journalist. With that in mind, not only do we practice patience, but we make sure that my clients are aware of the timeline of when the story will post so expectations are set and they aren’t constantly asking when the story will be up or why it may be taking longer than expected.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out as a business owner?
You need more than just passion. You need to be smart, organized and aware. There are a lot of steps that go into founding and running a business, and it’s important to know what you’re getting into and to prepare for speed bumps and hurdles.
Before founding Suden PR, I listed out everything I would need to do to be successful. This covered everything from hiring a lawyer and getting business insurance to how to conduct new business outreach and figure out what software and databases I would need. I even consulted past colleagues and experts in the industry to make sure nothing was missing. The list was LONG, but it gave me an idea of what I would need to do to get started. That way, there were no major surprises.
What are the top three things you think are essential for business success?
A clear business plan and well-defined strategy to help you identify your target audience, goals, resources, and establish a competitive advantage. It can also help you anticipate potential challenges and opportunities.
Strong leadership is essential for creating a vision, inspiring and motivating employees, and making decisions that drive the business forward. Effective leaders can also build a positive company culture and foster innovation and growth.
To stay competitive, businesses need to be adaptable and continuously learning and improving. This is especially key in the public relations industry and includes staying up-to-date on the latest news cycle and industry trends, investing in employee training and development, seeking out opportunities for innovation and growth, etc.
Do you think someone can be a great business owner without having many years of experience first?
Experience doesn’t equal success. I’ve seen people with minimal experience become super successful and people with decades of experience become stagnant. It all depends on your attitude, ambition, and drive to learn and succeed.
In general, do you think the world is producing better business owners in 2023 than it was fifty years ago?
This is an interesting question as the business landscape has changed dramatically over the past fifty years, including technological advancements, globalization, and shifting consumer preferences. These changes have led to new opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs and business owners.
Having grown up as a millennial before and during the rise of the internet and smartphones, I’ve witnessed our access to information and resources grow first-hand, making it easier for people to start and grow businesses. Advances in technology have made it possible to connect with clients and consumers worldwide, reach new markets, and streamline operations. These days, I can easily hop on a video call with a client across the country, or send something via email to Europe, something that was not as immediate before the rise of the internet.
Additionally, the rise of entrepreneurship as a career option has led to increased support and education for aspiring business owners with many people leaving their 9 to 5’s for a new opportunity.
Given all of that, there are still many challenges that business owners face today. The global economy is more competitive than ever before, and consumers are increasingly demanding when it comes to quality, sustainability, and ethical practices. There are also many regulatory and legal hurdles that can make it difficult for businesses to operate, that either didn’t exist or weren’t as strict 50 years ago. As a business owner myself, it’s important to be aware of consumer wants and needs in order to be successful. What was popular yesterday may not be popular today, and it’s vital to stay on top of the ever-changing trends.
Overall, while there have been significant advancements in resources and support for entrepreneurs, there are still many challenges that business owners will continue to face. But what’s important is that we are aware of these challenges and work every day to move past them.