Elevate Your Brand with Meaghan Shanley’s PR Tips for Designers

Brand Lift host, Tori Sikkema, discusses Marketing, PR, Styling, Photography, and trends to help you grow your brand

Meaghan Shanley, Design Publicist and PR Consultant

Meaghan Shanley is the founder of Evergreen PR, a boutique agency driven by her desire for a more personalized approach to client relationships. Her goal is to ensure clients feel seen, heard, and celebrated while providing invaluable support in achieving their business goals. With over a decade of public relations expertise, Meaghan is a highly experienced PR consultant specializing in interior design. Her impressive track record demonstrates her ability to connect designers with the right audiences and showcase their work in the best possible light.

Throughout her extensive PR career, Meaghan has collaborated with iconic design luminaries, including Sasha Bikoff, Plain English, de Gournay, and Hollywood’s go-to interior designer, Brigette Romanek, for her vintage-inspired furniture line with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Founding Evergreen PR in 2022, Meaghan drew from her experience in both boutique and large-scale PR agencies, recognizing the importance of a genuine connection with clients. Working one-on-one with interior designers, her approach is collaborative, educational, and sustainable for long-term success.

Get inspired as Meaghan shares her expertise in interior design PR, her strategies for connecting designers with high-net-worth clients, and her passion for elevating brands through creative storytelling and strategic public relations.

[6:46] BUILDING A STRONG CLIENT-PR RELATIONSHIP

When it comes to PR, it’s not just about the numbers or the media coverage; it’s about the people behind the brand. Meaghan points out that your ideal client should be someone with whom you share a connection, mutual trust, and respect. These qualities form the foundation of a successful partnership.

A virtual connection can be as impactful as an in-person meeting. Being responsive and proactive is essential. The client should feel confident that their PR representative will assist them.

  • One of the key insights Meaghan shares is the power of authentic storytelling. Your experiences can become valuable content for media pitches. Sharing these unique experiences can humanize your brand or persona, making it more relatable to your target audience.
  • While PR professionals are experts in navigating the changing media landscape, clients should always feel comfortable expressing their preferences. Meaghan believes in the importance of having conversations about what the client wants, more or less specific publications they’re keen on, and their overall goals.

[9:27] UNDERSTANDING WHAT PR IS AND ISN’T

PR is not a guaranteed outcome; it involves organically pitching stories to editors and hoping they’ll be shared with readers. Unlike marketing, which focuses on promoting your service directly, PR relies on earned media – the result of successful storytelling. Meaghan acknowledges that while it may not always yield immediate returns, successful PR has numerous benefits:

  • Word of Mouth: Over time, it increases positive word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Targeted Clientele: It helps attract the right clients for your business.
  • Trade Relationships: PR can lead to new trade partnerships.
  • Online Presence: It drives traffic to your website and boosts social media engagement.
  • Increased Fees: Successful PR allows you to charge higher fees due to your credibility.
  • Marketing Material: PR results can be used in newsletters, blogs, and social media.
  • Long-Term Value: It enhances your brand’s reputation, aiding future business endeavors.

PR is all about how people perceive, experience, and interact with your brand. It’s that elusive “buzz” that captures the attention of your target audience and persuades them to engage with your services or products.

“You’re in the intimacy business; you create moments with textures, colors, and objects.”

Adam Davidson (author of The Passion Economy: The New Rules for Thriving in the 21st Century)

[16:31] THE REALITY OF TIME IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

Meaghan experience in running her PR firm, Evergreen PR, has taught her a valuable lesson that she wants all potential clients to understand:

“Press takes time.”

Meaghan Shanley

This fundamental truth often gets overshadowed by the desire for quick results. Clients sometimes approach PR professionals with the misconception that within a month, they can turn around significant and timely features in the media.

The essence of PR lies in building relationships with editors and becoming a reliable source for them and their readers. Editors are real people who can’t be controlled like advertising placements can. Therefore, it’s essential to respect the editorial process and recognize that building these relationships takes time.

“Earned media, which is organically pitching these stories you’re not paying for, is the result of super strong storytelling, consistency, strategy being very intentional about the story you’re telling.”

Meaghan Shanley

[22:14] WHAT IS A SUCCESSFUL PR STRATEGY FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS?

What do you want your clients to know about you? Successful interior designers don’t just create beautiful spaces; they tell compelling stories through their work. To set yourself apart, narrow down your story and avoid generalizations. Infuse your personality into your narrative, and ask yourself why you do what you do beyond financial gain.

While interior designers excel at crafting visual narratives through their work, translating these narratives into words that resonate with clients can be challenging. Meaghan highlights the difficulty of designers being “too immersed” in their work, and this is where branding specialists can assist. They can ask probing questions to help designers articulate their vision verbally.

Photography plays a significant role in visual storytelling. Meaghan emphasizes that professional photography is essential to support your messaging. Whether for PR, your website, or advertising, high-quality images are your most potent selling tool.

Meaghan also offers some photography tips that editors appreciate:

  • Not cutting off chair legs in straight-on shots,
  • Shooting with the lights off to avoid a real estate look, and
  • When planning your shot list, consider capturing the unique stories within each design element.

Crafting a successful PR strategy requires a deep understanding of your design narrative, effective communication, and the use of professional photography to bring your vision to life.

[33:26] MEAGHAN CONSISTENTLY DELIVERS FOR HER CLIENTS

With Ahmad AbouZanat, an emerging designer based in both New York City and Texas. Meaghan took on the challenge of working with him, aiming to establish his presence in the interior design industry. Over the course of a year, their collaboration bore fruit, showcasing the incredible impact of a consistent branding strategy.

Meaghan’s Approach and Ahmad’s Success: The focus was clear: position him as an up-and-coming designer dedicated to crafting modern, elegant interiors with functionality at the forefront. Meaghan strategically highlighted Ahmad’s notable projects in iconic New York City buildings, emphasizing his unique design approach.

The Results of Consistency: The efforts paid off significantly. Within a year, Ahmad secured a coveted spot on House Beautiful’s Next Wave list, an accomplishment that speaks volumes about the effectiveness of Meaghan’s consistent messaging. Three Home Tour features, over 25 press mentions, and participation in the prestigious Kips Bay Decorator Show House followed suit. To top it off, Christie’s International Real Estate Magazine recognized Ahmad as a design visionary.

Meaghan’s Advice on Consistency: Meaghan’s success with Ahmad AbouZanat serves as a testament to the transformative power of consistency. In her own words, maintaining a focused message throughout all their pitching efforts was key to securing these accolades.

[35:24] WHAT SETS EVERGREEN PR APART IN THE WORLD OF INTERIOR DESIGN PR

There are many talented design publicists in the industry, each with their unique niches and areas of expertise. Some work with designers and influencers, while others focus on project placement or larger home brands. Some specialize in sustainability, while others have broader specializations. The diversity within the PR landscape for interior design is what keeps the industry vibrant and dynamic.

So, what makes Evergreen PR different? Meaghan’s approach to PR is deeply rooted in her passion for working with interior designers. She exclusively collaborates with interior designers, which sets her agency apart. This singular focus allows her to fully immerse herself in her clients’ worlds and provide personalized, one-on-one attention.

“I really don’t think that there is a secret sauce. I think there’s so many talented design publicists out there. If you’re an interior designer, I think it’s about aligning yourself with the one that you connect with, not only on a personal level, but that aligns with your brand and your firm.”

Meaghan Shanley

Meaghan strategic approach to connecting interior designers with high-net-worth clients is grounded in niche specialization, aligned messaging, and targeted networking. By understanding the preferences and habits of their ideal clients and positioning themselves strategically, designers can successfully attract high-net-worth individuals seeking their unique design expertise.

Good luck, and let me know how these tips help you to grow your community!

Until next time, take one new action that lifts up your brand!Tune in for Branding, Marketing, and Business

Ready to bring your next design project to life through captivating photography and styling? Let’s collaborate to capture the essence of your work. Contact me today, and let’s make your design vision a visual masterpiece

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Meaghan Shanley:

Website: https://www.evergreenprconsulting.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/evergreenprconsulting/

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  1. […] As my dear friend, Meaghan Shanley, Evergreen PR says, (read more in my Brand Lift Podcast interview with Meaghan here) […]

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