PUBLISHED ON NOV 10, 2022
Meet the Message Makers: Alex Song, Founder and CEO of Proxima
Behind the never ending flow of growth company headlines is a group of innovative growth company pioneers. These pros skillfully craft their company’s story into a media-worthy conversation and we think their methods are as interesting as their stories that break through.
This week we spoke with Alex Song, Founder and CEO of data intelligence company Proxima.
When it comes to building a company narrative, Alex shared his experience using PR to shape how others view his business, and how that has ultimately contributed to his business success. Here is what the world of communications looks like from his point of view:
How has communications and PR helped to shape your business?
I believe that communications and PR can help define how the world sees your business and how you communicate to the people that matter most– whether that’s customers, investors or prospective clients. Importantly, it helps enable a strategic mindset that allows you to determine where your business fits in the competitive landscape.
It’s easier to figure out how to build your business when you understand what kind of story you want your business to be a part of and to tell. PR and communications provides a helpful feedback loop and valuable information about what you’re saying, how you’re saying it and whether it’s well-received. When you focus on telling a great story and listen carefully to feedback, you may find that responses to your story actually guide your decisions around business building.
What is one thing you have learned about success in PR and communications?
One thing I’ve learned is that there are no shortcuts; expectation management is key to executing a strong PR strategy. This is not an Instagram influencer world where you throw something out there and it goes viral. Instead, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into successful communications and in order to do it properly, both your PR team and your internal company team must invest real time and energy. Many people think, okay, I’m going to flip this switch on and next thing I know I’m going to be in The Wall Street Journal, but that’s not how it works. But when my PR team is transparent and upfront about the process and timeline, I can better anticipate what to expect (and when), and appreciate the outcome.
What has been your favorite company press piece– and why?
My passion is to alleviate the challenges and difficulties of what it takes to build a successful early stage business, so my favorite press pieces are ones that provide tangible advice to founders. The recent Fast Company article is a great example. It ties to my larger purpose of wanting to help others navigate a very challenging and difficult environment to find success in building a company. I really want the founders, operators and entrepreneurs who read this article to be prepared for what’s to come.
What is currently your favorite work/life hack (time saver, etc)? Why do you love it?
My favorite work/life hack is not using social media. One year I went to a week-long mindfulness retreat during which I had to give up my phone, Internet and television. And during that week, three important things happened: we withdrew from Afghanistan; Governor Cuomo resigned; and Obama had a COVID 60th birthday party. I didn’t know any of these things happened, and I didn’t know it for quite some time until someone else mentioned it. And it didn’t change a thing for me. Yet, if I was on social media, I probably would’ve been spending time watching these events unfold, thinking about them and commenting on them.
I realized that how you decide to absorb and take in information will have an impact on you, whether intellectually or emotionally. Controlling it on your own time is a much better approach to living a happier, more fulfilling, and more productive life. Put simply, I learned to manage my time and emotions based on my schedule, not on what my social media feed was providing or telling me to feel.
What was the best corporate gift you ever received?
I love singing telegrams. I think they’re hilarious, fun and a cool experiential thing. We do it for our team members sometimes– everything from drag queen Beyonce to a rapping gorilla to an adult man dressed in diapers. As long as they’re not terribly inappropriate, I think they’re a great way to infuse fun in the workplace and involve your team in the process.
What’s your personal PR superpower?
My personal PR superpower is being able to talk about anything to anyone. One winning strategy is to talk about things that are beyond what someone’s specifically looking for. In other words, going away from the script of what I think they want me to talk about. I’ve found that this works best when I share what is relevant in my mind, in the world, and in the industry as a whole. It also helps to be dynamic. This tends to help people feel more connection to and interest in what you’re saying.
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