December 1, 2021
We were honored to be selected as one of Insight Success’ 10 Most Disruptive PR Agencies this past year. Keep reading for our founder, Melissa Orozco’s shared insights on powerful storytelling, purposeful outreach, and profound impact.
Interview via Insights Success, Nov 2021 edition.
“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”
– Sir Richard Branson.
As a corporate entity, for your message to reach the right audience and make an impact, you must be au fait with the mediums that can help you achieve the right outreach. One of the most effective mediums—as the above adage suggests—is PR. With this essentiality in mind, this edition, the 10 Most Disruptive PR and Marketing Agencies, brings the spotlight on innovative and impactful PR agencies across the world. One prominent name among such agencies is Yulu PR, an award-winning PR & impact relations agency with a mission to champion social innovation by sharing stories that matter.
In the following interview, Melissa Orozco, the Founder, CEO and Chief Impact Strategist shares valuable insights into the agency’s journey so far, the challenges it came across, and her vision for Yulu’s future endeavors.
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how the company is currently positioned as a leading player in the PR and Marketing space. Yulu is a social and environmental impact communications firm that was founded on the principle of leading with impact, to tell stories that matter.
We were the first communications firm nationally to become certified B Corp, and last year, we were among the inaugural 30 impact-driven organizations in rolling out British Columbia’s newly enacted “Benefit Company” legislation.
Yulu works exclusively with brands and organizations that are interested in leveraging their platform and influence to drive positive change. To honor this policy, we have a strict client-vetting process, which results in the agency turning away about 80 percent of the new business opportunities that come in our door. When building purpose-lead strategies, it’s critical to ensure we have access and complete buy-in from the leadership team.
What other services do you offer, and how are these making an impact on the industry and your clients?
Yulu’s process always begins with a comprehensive assessment where we explore how the client is already creating a positive impact within the communities that they serve. Yulu follows this process by diving into the issues that are impacting our clients’ target audience group(s) to determine how the brand or organization can add the greatest value and impact.
At Yulu we also offer traditional PR services around strategic communications planning and execution, however all communication efforts must ladder up to the overall brand purpose. In the last 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with c-suite executives and the heads of innovation and sustainability departments to co-design CSR and impact strategies and consult on scaling impact to new markets. With my team at Yulu, I’ve consulted for global brands including Audible, ALDO, The Body Shop, Red Bull, and UNICEF.
Melissa, please brief us about your journey in the PR and Marketing industry, and how you have contributed towards Yulu’s success.
I did my first purpose-led internship while enrolled in the media studies program at Hunter College in NYC, planning a fundraising gala for VH1 called Save The Music. This gave me a glimpse into how PR could be leveraged for something meaningful, but when I started Yulu, things looked different than they do now. Back then, I recognized the consumer appetite to support brands that were built on transparency and authenticity, but “social impact” was still considered aspirational and questionable for the bottom line.
Some of the first impact-led PR campaigns we did were for nonprofits and social enterprises, including World Housing and Fuck Cancer, and it fueled my desire to do more. In 2014 under my guidance, Yulu developed a new industry discipline of PR called “impact relations”, a practice that leverages the tools of communications to influence attitudes, policies, internal systems, and human behaviors, to address some of the world’s most complex challenges. One year later, we committed to a portfolio of 100 percent cause-based clients. Our commitment paid off, as later that year Yulu became the first PR agency nationally to become a certified B Corporation and was recognized by PR Daily as North America’s Top PR Agency for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on what impact have the adoption of modern technologies such as AI, big data and machine learning had on the PR and Marketing niches and what more could be expected in the future?
At Yulu we have the privilege of working with companies on the cutting edge of technology, particularly in the clean energy, new infrastructure, and agriculture, where bright minds are using innovative technology to fight the climate crisis.
As communicators, it’s our job to make advanced technology easily digestible and understandable to both key stakeholders, and the average consumer, so our clients can continue to make a positive impact in the world. As we look ahead, PR and marketing professionals have an opportunity to play a critical role in educating the public on revolutionary technology that will be necessary to our future as a planet.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring safety of your employees at the same time?
Like most companies, during the pandemic we had to shift to a virtual office environment. As communicators by profession, we knew it would be challenging to shift away from face-to-face contact. Throughout the last year we’ve made a concerted effort to ensure our employees were able to maintain a connected workplace culture that enabled productivity.
We offered flexible working schedules for our employees balancing the challenges of caregiving during the pandemic, offered “home office stipends” to ensure all team members are equipped with a comfortable working environment, and scheduled virtual check-ins and touchpoints throughout the week that allowed the opportunity for those feeling isolated to maintain some sense of social normalcy – for example, mid-week “coffee breaks,” virtual happy hours, exercise classes, professional development opportunities, and various Slack channels for team members to share everything from good news around the globe, book & movie recommendations, and even post pictures of their pets.
We also ensured our team had access to the mental health resources available to them through our extended benefits coverage. It has been important to us to maintain team morale, while also addressing pertinent details and realities for what’s ahead and what our team members can anticipate (without speculation) as the pandemic unfolds.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the PR and Marketing space?
I always advise budding entrepreneurs to find one thing they can do better than anything else and hone their skills and focus to become a specialist in that field. The world has enough generalists – seek ways you can authentically shine and create impact within your industry.
The best piece of advice I ever received was to shoot for the moon and stick to my values. Advice I have for others looking for a career in impact relations is to understand that communication is a powerful tool that can be used as a force for good.
“"Yulu works exclusively with brands and organizations that are interested in leveraging their platform and influence to drive positive change"”
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2022?
As we continue to scale the ideology and practice of impact relations through our agency work and through the Global Impact Relations Network, Yulu is applying these allyship values to expand upon our service offering. This Fall, Yulu is launching our Expert Partner Network (EPN) to meet the
growing needs of our clients while addressing global issues.
The EPN will be comprised of leaders with deep skills and expertise across specialty services, industry sectors, and relevant issue areas. Services offered through Yulu’s Expert Partner Network will include impact consulting, brand purpose planning, public policy, and impact measurement and assessment to name a few.
Industry experts in fields such as renewable energy, agriculture and forestry, impact investing, healthcare, housing, and education, will join us in building impactful strategies to address issue areas such as accessibility, DEI, environmental justice, human rights, public health, consumption, waste, and climate change, for example. For readers who are interested in learning how to get involved, please visit www.YuluPR.com/EPN.