Agency Profile: Boldt Communications Inc.

CPRS Vancouver sat down with Lesli Boldt, President of Boldt Communications Inc. to find out more about the agency, here's what Lesli had to say:

When was Boldt Communications established?

I founded Boldt Communications back back in 2001, when I first began my consulting career, after over a decade in various communications roles in the BC government and with Vancity Credit Union.

What was the concept behind the formation of the firm?

I accepted a two-year in-house contract at the Project Manager for 2010 Host City Communications for the City of Vancouver in 2008. When the 2010 Winter Games came to an end, I knew I wanted to go back to consulting and build a boutique agency. In January 2011, I built and incorporated Boldt Communications Inc. - and the company had been growing ever since.

Our boutique business model allows us to offer excellence in counsel and service, while keeping our overhead low and our rates competitive. Boldt tends to focus our business on serving successful mid-size firms, public sector organizations and non-profits that share our values, and this approach has worked really well for us.

How big is your agency?

We have a team of four internal consultants at Boldt, and another half-dozen associates that work with us at any given time on a project basis. Our flexible team model works well in that we’ve got the bench strength to work on larger or more complex projects, while keeping things simple and streamlined…and my stress level in check.

What does a typical day at Boldt Communications look like?

We spend most of our time on communications and marketing strategy and project management, but it’s not unusual for all heck to break loose when a client is faced with an emerging media issue, or requires us to pull together a major national campaign in just a few weeks. It’s a nice balance that keeps us busy day-to-day, while providing the shots of adrenaline that make our business exciting and so much fun.

How has PR changed for Boldt Communications over the past few years – has it changed any of the work your agency does?

When we first entered the public relations space over a decade ago, PR practitioners (including Boldt) typically relied solely journalists to help tell our clients’ stories. The explosion of social media and myriad online channels - combined with the fragmentation of audiences this change has fed – means that so-called “mainstream media” is only one channel through which our clients can now communicate, and MSM isn’t always the right channel. Interestingly, we’ve found this fragmentation has also led to a renaissance in good, old-fashioned face-to-face communications.

The change in the industry one of the reasons Boldt calls ourselves a marketing communications firm rather than a PR firm. When serving our clients, we don’t just look at news media, but at all the channels available. Our job is to help guide our clients in finding and using the channels that will best help them to reach their customers and target audiences.

What sets your agency apart from the others in Vancouver?

We fill a niche in the public relations and marketing communications industry that wasn’t really being filled by larger traditional agencies. Our typical client is a company or organization that’s achieved a level of success where they want – and need – the same quality of senior communications and marketing counsel that a larger agency would offer, but with the personal service – and competitive rates – offered by a smaller consultancy.

We’re also unique in that we take a values-based approach to business, and live our values in how we do business. That means we only work with companies and organizations that share our values. This approach is the foundation of our reputation and has attracted some incredible clients. It is also the source of strong and enduring relationships with our clients, where we’re each invested in each other’s success. And really, when it comes to job satisfaction, it doesn’t get any better than that.

What would you say Boldt “specializes in”?

We specialize in awesome. Seriously…while we can do just about anything – from websites to videos to press conferences and book tours - our strength is in strategic marketing communications planning. On the execution side of things, we specialize in media relations, public affairs and social media outreach, with some pretty impressive skills in research and marketing project management to boot. There are few firms in Vancouver that share our issues management and crisis communications skills and bench strength, and we write really, really well.

What would your associates and consultants say makes Boldt appealing to work for?

As a small company of experienced professionals, Boldt is a pretty flat operation, and so while everyone has a different role to play, we’re all equals in each other’s eyes. With that mutual respect comes a lot of job satisfaction. We are also flexible with office hours when it makes sense, which is great for enjoying the better things in life. Boldt team members also get the recognition they deserve – most of our associates work directly with our clients, and get credit for a job well done. We work with cool clients on cool projects. And we have a chaise in the office for the occasional power nap.

Tell us about a campaign Boldt is most known for or proud of.

Of late, we’re probably best known for our work on the Village on False Creek with Rennie Marketing Systems and the Receiver for the Village, Ernst & Young. We’ve been on the Village team since 2010 and we’ve certainly been through a lot together. Today, the Village is a thriving community that Vancouver is – rightly – in love with. We’re so proud to be part of this success story.

What does your current client portfolio look like and who does it consist of?

Our clients tend to be successful local businesses – including a real estate marketer, several credit unions and a successful local bakery – and we also work closely with a broad range of not-for-profit clients that focus on health and mental health promotion, environmental conservation and advocacy, and First Nations issues. And we’ve worked with accounting firms, landscape gardeners, and even eBay – we do it all.

Do you have anything new and exciting coming up?

Yes! This fall, Boldt is offering our first-ever seminar series: Consulting Basics for Professionals. It’s a three-course series offered between September through November 2013, designed for professionals – including parents returning to work, graduate students and mid-career professionals – who are considering a career in consulting, but don’t know where to start.

Participants will learn about whether consulting is right for them – some of the advantages and disadvantages – from experienced entrepreneurs, and we’ll also go over the basics of setting up your own business. Space is still available for the October and November seminars. Visit our website for more information or to register.

Visit Boldt Communications or contact Lesli Boldt at hello@boldtcommunications.com (or 604-662-3500) for more information.

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