There are tons of large agencies that offer PR and marketing services. But smaller firms often provide more tailored and holistic services for businesses. The founder of Noon Creative learned important lessons by working at larger agencies. And now she uses those lessons in her own endeavor. Read about her journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers a variety of marketing services for businesses.
Founder Chloe Zhao told Small Business Trends, “Based in NYC, Noon Creative provides PR, marketing, social media, events services to hospitality and lifestyle brands.”
Tailoring content to each brand’s unique needs.
Zhao says, “Noon Creative is known for a holistic and tailored approach to PR and Marketing in the lifestyle industry. Specifically, the agency has helped many contemporary Chinese brands in the US enter and stay relevant to the target market. One of its expertise lies in effectively translating Chinese culture to the American audience.”
How the Business Got Started
After a successful project with a friend.
Zhao helped her best friend with PR while she opened a restaurant, MáLà Project.
She adds, “It was going so well (earned 60 media placements including NYTimes for the restaurant in the first 6 months) that other restaurant owners in the neighborhood began reaching out to her because the word had spread out.”
Winning a big client over larger agencies.
Zhao explains, “We had two months to pitch the client’s new opening against the competitor agency simultaneously. During those two months, we went out of our comfort zone and used every resource to secure as much coverage as we can, including reaching out to my high school senior whom I hadn’t talked to for years just to see if she could fit the opening into her broadcast story. We also relentlessly researched every journalist and tailored our pitch according to their topics of interests. After two months of sleepless pitching, we secured twice the amount of coverage than our competitor. Our agency was just over two years old. It felt like the biggest victory in my career.”
Pivoting away from restaurants and hospitality businesses during the pandemic.
Zhao says, “If we didn’t pivot successfully, we might have ended up not having any new clients for months, not making any revenue, and not being able to pay our employees. Luckily, we successfully signed a 6-month contract with a national food delivery app, who was at the intersection of our specialty and goal-client. Having worked with them gave us enough boost on our portfolio and made it much easier for us to reach out to other apps/e-commerce brands later on.”
Focus on dream customers from the beginning.
Zhao explains, “Even though Covid accelerated [the] shift to e-commerce by five years, people were going to shop more online for everything they need in their life. We think e-commerce is the future. So the sooner we could partner with these brands the faster we could grow and make more impact in the society.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Helping other AAPI female-owned businesses.
Zhao adds, “Being an AAPI female founder, I understand the harsh reality that women have to face when growing their businesses. If I had an extra $100,000 in my business, I would partner with a local non-profit organization and allocate those money and my resources to helping AAPI female founded businesses with my PR and marketing expertise. A lot of female-owned businesses provide great products/services but the owners don’t know how to market them. With my PR skills and the $100k, it would make a great difference in helping them survive the most crucial early stages of the business growth.”
Favorite Work Environment
Changing it up.
Zhao explains, “Because we could work anywhere with our laptops, sometimes I bring the team to libraries and parks with wifi, etc. We once went to work at MoMa and it was one of the best experiences. It gave us so much inspiration.”
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Image: Noon Creative, Chloe Zhao