Of course the entire New York Times staff does not read PRNewser obsessively. It’s just an amazing coincidence that Brandee Barker, former head of PR for Facebook, scored a full Times profile on the same day we included her in our second list of 14 tweeters to follow in 2014.
You’ve probably already seen Sheila Marikar‘s Times piece, but even if you have it’s worth a re-read to remind yourself why Barker currently serves as the go-to PR pro for startups, which all “want her on their side” at present.
Some highlights after the jump.
Since leaving Facebook in 2010, [Barker] has become perhaps the most sought-after image consultant in the start-up world, first on her own and, since March, as part of the boutique firm Pramana Collective, which also employs former heads of public relations from Twitter and Skype.
Over the past three-odd years, Barker has worked with “the founders of start-ups such as Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox as well as notable locals like Sheryl Sandberg.”
Why? In Sandberg’s words, it’s all about “her great media relationships and the energy and commitment she brings to everything she does.”
The story of Barker’s rise from journalism student to head of comms for Facebook is fascinating—we’re especially fond of the fact that she advised the company at a time when she couldn’t even use its limited product.
But the most important takeaway is that startups pursue Barker because she offers a more intimate sort of service than that which they would receive from top firms. Why does that matter? Because no matter how many “innovation wings” the top groups launch, their services will always be better suited to established brands with more generous budgets and the kind of more nuanced understanding of PR that can only come from experience.
We don’t want to make any oversized generalizations about what this shift means for the industry, but we do feel safe saying that we expect to see more shops like Pramana Collective emerge in coming years as individual PRs like Barker become known names in the startup world.