In the mid-’80s, Robin Russo left Carl Byoir & Associates, one of the largest, most well-respected public-relations agencies in the world, to launch her own agency out of her basement. Going out on her own was a huge gamble, but 30 years later, it’s clear the risk paid off. Russo’s Pleasantville firm, Robin Leedy & Associates (RLA), is enjoying double-digit annual growth and is recognized as a top boutique integrated marketing agency for national over-the-counter health and wellness brands.
For Russo, rising to the top of the PR world meant staying one step ahead of the big firms. “We recognized early on that PR needed to evolve as the Internet was becoming more and more important. We made a conscious decision to embrace the new technology,” she says. “We began using social media long before most other PR firms—even the larger ones.”
With a flair for the humorous and irreverent, Russo has mastered the art of social media and recently garnered prestigious industry accolades from the Public Relations Society of America, including a coveted spot among the Best YouTube Marketing Campaign finalists and a Gold Award in Social Media Marketing. “Whether for a UTI product, a colic product, or an anti-nausea band, we’ve learned how to creatively use video to both educate and entertain. Video production for the types of brands we have is both challenging and fun—and sometimes we get the chance to be really creative and provocative,” she says.