Innovative global agency has rewritten the rules of PR while helping hundreds of companies launch new products, increase sales, create shareholder value and attract potential buyers
ATLANTA--Calysto Communications, a global public relations and social media marketing firm focused on the broadcasting, telecommunications and wireless industries, today celebrates a 10-year history of reinventing public relations.
Back in February 1999, Laura Borgstede founded Calysto Communications to focus specifically on serving the public relations needs of the telecommunications industry. Of course, she could not realize at the time how different her company – and the technology industry – would look just 10 years later.
The technology industry has lived through a boom, a bubble burst, another boom and is now (like all industries) struggling thanks to the current major economic downturn. Meanwhile, Calysto has survived and thrived by helping companies focus on one thing: developing and executing public relations strategies that contribute directly to the bottom line.
“By being flexible with our budgeting as well as communications strategies for our clients and focusing on results, Calysto has helped hundreds of companies drive equity and attract new customers using a strategic approach to public relations,” said Borgstede.
“For instance, in the last 10 years, more than 20 Calysto clients have used public relations to help drive awareness of their company to attract potential buyers. Others have seen their share price jump after a major PR or trade show campaign that Calysto managed,” Borgstede said. “And as recently as a few weeks ago, one Calysto client was able to schedule a meeting with a large wireless carrier thanks to the coverage we secured from a simple press release.”
Thanks to its focus on delivering quantifiable results for its clients, Calysto’s team has grown to more than 50 U.S.-based senior-level-only executives. These associates help deliver a full suite of services to emerging and established business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations in the broadcasting, telecommunications and wireless industries.
Helping its Clients Go Global
Part of the reason Calysto has thrived in the last decade is by recognizing trends in the industry – and helping its clients take full advantage of those trends. For instance, just a few years ago, after realizing that many more wireless and telecom players – both big and small – were doing business globally, Calysto began forging relationships with international PR personnel.
The result: Calysto now has local presence in more than 63 countries. Having a locally based Calysto team means that Calysto team members have personal relationships with the local media, speak the language and live the culture, which makes them uniquely qualified to help clients deliver a more effective, targeted message in each market.
Calysto’s regional presence also means clients can work with a local press office in their native language as well as localize the delivery of news, including translation and distribution.
Calysto’s global capabilities are unusual for a mid-sized public relations firm and offer its clients an incredible advantage in their efforts to capture the attention of a worldwide audience. For example, when Calysto client Unkasoft secured a key agreement with Microsoft, the company wanted to get the word out in Europe in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
“When we were ready to announce our agreement with Microsoft, we asked our team members at Calysto to expand the reach of our public relations efforts to include a few select countries overseas,” said Laura Jáñez Morán, key account manager for Unkasoft. “Within just a few weeks, our U.S.-based Calysto team members had worked with Calysto’s contacts in Europe to secure meetings with several key media there. This was a very economical way to achieve the coverage we wanted, and we did it without incurring the expense of posting the release on the international wire.”
Building a New Model for Success
Like all successful companies, Calysto has expanded its mission and its business as it has evolved. For instance, until 2007, Calysto was a successful agency based on a traditional pyramid business model, where senior level executives managed mid- and junior-level staff members.
However, in 2006 and early 2007, Calysto took a look at this traditional business model and the turnover in mid-level personnel that occurs in all PR agencies. At that point, Calysto decided to revolutionize the PR agency world and build a new type of public relations agency – one where candidates are hired based on experience, not location. Since 2007, Calysto has successfully migrated its operations to a radical new distributed model to better support Calysto’s clients.
Each member of the Calysto team now brings anywhere from 10 to 25+ years of experience in public relations and marketing to Calysto clients. Each team member also has at least as many years of experience in communications technology; more than 50 percent of the team has both client-side and agency experience.
The “new” Calysto is a “distributed workforce.” This is not a “virtual” agency, as it provides an entirely new networking infrastructure for the agency using a “software as a service” or cloud computing operations model to make it easy for team members across the world to work together. The Calysto team can securely share files as well as access Calysto’s custom-built media databases, time tracking system and unified communications.
“After switching to a distributed agency model, the biggest surprise has been how much our clients love it. Many companies are simply tired of the ‘bait and switch’ you get from most PR agencies – where the client work starts with a senior-level team and then after a few months the PR work is done by junior associates,” said Borgstede. “At Calysto, we simply don’t hire any junior associates. And that means every single piece of client work is completed by one of our seasoned PR professionals.”
Ironically, given that her team is located across the country, today Laura Borgstede again spends many days – at least those when she is not travelling – working in the same place where she launched the company 10 years ago: her home.
Helping Clients Navigate a Changing Economic Environment
Calysto allows maximum flexibility for clients in regard to financial planning – which has been particularly important in challenging economic environments like the one the technology industry experienced in 2000/2001 and the one we’re experiencing again in 2009.
Calysto clients are also not forced to pay a set retainer for services each month; instead, they pay only for the hours Calysto spends publicizing their business. As a company’s marketing and PR priorities spike and dip throughout the year, so do their PR budgets. This allows clients much more flexibility in their PR activities.
Calysto works with each client to develop a unified public relations campaign strategy, for both their U.S.-based and their international activities. Clients benefit from having one team, one strategy, one budget and one invoice. Additionally, clients don’t have to hire agencies in each region of the world on a permanent or project basis. Calysto can supplement an ongoing PR campaign by adding a team country-by-country for either a short project (such as a one-month product launch) or an ongoing campaign.
Building on a History Packed with Accomplishments
Calysto’s accomplishments have been independently recognized by many organizations. In July 2007 and again in July 2008, Calysto was named one of the top five mid-sized PR agencies in a survey of 300 IT journalists by PRSourceCode. Calysto was also recently named as a finalist for the 2008 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
In addition, more than 25,000 readers of Calysto’s PR Vibes™ newsletter tap into Calysto’s industry knowledge each week. Calysto’s PR Vibes e-newsletter provides insight into broadcasting, telecommunications & wireless tradeshows and also covers career moves made by the media and analysts covering the technology industry.
But Laura Borgstede has never been one to let the agency that she founded just rest on its laurels. That’s why this year, Calysto is shaking up the public relations industry once again by being the first PR firm in the telecom industry to launch a social media marketing practice.
“Individuals are moving away from placing their trust solely in ‘traditional media’ and are migrating toward content created by online and social networking communities such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, digg and the blogosphere,” said Borgstede. “In fact, according to Forrester Research, three in four of U.S. adults who are online now use social media tools to connect with each other. Calysto has already helped several of its clients incorporate social media strategies into their overall marketing and PR campaigns and looks forward to managing many more successful social media campaigns in the future.”
Calysto has developed a white paper entitled “The Changing Role of Marketing and PR in the New Age of Social Media.” The paper addresses ways in which companies (even B2B companies) can tap into today’s media and the large and influential audiences that power it. For more information on the white paper, contact Calysto.
About Calysto Communications
Founded in 1999, Calysto Communications (www.calysto.com) is a global public relations and social media marketing firm focused solely on the specialized needs of the technology industry in the broadcasting, telecommunications, and wireless sectors. We provide a full suite of services to emerging and established business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations. Unlike general technology PR firms, Calysto leverages its deep industry knowledge and intimate relationships with market influencers to deliver unmatched industry mindshare, analyst coverage and media publicity to our clients. Our all-senior management team uses a strategy-driven approach proven to help Calysto clients drive sales, create value for shareholders, move toward liquidity or raise overall awareness. Calysto also publishes a free e-newsletter, PR Vibes™ (www.prvibes.com), which provides industry players with insight into media and analyst moves around the industry; industry events and tradeshows; and trends in marketing and public relations.