Experiential marketing is reaching new heights with LFB
Media Group founder Ashley Chejade-Bloom at the helm. Now EVP at BMF Media, she
gave us the scoop on LFB’s recent acquisition by BMF, detailing the barrage of
benefits their clients will reap. Fellow industry insiders will want to take
note of her entrepreneurial advice, including her top four tips for running a
successful business. We’ll take her hotel and restaurant recommendations, too.
What does your company do?
LFB Media Group is a lifestyle public relations agency specializing in hospitality, F&B, beauty, spirits, events and entertainment. We’re powered by a team of highly-inspired strategists and storytellers, with an advanced understanding of today’s multimedia landscape. Our purpose is to break through the traditional framework and engineer integrated communications strategies that increase positive awareness and meaningful engagement in a measurable way, and our programs are designed to be executable through cross-agency collaboration to solve 360 marketing challenges. We were recently acquired by BMF Media, and are now able to offer additional services across the marketing mix including experiential events, design, production, sponsorship and partnership marketing, social media and influencer engagement, content creation, data and analytics and talent procurement.
How did you start the business? What were you doing at the time?
Before founding LFB Media Group, I worked at a PR agency in NYC. I saw an opportunity to work with the hospitality industry from a lifestyle perspective and decided to branch off on my own.
At LFB, publicity is only one part of what we do. Developers and ownership groups can oftentimes be removed from what’s relevant to certain demographics, so we work with them from concept to completion to ensure that the right programming, partnerships and events are in place to achieve their goals. Then, we publicize the project. Every one of our clients, from hotel and restaurant groups to spirits brands and tourism boards, are driving lifestyle initiatives and campaigns. It’s the new normal, and we think we’ve been ahead of the curve from the get-go.
Did you have any mentors or people who inspired you along the way?
My mother is my biggest mentor. Her work ethic, energy and positive outlook on life continues to inspire and motivate me every day.
She is a woman who battled cancer twice and won, because she decided it was not going to take her down. Even fully bald, she never felt sorry for herself, or changed her life in any way… she literally told cancer to “F” off.
If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.
LFB was recently acquired by BMF Media. What was the impetus for this and what do you foresee the effects to be?
LFB has been a partner of BMF since 2010, so the acquisition was a natural evolution of the growth strategy for both companies. Through this collaboration, we can further deliver a full suite of services to meet our clients’ core business objectives.
The partnership also reflects the evolution of experiential marketing becoming the mechanism that drives effective communications strategies. With an advanced understanding of today’s multimedia landscape, we employ cross-agency collaboration to help solve 360-degree marketing challenges, and develop integrated strategies that measurably increase positive awareness and meaningful engagement for our clients.
My role at BMF is dedicated to sales strategy and innovation that will continue to advance the company’s approach and overall development.
How do you differentiate from other agencies?
BMF Media is a fully integrated experiential marketing agency, with offices in NYC, LA, Miami, Austin and London. Our collective of highly inventive Cultural Engineers designs and produces events and campaigns globally for an impressive roster of clients, but what sets us apart is the highly competitive suite of services we offer through our amplification divisions, including Digital, Talent and PR.
At the core, we ideate innovative ways to tell a brand's story and align them with relevant cultural movements, transforming them into palpable and share-worthy experiences. Our goal is to build interesting experiences that have depth while never losing sight of the audience and brand message. Through our divisions we are able to amplify these experiences with social and PR strategies to reach a wider audience and achieve broader business objectives, and use data and analytics to showcase ROI.
What do you think are the ‘hot topics’ in the communications/PR/marketing area right now?
This industry is in a constant state of evolution and we must be able to identify new trends and adapt to stay competitive. We’re continuously monitoring the rise of social media, influencer marketing and new technologies. We’re also adapting to the increased need of showcasing consumer engagement by using data/analytics to deliver a concrete ROI. The importance of establishing credibility across social and traditional media is at an all-time high and continuously top of mind. And, of course, experiential - we’re going to see more and more brands embracing experiential marketing in order to stay relevant.
In a time of huge flux in the industry, where are you focusing your agency’s efforts in terms of day-to-day work?
At BMF, we’re putting a lot of focus into data and analytics. Our clients are marketers and CMOs who are continuously looking for insights, data and analytics to drive their decision making. They realize that consumers are no longer connecting with traditional advertising, so they’re looking for more innovative ways to spend across the marketing mix and are finally giving experiential a seat at the table. In our opinion, this [experiential] is the most important part of any marketing plan because it’s the moment that allows consumers to develop a personal connection with the brand.
Experiential is about more than a pretty event – it's about creating a digital souvenir and proving how that experience is meeting specific KPIs that continue to drive decision making for a brand.
You’ve worked with dozens of leading hospitality brands. Where are some of your favorite places to drink/dine/stay right now?
To stay: JW Marriott and The Luxury Collection hotels are my go-tos in any city I travel to. The service and experience is always incredible. If I’m looking for a fun staycation, I choose Moxy Times Square.
Some of my favorite places to drink and dine are The Campbell, Marea, VANDAL, Via Carota, Llama Inn and The Roof at Viceroy Central Park.
Can you share a few of your biggest learnings in running a successful business?
#1 - Being a business owner doesn’t come with the perks of vacation time, normal office hours, a personal life, etc. When you eat what you kill, and you’re responsible for your employees’ livelihood, you have to go all in. Regardless of how challenging and competitive the market is, you must be willing to put your business first if you want it to thrive.
#2 - If you are a sole business owner, you have to be equipped to make big, and often time-sensitive decisions that will impact your business (regardless of if you have experience with the topic at hand or not), so you definitely have to be decisive, rational and cool under pressure.
#3 - Always, always, always know your numbers and understand the operations of your business inside and out.
#4 - Don’t have an ego. Put your employees and your clients/customers first. Remember, without them, there is no company.
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