Are You a Business Partner or Just a “Yes” Machine?

by KGBTexas Admin on March 3, 2015


In the time I’ve spent on both the agency and the client side of the communications business, I’ve found it is important to reflect upon what type of business partner you truly are. It’s easy to just say “yes,” to avoid conflict and make people happy, without truly reflecting on the outcome or end goal. After all, we all want to be liked, right? It’s harder to challenge a client’s decision or break the that’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it chain by saying, “no.”


But, in the end, you engage in a business partnership to either:

a.) Get help in reaching your business goals or,

b.) Help an organization in reaching its business goals.

Regardless of which side of the equation you sit on, it’s important to understand your role in order to create an effective partnership able to meet, and hopefully exceed, the defined business goals.

A business leader wants a partner that will communicate freely and respectfully, while bringing creative solutions and effective outcomes to their challenges. And as the partner who is responsible for ultimately providing those positive business solutions, we want transparency through honest communication, respect and trust.

So how do we get there … together?

Communicate. Talk openly and frequently. Learn your partner’s preferred channels and styles of communication. Listen openly to opinions and recommendations, in order to support each other.

Trust. Engage in a partnership that is open and honest. Make the environment in which you communicate a safe one. Listen with respect and speak with sincerity. Accept opinions and ask questions. Be accountable.

Be creative. Be bold enough to view challenges through a different lens. Think. Find hidden trends; take a different path and value innovation in order to find success. If you don’t reach the desired outcome, try again.

These three characteristics are hard to achieve if you are just a “yes” machine. Be bold, keep it real, and celebrate success, no matter how big or small.

- Jill Byrd


Oscar-winning Tips

by KGBTexas Admin on February 24, 2015

Hot off the press…

John Travolta awkwardly kisses Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet – Lady Gaga gives a show-stopping performance with her tribute to The Sound of Music – Neil Patrick Harris strips onstage – John Legend and Common bring the crowd to tears – and the list goes on!


Highlights of the best and worst of the Oscars will take the tabloids, race through social media, and before you know it, take a backseat to the next big thing.

Approach PR with an Oscar-winning attitude and you’ll come out on top each time.

The public relations world is a constant evolution of creativity and constant flow of information, which makes it exciting and unpredictable. It’s an industry where learning is endless. You challenge yourself, you fail and you succeed. You make changes and decisions based on past experiences.

We have one of the most influential jobs around – we build brands, we control the message and we can change perceptions. I’m sure planning for the Oscars takes all the same factors into consideration. Making adjustments based on past experiences – choosing the right host, the right performances, all the way down to choosing the best swag bag goodies. Yet, 87 years later, they can’t always control where the spotlight falls.

I mean seriously, Travolta. Last year, he was hassled for the mispronunciation of Frozen star Idina Menzel’s name… People ‘let it go’ (pun clearly intended), and he comes back this year with a side order of creepy.

Then, there are moments of clarity – a client that gets it – a show-stopping event almost as awesome as Lady Gaga’s performance.

There are even moments you hear John Legend and just want to cry.

But hold it together. Don’t let any experience go to waste. Find solutions, stay positive, and most importantly, continue learning.

-Jessica Gonzales


20 Years of Being Who We Are

by KGBTexas Admin on February 17, 2015

SNL’s 40th anniversary. Madonna still killing it at the Grammys (if you don’t believe me, check out her isolated vocals). BETTY FREAKIN’ WHITE. (And if you don’t believe she’s still got it, check out her make-out session with Bradley Cooper.)

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Watching these iconic moments and people got me to thinking about longevity, especially as KGB celebrates 20 years of creating ideas worth talking about (and I celebrate my ninth year here). How do you sustain 20+ years of working in a creative industry? How do you stay at the top of your game for that long?

Of course it requires hard work, focus, determination, consistency, innovation and a million other things, including luck. But in thinking about this, it occurred to me that KGB’s brand pillars – Bold, Strategic, Curious, and Entrepreneurial – encapsulate what it takes to go the distance. If you look at the online definitions of these words, it’s clear these traits are also shared by the long-lasting entities and people listed above:

Bold – “Showing an ability to take risks; confident.”

Strategic – “Relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.”

Curious – “Eager to know or learn something.”

Entrepreneurial – “Characterized by the taking of financial risks in the hope of profit; enterprising.”

As we celebrate our 20th year, it’s a good time to reflect on what got us here. However, what really excites me is where we’re going, and what the next two decades have in store. You think we’ve given folks 20 years of ideas worth talking about? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

- Elizabeth Marshall-Black


Missing the Madness

by KGBTexas Admin on February 5, 2015

When it comes to working in an agency, there is something completely indescribable about the environment, the people, personalities, processes and potential for absolute mayhem.

I love it.


But, my agency life took a bit of a detour in the middle. After working at KGB for four years, I reached a point in my personal and professional life where I had to pause and evaluate what I was doing. A local animal rescue group approached me to run their adoption / foster program and manage their communications. As an avid animal lover, it was the job of my dreams – but it took me a month to make the commitment and it was the hardest decision I had ever made.

I did the animal rescue thing for about a year and a half and then tried freelancing. I enjoyed both, but something was always missing.

I missed the controlled chaos. I missed never knowing what the next day would bring – heck, the next hour. And the incredible people you get to work with when in an agency is unmatched. Everyone is so unique and wildly creative. The hallway conversations will inspire you to do great things. It is just awesome.

When I left KGB I was ready to try something new. Now that I am back at KGB, I am ready to make something new. The amount of passion within these walls is palpable. The insane originality of every individual is fascinating to watch. And when we put it all together – just you watch, it’s going to be remarkable.

-Chloe Seiler


Expanding International Trade Critical for U.S. Economy

by KGBTexas Admin on February 3, 2015

Excerpted from SA to DC Trade Partners blog. To see more visit

The Obama administration sees expanded exports as key to growing the U.S. economy. Beneficiaries of international trade can be found across the country.  San Antonio is no exception.  Elizabeth Kelly from the Office of the U.S. Trade Administration, cited Concord Supply Company as an example of a small business that has looked abroad to grow its business.

To help other business follow Concord Supply’s example, the Obama administration is seeking reauthorization of the president’s trade promotion authority to conclude trade deals that open up markets for large and small U.S. businesses, deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.


Elizabeth Kelly, Erin Gulick and Patrick Kirwan speak about international trade.

Patrick Kirwan from the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce discussed the administration’s reaction to the recession of 2008.  Government spending, he said, was recognized as only a temporary fix. The goal of doubling U.S. exports, however, would have long-term benefits on the U.S. economy.

Erin Gulick, senior vice president for congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the Export-Import Bank, emphasized the importance of reauthorizing the bank. Failure to do so will put U.S. businesses at a significant disadvantage.  China, in particular, is much more aggressive in supporting the export of Chinese goods and services than the United States. Gulick expressed confidence that Congress would indeed reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

-Jonathan Gurwitz