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Lessons in marketing

Tina Zafiropoulos' 21st century technological prowess and resourcefulness taking the Sydney PR industry by storm

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Tina Zafiropoulos with her client, owner of Coffee Box Espresso Vasili Doukakis.

13 April 2016

The most important asset in the PR industry is excelling in relationship building - a strength Tina Zafiropoulos' company has dominated.

At only 24, the Australian-born founder and director of Sydney Public Relations leads a powerful team of innovators who combine traditional PR and marketing approaches with modern ideas.

Sydney Public Relations wields national media contacts and has built long-term relationships with renowned influencers and recognised names in Australian media. Tina and her team frequently liaise with an array of other public relations agencies, high-profile businesses, stylists, bloggers, columnists and publishers, curating tailored strategies to suit leading lifestyle, hospitality, beauty, travel and corporate brands.

"We have a track record of exceptional PR and marketing results placing our clients in the largest national newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and across digital platforms that boast the equivalent traffic to millions of dollars worth of advertising," Tina tells Neos Kosmos.
"There hasn't been a client we haven't guaranteed press for and what we've achieved for both startup and highly-recognised brands speaks for itself."

With an unmatched dedication she uses her passion to guide the well-established SPR clients towards greater brand presence, representation and success. Her daily schedule is packed with PR activations and stunts, product and event launches, content creation, social media management as well as formulating new collaborations.

"I don't ever do much outside of work," she admits, "but I always make time for exercise and short little travel trips across Australia."

Tina managed to find some time between meetings and events to answer our questions and share some of her secrets to success.

When did you discover you were interested in PR and marketing?
My journey into PR was very impulsive. I originally had my heart set on being a history and English secondary school teacher, however, upon finishing my degree I somehow lost that initial passion. Throughout university one of my hobbies was writing a food blog and a myriad of PRs were sending me to different restaurants to create content for them, which intrigued me. I was inspired and started taking more notice of what it was like building businesses and growing brands; it was an industry I immediately knew I was suited to.

What made you decide to start your own PR agency so early on?
I trialled at a renowned PR agency which then asked me to begin work full-time, however, I was so swiftly learning the ropes, and creating some of my own, that I decided to start my own agency at 22 years old. Some called me absolutely crazy but I had a somewhat irrational, considering I had no background in PR, faith in myself that I could do it. It wasn't rocket science to just pitch to journalists about stories that I thought would interest them, and send products to influencers who wanted to endorse them. These were the basics. I then, through experience, learnt about the technicalities of public relations like PR damage control, large-scale brand sponsorship, measuring results, effectiveness and so on.

How long did it take your business to take off?
It took a month to acquire my first client, SpotJobs.com, who I owe much to, as both founders really trusted their national brand with me marketing wise. Within the first month we held a 300-person business breakfast with Mark Bouris, and fast forward to a year later, the brand acquired millions of dollars worth of press space.

What principles and strategies do you follow to ensure success?
Resilience is, to me, the most important asset one can have in business. How fast can you get back up? In any industry people are consistently faced with setbacks and it is those who jump back up the fastest who you often find do the best. That, and work, work, work. I personally don't believe in work-life balance by its traditional definition, because if you truly love what you do, your adrenaline is just consistently pumping with new ideas and opportunities. At SPR we create well-researched and creatively executed strategies alongside your team to ensure your brand is at the forefront of all. Our clients have also always revelled in our copy-writing skills and we're the first to be phoned when our clients want an inspiring and strategic chat about branding, advertising and the future direction of their business.

Behind the scenes.

What is your biggest strength?
Guts and problem solving. It's so important to not be afraid. If it is a high-profile person I want to contact, or an event we want to be a part of, the worst that can happen is to get a "no" for an answer. I prefer to solve a problem that might come up before I present it to my client. Otherwise I will make sure I suggest a potential solution and then allow them to decide. It alleviates much stress and leaves them with more thinking space. I guess I would describe myself as someone with too much energy and my mind wanders off in a million different directions.

Do you have a strong connection to your Greek heritage?
My family is originally from Patras. Although I was born in Australia, Greek was the first language I spoke and my siblings and I learnt it entirely from my grandmother. My late grandmother was by far my greatest inspiration. At 96, the woman was pure warrior and it is exactly this strength that I have always drawn from and looked up to.

What clients have you worked with?
I've worked with a myriad of clients in the past two years, however some of my favourites would be Stolen Recipe ice tea - a freshly-brewed ice tea beverage available nationally. Stain Cafe in Lane Cove and Coffee Box in Darling Harbour also have incredible founders who I love working with. To be honest, I just love working with genuine business owners and this is one of the biggest things I look for in a client. You wouldn't believe the number of clients I've knocked back because they just don't fit this brief. A few more great clients include; news gossip columnist Ros Reines, Ideapod.com endorsed by Richard Branson, Sensi Vini Wines, Passiontree Velvet, a chain of dessert bars, etc.

Any new projects coming up?
We've just acquired Yamaha Audio Visual as a client, which is a really exciting step for Sydney Public Relations. Yamaha are the pioneers of many industries internationally, notably AV equipment, so we can't wait to produce some amazing national media campaigns for this team in 2016. Sydney PR has also partnered up on an exciting new marketing tech project called Phlanx.com, so very excited to roll this new baby out over the course of the year.

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