For more than 20 years Great Ink – one of the nation’s leading real estate public relations firms — has been focused on two things: getting “great ink” for its clients; and assembling a dedicated, stable team of outstanding professionals to deliver that “ink” every day.
“I’m as proud of the quality and longevity of my team as I am of our amazing client list and work we perform,” says Roxanne Donovan, Great Ink’s founder and president.
“The PR world is acknowledged for its journeyman mentality, but I’m fortunate to have a group of professionals who are committed to working together to achieve the best results – promoting and protecting our clients – for many years as a consistent force.”
This consistency (half of Great Ink’s staff has been at the company for 10 years or more) breeds tremendous benefits for the firm’s 40-plus customers.
Since Great Ink focuses exclusively on public relations work for the real estate industry, the professionals at the firm become expert (or at least well-versed) in all aspects of the built environment.
“We really understand the businesses, language and nuance of real estate, from construction, design and finance through to marketing, leasing, sale and management, across all asset classes and throughout the United States,” says Eric Gerard, Great Ink senior vice president, whose 18 years with the firm were proceeded by seven years as editor of Real Estate Weekly.
“We’re able to help our clients tell their stories because we understand the stories and the ever-changing landscape of real estate media we can mine for coverage.”
Great Ink Vice President Eric Waters who has more than a decade at Great Ink adds, “We’re also used to a very specific, proactive methodology. Great Ink is all about results and our team thrives when we are pushing for the story that helps our client share their news, elevate their brand or craft a strong identity. It’s a fast-paced environment and our team is made up of people who get a thrill every time they see a story they bring forward get published.
“We never take it for granted, and we’re always moving on to the next story and opportunity for our clients. It doesn’t suit everyone, but those who are hungry for results really make it at Great Ink.”
The Great Ink methodology – thoughtful, strategic and proactive – also makes for long-term client relationships. NCB, Fried Frank, CBRE, Jonathan Rose Companies, Kalmon Dolgin, Broad Street Development, Savitt Partners, Thornton Tomasetti Group, RADCO Companies, Stuart Saft, Praedium Group and Treeline Companies have all worked with Great Ink for 10 years or more.
Other Great Ink clients include Syska Hennessey Group, Hines, Callahan Capital Partners, Avison Young, Building and Land Technology, Fairstead, Hodges Ward Elliott, Mack Real Estate Group, Waterman Interests, Madison Realty Capital, Newmark Holdings, Soho Properties, The Marketing Directors, Halstead, Pembrook Capital, Ted Moudis Associates, Rubenstein Partners, RFR and Simone Development.
“All our contracts are cancellable after three months with no penalty, but most of our clients remain with us for years,” Donovan says. “I sometimes joke it’s because we’re annoying – meaning that we stay on top of our clients to keep the flow of information and momentum going. We don’t rest when we achieve, and we don’t let our clients rest either.”
This relentless pursuit of the next story may come from the firm’s foundation in business reporting. The team, from former NY Daily Newser Donovan throughout, is made up of journalists-turned-publicists.
“A solid background in reporting gives a PR person a better ear for a story, a greater respect for the care and feeding of journalists, and a stronger command for executing control over situations that are inherently out-of-control,” says Alyson Leiter, who was a commercial real estate reporter before joining Great Ink originally in 2011.
“Another upside: we can write. Clean, sharp and smart. Our clients don’t have time to re-write press releases and correct grammar. They shouldn’t have to – and with Great Ink they don’t. We might be a bunch of frustrated former reporters who’ve crossed over to the ‘dark’ side, but that makes for very strong writing.”
Another hallmark of a Great Ink-er is sincere enthusiasm for the business of real estate.
“We’re real estate geeks – we love the deals, respect the players, and get a thrill when we see a client’s vision become reality,” explains Tom Nolan, a firm vice president with almost 20 years of real estate PR experience.
“It’s a privilege to play a role in a new development, or craft a message that will help cement a deal to shape a city, or introduce a journalist to an industry leader with valuable information to share. When you love the stories you tell, it’s easy to fight a little harder to make sure they see the light of day. I think our honest appreciation for the business of real estate and our admiration for our clients shines through.”
In its two decades, Great Ink has been able to participate in countless successful real estate developments. “We have a front row seat for what is arguably the greatest show in town,” says Lindsay Church, whose contributions have helped developers plan and execute sell-out marketing plans and far-reaching branding campaigns.
“We love helping our clients bridge the chasm between their stories and the journalists who will bring them to life for their audiences. Yes, it’s fun to have the inside scoop on designs and structures that will literally change landscapes, but the real satisfaction comes when we share the stories and our clients’ messages with the media, enlisting journalists’ skill to spread the news.”
This enthusiasm is encouraged by a company philosophy of, well, encouragement itself. Each account is manned by teams of at least three Great Ink professionals so the result is a culture of brainstorming, partnering and support.
“At many PR firms in the real estate world, an account executive will work pretty much alone and be responsible for a dozen or more different pieces of business,” says Jimmy Lappas, the firm’s west coast staffer, with more than 20 years clocked at Great Ink.
“At Great Ink, we work in teams and we share a client load in the single digits. This means we help each other take care of all of the firm’s clients in a spirit of collaboration, not competition. We have time to ask each other, every day, ‘What more can we do for this company?’ We make each other better, and we are able to deliver better results.”
Donovan says the firm is better than its competitors. “We are specialists in media relations, including social media. There are bigger firms and there are companies that work in many areas of marketing. At Great Ink, it’s about securing ‘great ink’ and we are great at it,” she says with confidence.
“We work tirelessly for our clients and since we are focused so clearly on media relations – print, online, social media — that means we also work tirelessly in the service of journalists and bloggers. It works.”
For Donovan, for her professional team at Great Ink and for their community of clients and journalists around New York and across the country it does work. It works just great.