FAQ for Vetrano Communications
What is your company's structure?
Vetrano Communications LLC is a public relations consulting firm. Unlike a brick-and-mortar agency, we scale our staffing to meet our clients' needs; thus, we have consulting team members rather than traditional employees. Maria Vetrano is principal of the firm. She is supported by a core team of senior-level PR practitioners, who are conveniently located in Boston, San Jose and Greenwich, CT.
Our firm also engages and manages freelance technical writers and graphic designers on our clients' behalf.
What is the typical seniority of your PR professionals (in terms of years of experience)?
We are all senior-level consultants with between 15-25 years' experience each. One of the benefits of our organizational structure is that our clients always work with a senior-level person—rather than a stratified agency in which junior-level people are often supporting your account.
Do any of your consultants have engineering backgrounds?
Yes. We have consulting relationships with freelance writers who have engineering degrees.
What is your experience with client retention?
Vetrano Communications has enjoyed a number of long-term client relationships, and here are some examples:
What is your area of focus?
We exclusively represent technology clients, focusing on MEMS/sensors, semiconductors and embedded systems. We also have experience in verticals such as consumer electronics and biomedical.
How long have you been established as a PR firm?
Vetrano Communications has been going strong since 2000. There was one year during this period, from the spring of 2003-the spring of 2004, that Maria Vetrano held the role of director of public relations for the DSP division of Analog Devices (which had been a client since 2000). Maria resumed work with Vetrano Communications in 2004.
Public Relations Process
With which specific publications and editors do you maintain strong working relationships?
There are many editors in this category, but here are a few:
What is your experience with business press?
We have worked with The New York Times, Reuters, Business Week, AP, IDC, Boston Globe, San Jose Mercury News, Washington Post, The Kiplinger Letter, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Xconomy, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, The Economist and other business press.
What is your experience with industry analysts?
Vetrano Communications has worked with analysts from ABI Research, Gartner, IHS, Juniper Research, TechKnowledge Strategies, Semico Research, Yole Développement and others.
What are your quality control mechanisms?
We have proofreading processes in place, for example, to ensure that final copy for press releases/other documents is 'clean.' We also have an agreed-upon "signoff process" to ensure that nothing is posted to a newswire or distributed by any means without our clients' consent.
How is a press release managed through execution?
We draft the release based on content that we source from the client and/or from industry sources. We send the draft release for review, working with clients to refine content through an iterative process. We secure formal approval before finalizing any press release.
How do you measure the success of your PR activity?
- Vetrano Communications measures success through qualitative and quantitative means. In terms of qualitative measurement, we set goals at the beginning of a product campaign or a special event, such as a tradeshow. We work to achieve those goals and then reflect back on our success in a monthly status report.
- We track press clips and share those with clients.
- In terms of quantitative measurement, we offer an optional "Score Card" through which we track our client's coverage and competitors, plotting this out over time. We can also track whether key messages are showing up in coverage, and whether there is a change from negative to neutral or neutral to positive tone in the coverage. We can use commercial monitoring solution for the Score Card, in addition to Google News and other mechanisms. We can refresh the Score Card report at regular intervals.
How do you develop a program and plan for your clients?
We would typically begin with a brainstorming planning session in which we discuss a variety of things: brand perception, product launches/roadmap, announcements, speaking opportunities, tradeshows, contributed articles, and more. We would begin to develop a calendar of activities, identifying roles and responsibilities during the meeting. As a result of this session, we would begin to develop a PR action plan.
How do you quickly develop a working knowledge of your clients' products and business?
We interview key stakeholders at the company by phone and/or in person. We conduct our own research with media, and this would include online research. And because we focus on just a few areas of technology, we have strong domain expertise.
What are the most principles that you hold most dear as you represent your client and your business?
- We like to see that our work is directly helping our clients to achieve their business goals. We love the fact that PR offers the greatest ROI of any other marketing vehicle, and at the end of the day, we feel good about what we do on a daily basis.
- We offer exceptional service to a small number of clients. We can do this because our overhead is low, and we are not compelled to work with more clients than we can comfortably handle in order to make payroll.
- We are strategic in everything we do. We will look beyond the technical details of a product release, for example, as we convey a sense of why the reader should care about a particular announcement. We are always thinking about what is meaningful and about the target audience for any public relations activity.
- We strive for excellence in the quality of our writing and in the clarity of our communications with media and our client contacts.
- We value having honest, collaborative relationships with clients, which will result in a best-in-class public relations program.
- We act as an ongoing resource to the media. This approach—which values 'what's in it for them' over 'what's in it for us'—engenders a sense of trust among media, giving them the impression that we are looking out for their best interests and not just our own.
- We are steeped in product knowledge in specific areas of technologies, including semiconductors, MEMS/sensors and embedded systems.
What are your billing structures and policies?
We support two distinct billing structures:
- We bill major clients a baseline monthly retainer, offering additional services during especially busy months. We quote bylined articles, white papers and graphic design separately.
- Alternatively, we provide written estimates for projects, billing clients on a time-and-materials basis. Average hourly rates reflect the consulting team that we put into place for clients. We are glad to provide quotes upon request.
We invoice expenses without mark-up. We charge clients at a half-time rate for pre-approved business travel.
We require clients to sign a letter of agreement, specifying the terms and conditions of our work together.