'Be open to new marketing opportunities'
Q: Describe your company.
A: Sigale Public Relations specializes in generating local, national and online news media coverage for our clients. We help startups create an identity, rebrand and enhance the reputation of established companies, support existing products and launch new products, create a buzz for grand openings, anniversary celebrations and other sales events. We supplement our efforts with digital marketing, advertising, social media and other marketing disciplines.
Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
A: We probably will not add staff but continue to utilize our exceptional group of experienced writers, photographers and digital marketers, keeping our expertise level high and overhead low.
Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?
A: The major challenge now is to help businesses survive. Equally challenging will be helping them return to prior successes. A variety of new marketing methods may be considered to help them rise above the noise and stand apart.
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: Progressive organizations searching for a PR firm with knowledge of their business, awareness of their target audiences and experience in their industry. Our expertise is in business-to-business and business-to-consumer, automotive, restaurants and food service, real estate, franchising and associations, sports marketing and more.
Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie executive, what would it be?
A: Be open to new marketing opportunities that help an organization offer a fresh perspective to clients.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: Overdeliver and offer clients welcome surprises that help them grow.
Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?
A: The late Al Golin, Golin Communications, one of the top public relations practitioners in the world. He had class, drive, great ideas, terrific communication skills. In 1956 Ray Kroc gave him a $500 monthly retainer to help make McDonald's famous, and he did. Al's cold call resulted in the longest-lasting client-agency partnership in PR history.
Note: I met Al in the lobby of a movie theater after I left the company. Over popcorn he asked me: "I was offered $10 million to sell my company. What do you think I should do, Barry?" "Sell," I immediately said with authority. He did. Proud to give back to an industry giant.
Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?
A: Many people underestimate my capabilities as I've worked mostly from home for many years. I have arranged worldwide news media coverage for my clients in addition to generating local, regional and national visibility, such as ... though I barely fit into a Smart Fortwo, I publicized it nationwide, including arranging test drives for reporters, to help sell all 35 of my client's vehicles.
I can't boil an egg but arranged over 1,000 stories about restaurants' dining and catering capabilities, chefs, special recipes, notable events, grand openings.
I had Santas run along Oak Street Beach in July like in the movie, "Chariots of Fire," to fill their mall holiday appearance schedule.
Q: Was there a moment in your career that didn't go as you had planned? What lesson did you learn from it?
A: I was fired once ... on Christmas Eve. I started my own business, making certain from then on that my abilities must be a good match for whomever I represent.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: "This has been a lifelong dream of mine the last year" (the start of my acceptance speech for best motion picture for the script I am writing). I'm 1,000 hours into what is now the fourth version since my first submission was accepted in a Hollywood cellphone call I received on the horrific day that was 9/11.
Q: What book is on your nightstand?
A: Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld. No matter how successful one is, acceptance can be exhilarating and motivating, rejection demoralizing and debilitating. Even he of the $950 million or so net worth has his doubts.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: I do a lot of writing in my head when I'm asleep, or almost out. News releases. My screenplay (actually four). Words come from everywhere anytime.
Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?
A: I went into journalism because my oldest brother, Merwin, was the Latin American bureau chief for the ABC-TV network working with Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings, Sam Donaldson, et al. I worked for The Associated Press, was one of many journalists to help the Daily Herald become a daily newspaper, worked the overnight news shift at Fox 32 Chicago and worked at two of the world's most revered public relations agencies.
So something in communications. Or probably owning a hot dog stand, where people stand around, eat well and the conversation is spectacular.
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: Broadcast editor from midnight to eight for the Chicago Bureau of The Associated Press worldwide news agency. I'd rewrite copy into a format that newscasters would "rip and read." I'd drive home with a smile listening to my words being spoken on the radio.
Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: I would put One Sigale Plaza on the front of my house. It's a sports venue of sorts for us die-hard Blackhawks and White Sox TV fans, especially during COVID-19 isolation.
Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why. (besides your company)?
A: I follow two great, exciting, informative orators, storytellers and wordsmiths wherever I can get them -- Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Walton.
Sigale Public Relations
Phone: (847) 549-8429
Family information: Wife, Judith, retired schoolteacher and administrator; daughter, Jennifer; son, Joshua; three grandchildren.