Carmena Ayo-Davies entered the world of public relations without a formal background in the industry. Executing on small events and parties, Ayo-Davies realized her gift was in PR, which turned into 3BG Marketing Solutions. Through sheer drive and deliberate networking strategies, Ayo-Davies grew her client base to include Michael Vick, Darren Sproles, Vivica A. Fox Hair Collection, and Comfort Inn.
Black Enterprise had the chance to discuss how PR has changed, social media’s influence, and Black representation in the PR industry.
How has PR changed throughout your career?
PR has changed dramatically. We have many more touchpoints than we traditionally had before social media. We can reach out to social media influencers, blogs, bloggers, and social sites to get coverage. These multiple avenues allow the message to get out faster and effectively. Also, we now have databases we rely on for contacts as well as directly reaching journalists through social media.
With social media playing such a huge role in visibility, why is having good PR representation still critical?
There are rules of engagement and professionalism in public relations that exist. If there isn’t an experienced professional in place, you could miss the mark. In this culture and during these times when the public court of opinion is high, it could be destructive if not handled appropriately.
How important is Black representation in the PR industry?
It is extremely important for Black representation in public relations. It is important to have inclusion, especially to communicate stories or gain attention for Black stories because we understand and relate to clients of color in a way that other publicists may not be able to. Unfortunately, most Black publicists end up freelancing or opening their [own] firm because it is extremely difficult to be hired by the larger PR firms.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout the recent COVID-19 Pandemic?
Pivoting and leveraging relationships. There are many dying businesses, so I recently wrote a book, PR On A Budget, that speaks to businesses that may not have a large PR budget. In my book, I discuss the KLT factor which stands for Know, Like & Trust. People have to buy into you and your business before trusting that you can represent them.
What advice do you have for young women of color interested in pursuing public relations as a career?
I suggest reaching out or interning with other people of color like myself to teach you the game. Be willing and ready to work hard, and receive the knowledge. Don’t give up, the road is bumpy with many ups and downs. Stay the course and execute on your clients’ behalf and the rest will take care of itself.