Jeff Koo: 40 Under 40 2014

Senior director, digital lifestyle and LGBT practice groups, SparkPR
Age: 34

Jeff Koo is a trailblazer in the world of PR, yet perhaps his biggest achievement is getting into the industry in the first place.

As the son of two non-English speaking immigrants with no formal training or experience in the discipline, he started off as an entry-level account coordinator at SparkPR, working his way up to management in just seven years via five successive promotions.

In his current role, he is the agency’s youngest practice group leader. From 2010 to 2013 his teams have contributed to more than $3.2 million in billings for the firm.

Koo is responsible for bringing in key clients including Lowe’s Home Improvement; Dropcam, a top Wi-Fi home video monitoring service; subscription digital music service Rdio; and Online Buddies, the world’s largest company connecting gay men.

Key achievements include masterminding the PR strategy behind the launch of the Dropcam Pro. Under his leadership, the brand conducted over 40 briefings and secured 50 original stories resulting in the company’s largest ever day of sales.

Meanwhile, Koo helped ensure Rdio held its own in the face of the launch of competitor Spotify in the US.
As well as launching SparkPR’s digital lifestyle practice, he also established its first LGBT practice group, playing a key role in shaping the firm’s approach to this influential and lucrative market.

His work in this area has included rebranding some of the industry’s top gay-dating apps, such as Mister, with a new code of respect and repositioning Jack’d as the fastest-growing gay app among young gay men aged 18 to 30.

Koo is also an integral member of the company’s international expansion strategy as he traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to help train, manage, and promote the firm’s satellite office there.

"Jeff is a really innovative thinker who has been the architect behind some of SparkPR’s most successful campaigns," says cofounder Donna Sokolsky Burke. "His strategy, business acumen, and mastery in the art of relationship building have resulted in some phenomenal results for his clients and the agency."

 

• Koo formed his company’s first LGBT employee resource group, the SparkPR "Sparkles"

• He does pro bono work for the Rainbow World Fund Tree of Hope, which is displayed at San Francisco City Hall and decorated each year with origami cranes and stars

• Koo launched The Economist‘s first Facebook page, securing 45,000 fans in a few months

• He loves cycling and the outdoors and is a committed community activist. He also helped to launch a local San Francisco designer's fashion line and first runway show

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