In just two years, Andrew Pray pulled off something that more senior PR pros might take their whole careers to achieve. He launched his own PR firm, Praytell Strategy, in 2013 after less than a decade working on accounts and later as a digital strategist at various PR agencies.
But Pray differentiated his offering from the start, saying he wanted to work with the "good guys," seamlessly blend communications and digital, and offer fully integrated services from his company’s Brooklyn, New York, base. Clients, talented staff, and many industry awards quickly followed.
Under Pray’s successful leadership, the agency enjoyed 217% year-on-year growth in 2014, grossing $3.25 million.
It’s expected to make another leap this year, bringing in $4.5 million in revenue. Headcount is growing at pace, jumping from two staffers in 2013 to more than two dozen today. He’s attracted clients such as Hyatt, Logitech, Mac AIDS Fund, Corona, Kobalt, and SoundCloud, while creating unconventional ideas to set Praytell apart, such as its free Open Source Ideas site, and the Passion Project grant program that offers free services to nonprofit groups.
"Andy’s vision for the PR industry is truly inspiring," says Beth Cleveland, managing partner at Praytell. "From his creative energy our clients can’t live without to his insatiable appetite to succeed, infectious enthusiasm that could rally a snail, and cultivation of unexpected PR pros, Andy is building a better place to work for the next generation of communicators."
The industry has soundly applauded the Praytell proposition, awarding the firm a 2015 PRWeek Award for Boutique Agency of the Year. Months prior, PRWeek also named the fledging agency one of the Best Places to Work in 2014.
It’s not just the PR industry noticing Praytell and its leader. Newsweek and Fast Company featured the firm as a prime example of a positive, creative workplace.
Pray, a veteran of agency life, has vowed to reward his employees, from an ethos of workplace transparency to generous benefits and creative morale exercises such as the Stomach Project, which encourages staffers to grab a meal together. His employees have said thank you in their own way: zero turnover.
- Pray worked as a journalist early in his career and then at a trio of agencies, including Ruder Finn, prior to founding Praytell in his early thirties
- He’s an avid reader and crossword puzzle fanatic, a trait inherited from his pastor father
- The firm’s pro bono arm, the Passion Project, has donated more than $50,000 in services to groups such as the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network