‘I started an agency in the middle of a pandemic’

How an Australian PR professional made the bold move of starting her own practice after being let go.

Jasmine Cook (pictured) was marketing director at The Cru, a Sydney-based boutique agency offering PR and marketing for hospitality and travel brands. But like so many small businesses, The Cru was a victim to the economic repercussions of COVID-19, and Cook was terminated.

But she didn't wallow for too long. Within days, she birthed Seven Storeys Communications.

"For the moment I'm solo, but who knows what the future may bring? I have built a strong network of talented industry colleagues to draw from and collaborate with if and when I need additional support or specialist skills which fall outside my areas of expertise," Cook tells PRWeek Asia.

One of the factors that spurred her to start Seven Storeys was her clients, many of which fall in the small- to medium-sized category.

"Many of my clients over the years have been small businesses with lean operations, tight profit margins and small, hard-working teams. To see the devastating effects COVID-19 has had on them—knowing how long and hard they've worked to build their businesses, hone their craft and train and nurture their people, to see it all disappear overnight, for some temporarily, others indefinitely, has been utterly heartbreaking," she says.

"I want to be there to help affected businesses regroup, rebuild and rise again, to return stronger, wiser and hungrier than ever before. To be a part of that evolution would be a joy and a privilege. In order to be available, nimble and ready to act when people most need the support, it made most sense to become a free agent and set up my own consultancy."

Not many would think of starting an agency in the middle of a pandemic, but Cook is ready to face the challenge head-on.

"Starting up a new brand and marketing outfit in a time of such uncertainty means facing the unknown on a daily basis, making and remaking plans to keep up with rapid change, and working harder to find ways to support businesses in a challenging climate," she says.

"If I'm honest with myself, I rarely take the easy road when it comes to work opportunities. I look for jobs, projects and people who present a challenge, an opportunity to learn and grow, and a reason to step outside my comfort zone. Where's the fun in the easy ride?"

Seven Storeys specialises in storytelling through means such as PR, video content, social media, email marketing, blogs, and advertising. Cook wants to primarily support businesses and brands that offer experiences, and this may range luxury hotels and winemakers to property groups and not-for-profit organisations.

Cook has had over a decade of agency and in-house PR experience with brands such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and InterContinental Hotels Group.


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