Brilliant PR and Marketing - Always On: tBR Company of the Week
It was nearly 15 years ago when a former executive in the products packaging space working closely with buyers for Walmart looked down while trying to pump milk for her twins in front of her laptop and said “there must be a better way!” Shortly thereafter, a friend gave her the gift of a hands-free pumping bra, at that time, a relatively niche product known only within cult circles of passionate moms. True to her nature, Kathleen Tomes called the “1-800” number on the product packaging and told the folks on the other end of the line that someone needed to be promoting them. They offered her the chance to do so, and within two years, that product was the subject of the then largest acquisition in the history of Medela, the leading breast pump brand. In the process, Brilliant PR & Marketing was born.
“Our competitive edge is that we didn’t start the company as PR pros. We were sales people at heart, and knew the type of dogged, scrappy efforts it takes to get products on shelves and then inspire consumers to buy them” said Kathleen Tomes, president and founder. “Starting from that core ethos, but then adding some of the best agency talent over the years has made us fundamentally different from our competitors. Our mantra is ‘everything to the end of the sale.’”
This spirit of genuine passion, scrappy action, consistent results and leveraging consumer awareness to create true impact for businesses remains at the core of Brilliant PR & Marketing today. What began as a small network of “work from home” moms generating media coverage for a handful of baby and maternity brands has evolved over the last decade into a powerhouse, multi-service agency synonymous with the juvenile and family products industry for verticals including toys and games, mom and baby, learning brands, housewares, lifestyle and more.
According to a few of their current clients, the agency is “brilliant” because:
“The constant flow of media and influencer hits they generate in outlets like TODAY, Good Housekeeping and countless others has contributed to a TOTY nomination and ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award.” --Ryan Hamilton, Head of Operations and Product Development, Plus-Plus
“They are true partners in achieving objectives. They understand retail and work to ensure that coverage leads to sell-through.” --Debra Joester, The Joester Loria Group or the World of Eric Carle
“Our sales have more than doubled and our media reach has exploded since partnering with them.” --Jordan Becker, VP of Sales and Marketing, iPlay, iLearn
(Brilliant recently lit up Times Square for its client, Schleich,
in the culmination of the brand’s year long power of imagination campaign.)
Brilliant credits its success and long-standing relationships with clients including HABA, Schleich, NUNA, DYPER, CINEMOOD, Dowdle Folk Art, Britannica, People of Play, TTPM, ASTRA, World of Eric Carle and Nuby to a few key factors that have come to differentiate the agency as the definition of PR has shifted over the last five years:
Prolific coverage -- Client’s trust that Brilliant can and will generate billions of annual media and influencer impressions when most stop in the hundreds of millions.
Deep influencer capabilities -- Based on a recent study, Brilliant generates an average of 310% more earned influencer coverage than its competing agencies. And, when it comes to paid collaborations, Brilliant leverages deep relationships including a roster of our own managed talent to bring deep efficiency to client spend.
Brilliant goes far beyond the baseline of media and influencer coverage to weave brand narratives and build robust campaigns for its clients. This includes multi-year spokesperson partnerships that come to life through live events and activations, campaigns designed to build equity and foster clarity for brands and more.
Retail knowledge - The agency knows that nothing is brilliant without a sale. Each and every thing the agency does is planned and executed with an eye to the end goal of conversions both online and at retail. Over the last two years, the agency has pioneered a proprietary “Retail Sales Velocity” program that has helped clients gain full-chain pickup at major retailers, and earned the agency a 2020 TAGIE nomination for Innovative PR and Marketing Team of the Year in collaboration with client, The Joester Loria Group for the World fo Eric Carle.
(Brilliant brokered the first ever issue of Parents magazine to feature children on the cover
without a parent on behalf of Katie, Mila and Emma Stauffer.)
One of the things that has always differentiated Brilliant has been its “remote” working style. Tomes commented, “I was always more interested in finding the right talent and giving them the resources they needed to be successful on their terms. When COVID hit, we’d already invested so much in technology and processes that helped us grow the business as a team of more than 20 remote workers, and so the pandemic really hasn’t changed a thing for us.”
Brilliant credits its “always on” digital marketing efforts to having amassed its own proprietary panel of more than 15,000 moms, dads and grandparents in the US. This group of “Brilliant Minds” enables the agency to turn around insights for media, retailers, R&D teams and more in a matter of days. Brilliant also deploys these “boots on the ground” to drive traffic at retail, execute online engagement and more.
In recent years, Brilliant has expanded its services to include robust social media management and content creation, digital advertising, video production, experiential event planning and more. According to Tomes, “the suite of services a PR agency needs to offer to remain competitive in today’s shifting landscape is expanding by the minute. We are growing rapidly and it’s mind blowing to see how the definition of PR has changed since we began the business.”
Brilliant pairs clients with celebrity partners like the Busby‘s from TLC’s OutDaughtered.