In 2011, The Observer published The Social Networker: Brooke Hammerling’s New York Stock Is Rising: An in-depth story on how the maven of tech PR came to represent global brands like Samsung and WordPress.
Despite sharing stories about Silicon Valley during the Web 1.0 era, the most impactful part of Nitasha Tiku’s feature was highlighting Brooke’s early learning that her “personal experiences could change public opinion.”
Brooke explained the revelation through her friend and mentor Larry Ellison.
By getting to know Ellison on a personal level – thus outside of his role as the Founder of Oracle – Brooke exposed the press to parts of his personality they’d never seen before. And they loved it.
The genuine desire to unearth individuals hidden breadth – To know and understand people beyond their titles – not only distinguishes Brooke as a leader in tech PR but as a partner who goes to bat for those she believes in.
Nearly two decades later, Brooke remains close with Ellison; Representing Oracle at her media relations firm Brew PR.
Last September, she orchestrated the AdAge cover story, Why Larry Loves You; Ellison’s last interview as the company’s CEO.
During a time where news is being published faster than ever before, the value of Brooke’s commitment is immeasurable.
We’re not a ‘yes agency.’
We’re going to push back
and tell it like it is.
To achieve that, Brew PR exercises a top-down approach working with a company’s senior leaders to shape the brand’s identity.
“Our work is very top down – Not bottom up. We write the story from the top. Narrate it. Come up with a message and a cohesive plan,” Brooke shared.
Brew PR partners with brands like SmartThings, Maker Studios, and Refinery29.
Ten years in, their single point of the truth remains the same: “We are storytellers, but we aren’t creating stories,” Brooke affirmed.
When it comes to PR: One size doesn’t fit all.
“Everyone is different,” Brooke shared, reflecting on the firm’s recent project highlighting Samsung’s Global Innovation Center.
“How do you tell an unbelievable story about a company that’s investing in, partnering with, acquiring and accelerating companies?”
Simple. You tell it from the founder.
“Whether it’s a 5 person company or a 50,000 person company, the founder has to be involved. They have to be a passionate driver to that story…The narrative has to come from the core team,” she explained.
You can learn more about GIC in Ben Popper’s feature in The Verge: Samsung’s big bet: put American software startups inside its most important hardware.
Each of these initiatives involves risk. Imagine pulling the trigger on a cover story about Larry Ellison – one of the most powerful and wealthiest individuals in the world. What happens if it backfires?
“One of the things I try to do at Brew is to get everyone on the team to know that if there’s a mess up I’ll take the hit… Taking responsibility is a beautiful thing to teach,” Brooke said.
Despite identifying as more risk aversive today, taking the leap has been a crucial part of Brooke’s story.
“If I never took risks I wouldn’t be living as fulfilled as a life as I am now,” she remarked, pondering on the decision that led her to San Francisco.
Brooke’s expertise beats in the heart of each project she brings to life. However, the defining trait that I’ll remember about her is the authenticity and genuine kindness she had when speaking with me.
Her demeanor is exactly the way she described her mentors Ellison and the late Dave Goldberg: As always having time.
“They always gave time. You never felt like you were asking anything that was burdensome,” she shared.
As Brew PR prepares to celebrate its tenth birthday, Brooke continues to nurture the lifelong relationships that have shaped her path. I’m deeply grateful she’ll be one to shape mine.
To gain deeper insight into Brooke’s journey stay tuned for her 33founders episode out this Monday and follow her on Twitter here.
Here’s what you can expect in our conversation:
- An inside glimpse into Web 1.0 in Silicon Valley
- Why one size doesn’t fit all for PR
- The difference between a storyteller and a truth teller
- How to encourage people to take risks by taking responsibility
- Who Brooke wants to be when she grows up