Shana Starr

Meet Shana Starr – Chief Executive Officer – Bastion Elevate

We talked to Shana Starr on How Bastion Elevate adapted to the Pandemic, and this is what she had to say about it.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

We have adjusted quite well to online meetings but miss the creativity that comes from in-person ideation meetings and the energy that comes with being together as an agency. Other than that, we have adapted pretty well and have continued to be able to provide great service to our clients, many of whom need assistance in messaging or growing in during the pandemic.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company.

I’ve worked in PR since college and started my own agency in 2003, which then rolled into another agency, LFPR in 2008. In 2018, I sold 80% of the business to Bastion Collective, rebranding as Bastion Elevate. Working at an agency can be hectic in terms of producing many deliverables, but I love working in multiple industries with varied businesses, it keeps it interesting! We have a process where we do a lot of research into the industries we work with so I love learning, reading, and being able to make smart recommendations to our clients based on all of that research. You learn a lot in marketing in order to make decisions that will work.

How does your company innovate?

We innovate by doing the process I spoke about in the earlier question. We dig deep into the industries in which we work. We also analyze our work, report, dig into the insights, all in order to create strategies moving forward. We innovate weekly, monthly and annually on strategies across the board.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Business is strong and continues to grow. We are adding services and staff during the pandemic, but I do miss meeting and traveling to clients.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Yes, we made difficult choices. In the beginning, we cut salaries and moved to a work from home model. We lost clients who were in the consumer space – but some of that has rebounded. We made staff changes which were difficult in order to shore up the business but within a few months, we were gaining clients and had a deeper understanding of how we could help our clientele navigate these strange times. Our team is better for it now, and I feel we have a strong team that I am incredibly proud of.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

We were very organized prior to the pandemic but became more so after the fact. Keeping detailed notes on deliverables, Google docs, Google hangouts, Zooms, etc. are all used daily. We also use HubStaff and Sprout Social to track staff hours and manage our social posts.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Any full-service marketing agency is our competition. We have great reviews from our clients which helps set us apart from other agencies. I believe our reporting and constant pushing forward of programs helps clients connect with us and believe in our strategies. We have a good reputation – which means the world to me. We also are constantly looking for top talent and the latest marketing strategies that would assist our clients in brand awareness and growth!

Your final thoughts

COVID-19 has brought so many changes and challenges to so many companies and the people that work for them, from burnout to just creating an anxious environment. Marketing and brand messaging can be seen as helping with some of those hurdles. The best advice I could give any company during this time is to be genuine, understand how the pandemic is impacting your marketplace and amplify your own message in order to combat any negative.

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