Sarah Leaf founded LEAF, a values-driven communication agency, at the height of the pandemic. Wanting to work with brands that offered their community an opportunity to align shared values, not just a commercial exchange, LEAF now works with the likes of MacGraw, Ganni, Mejuri, Veja and All Birds. We sat down with Sarah to find out more about why she says ‘never say never’ when it comes to PR.
F: Tell us about yourself and LEAF
In 2020 when the pandemic hit I was working for an agency that closed, it was such a weird time to plan my next career move and I wasn’t quite sure what to do next. My clients started asking me if I would be starting my own agency, it wasn’t something I’d ever really thought about! But sometimes when a door opens, you just have to walk through it!
I’ve always enjoyed working with brands that are ethical and sustainable, so this is the approach that I brought to LEAF – I’m so proud to work with businesses that treat both people and planet with respect.
F: What’s an example of a successful campaign you worked on recently, and what specific strategies or tactics made it so successful?
In May I worked with macgraw on their completely virtual and shoppable AAFW show. I think COVID has really accelerated our willingness to accept and embrace that the majority of the audience will engage with a collection through social media and their computer screens. Putting digital first was a conscious strategy and as a result the content was so beautiful and engaging!
F: What trends are you most excited about for the PR industry?
So much of our communication, especially with the media, is done over email these days. I think more than ever PRs need to be concise, effective and clear communicators. In person relationships will continue to be important, but people are time poor and don’t have time to read a four page press release! We’re always looking for ways that we can embrace new technology and streamline the process of sharing assets, collection information and brand news.
F: How do you “remain agile in an ever-changing media landscape”? How do you stay up to date with changes and trends?
As a new agency, working with innovative young brands, I’m not wedded to anything – there’s no hard rules about how we do things and we’re willing to try new things. Our communication style is really open and honest, which has built trust with our clients. So when we throw around new ideas they’re willing to trust us and explore it.
Part of our job as PRs is to be connected to the zeitgeist, so I read a lot, listen to a lot of podcasts and spend a considerable amount of time on social media! I find having the team share their interests is helpful too, everybody has curated their own corner of the internet so getting other perspectives is important.
F: If the brands you work with could only use one channel or activity, which would it be and why?
It depends on the brand and where they have cultivated their community. For some brands this is their Instagram, for others this is the journal or blog section of their website. Over the past twelve months we’ve even seen some brands become hugely influential from TikTok! So never say never!
F: What was the last thing you googled for business?
I actually just googled ‘soy ink’ – I’m trying to ensure our correspondence cards are as sustainable as they can be!
F: What are your favourite biz related podcasts?
Not a revolutionary recommendation, but I love How I Built This (especially the Allbirds episode) and find What The Flux to be a great quick daily dose of business news. I also highly recommend Brené Brown’s episode on The Goop Podcast for anybody who leads a team.
F: If someone asked you “why should my brand invest in PR?” – what would you say?
Over the years I’ve learnt that everybody has a different definition of PR, and most people don’t even know what PR is!
My approach is to flip this questions and ask, “What do you want to achieve from PR?”. Pretty quickly you understand what the client wants to achieve, if this is realistic and if you can deliver ROI.