Behind a few of the world’s most notable brands sits Jenelle Hamilton, a publicity powerhouse who spent nearly 10 years working under others to perfect her craft in communications and public relations. Now, as the founder of Jenelle Hamilton PR, she’s pioneered her own path in the beauty, fashion, and lifestyle space. Hamilton’s stellar portfolio of clients includes Andre Walker, best known for his hairstyling work for Oprah and Halle Berry; Bob Mackie, a fashion designer and costumer known for dressing icons such as Diana Ross, RuPaul, and Cher (the iconic naked Oscar’s dress); the Shorty Awards; and most recently, the dynamic duo behind Mented Cosmetics, a beauty line created for women of color.
So, how’d she do it? Believe it or not, even in today’s noisy digital world, old school rules like word of mouth marketing are still king. In fact, Hamilton landed Bob Mackie as a client simply because she commented on an op-ed post in The New York Times. We caught up with Hamilton to learn more about what it takes to leverage relationships with your own clients to attract new clients and drive business growth.
Tell us about the work you are most proud of.
I am extremely proud of the work I’ve done for Andre Walker Hair. Andre Walker is best known for working with Oprah as her personal hairstylist for almost three decades, traveling the globe with her. When he launched his Gold System hair collection in Target, for textured hair types, he had just retired from his work with her. This new brand was the next chapter in his life.
He is the creator of the Original Hair Typing System, most people don’t know that so it was my job to ensure they did. My two main goals were to: establish him as a brand and share the incredible hair health knowledge he has.
We landed incredible placements in top-tier media outlets, successfully positioned Andre as a credible hair expert and were able to educate consumers on his product line. To be able to successfully communicate all three messages across TV, print, and digital, in a crowded space such as the haircare industry, was an incredible feat for us.
You’ve also talked about landing high profile clients through word of mouth. What tips can you share for creating a referral strategy?
Deliver on whatever you promise. If I truly don’t believe I can achieve what a client is looking for, I pass on the opportunity. Because of this, I have been able to work with brands that I have delivered incredible results for, time after time. Over the course of seven years, since the founding of my company, I have helped take clients’ businesses and profiles to the next level. They have been so happy, that when asked how they did it, they send people to me.
At the end of the day, everyone wants results. If you can make it happen, then the work will find you. And as they say, your reputation is everything.
Can you tell us more about how you landed Bob Mackie as a client?
Every morning I read newspapers, websites, and catch up on industry trends on AdWeek and PR Week. One morning, I read an article in The New York Times that an entrepreneur had submitted as an op-ed. He felt that PR was a waste of money and that small businesses could get just as effective results on their own. I felt inclined to respond, so I expressed my opinion in the comments section.
The COO of Bob Mackie had read the same article. He said he never reads the comments but said that day he did. He saw what I wrote and liked it. He had his assistant track me down and reach out to me. They invited me into the office for a meeting and I have been handling Bob Mackie’s global publicity ever since!