Tammy Brook is no stranger to hard work. As the founder and CEO of FYI Brand Communications (a full-service public relations and brand marketing agency in New York and L.A. founded in 2001), Brook has been racking up blockbuster opportunities for her company’s clients including Russell Westbrook (the first ever athlete and non-traditional designer to have a brand at Barneys New York), Pusha T (his Adidas shoe sold out in three minutes upon release), and L.A. Gear (the sneaker brand recently made a comeback with rapper Tyga), just to name a few.
The publicist-turned-brand-manager also prides herself on taking lesser-known brands and pairing them with unique opportunities to shine among the competition. “When I say the PR is the bathroom, we sell the house,” she tells VIBE. “All of our clients have a thread of innovation in what we do – it’s a part of the culture in this agency.”
Creating unprecedented media moments and making much with little is also her motif. In 2005, her company was hired by MTV to bring MTV Cribs home furnishings to JC Penney stores. FYI Brand was also instrumental on the press side for multicultural haircare brand Mixed Chicks in winning an $8 million dollar lawsuit against Sally Beauty Products in 2012.
Need more motivation to put in work? Brook is also a movie producer after having worked on Little Ballers alongside executive producer Crystal McCrary for a documentary that follows four 11-year-old boys in Brooklyn trying to make their hoop dreams a reality.
Here, Brook gives us the real on being a die-hard brand strategist, her travel tips, and advise to aspiring marketing professionals.
What I do in one sentence:
I build brands, transition brands, and connect with pop culture.
Marketing became my dream when:
I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world and wanted the work I was doing to be able to affect the masses, so being able to realize that I can control the narrative of people’s image and brands that were impacting pop culture was just a really exciting and powerful opportunity that I’ve been wanting to embrace and master.
Female mentors who have pushed me to succeed:
There was my first boss. She believed in me and she gave me an amazing opportunity. She created a position for me while I was in college because she felt that I had qualities and the DNA to be an innovator and really be the fresh pulse of her agency. In the beginning years, I had female peers that were my associates and we sort of created a publicist alliance of women. We called each other for contacts and ideas. What we do can be very strategic and very challenging. In certain ways, you have to do it to be effective and being able to have other women in my corner to help me and guide me through times and make pivotal decisions that will affect my clients’ careers, I’m very fortunate.
Apps I can’t live without: I’m constantly booking and checking my flights on American Airlines. Another is Score mobile because I have athletes and clients and I need to watch their games even when I’m not watching them.
The hardest project I’ve ever tackled:
I think the hardest project is the DNA of my company because for the most part, we have taken on baby brands and startup brands that don’t have the budget of a larger brand. As an owner of our company, I pride myself on being very passionate about any client I take on. If I wanted to work with all massive companies, I would just work at a big agency or partner with one. I really take pride in constantly finding startup brands that are new and innovative brands that might not necessarily have the budget, but they need the expertise of an agency like ours to come in and create dynamic brand positioning opportunities for them and position them in the market to look like they are a lot bigger then they are. So, often times we’ll work with a smaller brand that doesn’t have the budget to be at South by Southwest, Coachella, or New York Fashion Week, but because of my approach of rolling up my sleeves and finding opportunities based on my relationships and resources, I’m able to position them in the market as if there competitors and leaders in a conversation amongst other brands in a major pop culture event, which may look like it cost $100,000 but it only cost a very small portion of that.
My jetsetting travel tips:
1. Get a good blow out on your way to airport & pack Oscar Blandi dry shampoo for touch ups.
2. Pack neutral colors, bags and shoes that are interchangeable.
3. Dress in transitional attire – day into night… No time to change.
4. Don’t forget your laptop, gloss, headphones, vitamins and chargers
5. A woman makes her outfit. Pre-pack your looks with confidence
6. Carry-on only…unless you are travelling for more then 5 days.
7. Keep gym clothes, global entry pass and toiletries pre-packed for next trip. You will for sure need those on every trip.
Advice to aspiring marketing professionals:
Absolutely know what is happening in pop culture in real-time. Do your research, know who you’re talking to and do your diligence because if you’re not going to do it, someone else will. We’re in an evolving world of technology and there’s really no excuses for not being able to look up somebody’s LinkedIn to have some background on their accomplishments and accolades. It’s always really important to know the full holistic person that you’re speaking to and people in the community you’re engaging with. Also just knowing what’s happening in the news and the world globally. It’s a big responsibility but if you really want to do this, you’ve got to have the bandwidth to be able to be evergreen, ever-present and on the pulse of what’s happening in pop culture and with the people that you’re directly engaging with, particularly. Don’t ever think you know everything, because there’s always something you need to learn — we are all students.
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