Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Brook Larios. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Brook, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Let’s start with a story that highlights an important way in which your brand diverges from the industry standard.
In a fascinating turn of events (aka a pandemic), the industry standard is, in some ways, no more. As a creative turned business owner (creativity still intact, I’ve long bucked industry norms, and am now finding more and more people doing the same. What I love about my line of work is that that it’s based on relationships, creativity and care: care for the details, for clients, for press, for those with whom we partner. Care for our team. I draw the line at the rote, the mundane, the explicable. For those, I’ve long cared little. I didn’t study public relations and marketing; I studied psychology with a medical background as a road to becoming a holistic doctor. Writing, communicating and creativity have always had my heart. I enjoy living on the fringe. I took classic piano lessons as a child and enjoyed improvising over Beethoven. My teacher, bless her, didn’t share the vision. My high school freshman honor’s English teacher was appalled when I approached writing with zaniness, rather than formula. I tell clients and my team: we take calculated risks to reap big rewards. We don’t do normal. I was interviewed on a national podcast about this and the interviewer, who was formerly an exec at Amazon, honed in on how I developed a relationship with a hard-to-access tv producer by dropping an f-bomb in a subject line. We’re all human-ish outside of email, social media and the many masks we may wear. So important to remember that as we interact with others.
Brook, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
After graduating with a degree in psychology with a medical background and a minor in visual and performing arts, I secured an internship with a newspaper group that led to an in-house role as a reporter. I soon became lead news reporter, which was a great moment for me, because it meant writing with less of a features voice — and I loved it. As much as I love bucking trends, I’m a big AP Style enthusiast: a writing rule I’ll always follow. As a reporter, I received pitches from publicists and secured a pr project. As a part-time server at a restaurant making way more money than in the newsroom, I secured another pr project, from a customer who owned a pr agency. Forming relationship was easy, because I love people — and I’m authentic. I had a knack for pr. Soon, I talked my way into my first full-time pr position and simultaneously secured a slew of food columns. Always doing things a little differently, always thinking abstractly. I recognized I could feel good about doing pr if I treat clients’ businesses as if they were my own. I opened my own agency, PlainClarity, to connect brands with those who will love and support them. Now, in 2022, PlainClarity brings clients into a truly remarkable set of relationships developed over 20 years in both press and pr. It’s rewarding and wonderful and we really do have exceptional clients who are also friends.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
My former kettlebell instructor and functional movement coach Carolyn Dunbar once reflected to me that the first time she met me, I threw a 10kg kettlebell over my head without knowing what I was doing. No matter what, I was going to succeed. She said she essentially both admired and questioned the alleged tenacity. She suggested I don’t need to push so hard in order to get to my goal that it becomes a detriment to my mental and/or physical health. I had to learn that the best outcomes are born out of grace. In times of high stress, we don’t always make the best decisions, so it’s important to keep a healthy nervous system and try to respond when things go awry from this place.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
Coming from a background as a reporter who knows how to dig deep quickly to tell stories with multiple solid angles was enormously helpful in building the reputation of PlainClarity. Also imperative: we personalize all of our work. One of our former team members, who I, to this day, adore, came from a large agency in the UK. She was impressed that our clients were like friends. And they are — friends, whom we personally want to succeed. She said she’d never seen anything like it. We treat the press, influencers and community partners the same way. And many members of press are my actual friends, whom I’ve known since the early days, when our computers barely functioned and the advertising department next door were honored with celebratory pizza parties while we toiled away. Think: The Office. So good!
- Website: plainclarity.com
- Instagram: @plainclarity
- Facebook: facebook plainclarity
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/plainclarity/
- Twitter: @plainclarity
- Youtube: YouTube.com/plainclarity
- Other: Eat This! Breaking Bread & Borders podcast coming to Olas Media: olasmodia.com, featuring food stories on both sides of the border and beyond.
The Lab Collaborative Leo Cabal