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It's Official: Divisions Launch Blasted Off

Last week, we had the marvelous opportunity of sharing some exciting insights about the four new divisions: Tech, Consumer Brands, Celebrities, and Experts, at our virtual press conference hosted by TV Host/Spokesperson & Media Trainer, Shannon O'Dowd.


Check out the entire press conference here:



Mentioned During the Event:


Full Event Transcript:


Garrett McClure 0:10

So we're LIVE. We are recording the show. I'm passing the show over to the beautiful Shannon O'Dowd.


Shannon O'Dowd 0:17

Wonderful. Thank you. Welcome to the launch party. I feel like we need to have like some music.


Shannon O'Dowd 0:27

Welcome to the grapevine PR new divisions launch party. I'm so excited that everyone is here. We are going to have a fun 30 minutes talking about all of the amazing things that grapevine's doing, the divisions they're launching. What they're up to is going to be really exciting. But first and foremost, want to tell you a little bit about what grapevine is. They are an award-winning public relations firm. They were founded in 2006 by Steven Le Vine. Grapevine, Le Vine - you get it! Headquartered in Los Angeles. They also have offices in Austin and Nashville. They are focused on clients that are just innovators and groundbreakers, and tastemakers. Guys like William Shatner. Right? We love William Shatner, who doesn't? Lisa Loeb. I'm geeking out over Lisa Loeb. She's so awesome. Danny Pintauro from "Who's the Boss," right? Yes, absolutely. They also have FinTech companies like Nth Round, which I've had the pleasure of working with. Those guys are awesome. Caesars Entertainment. So many more. And the media placements that this PR firm has had have been absolutely incredible. We're talking Oprah; we're talking The Talk, Today Show, CNN Newsroom, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, People Magazine, Hollywood Reporter... all of the big guns in the media industry. So these guys are the real deal. They're amazing. So we are lucky enough today to have the president and founder, Steven. How are you, Steven?


Steven Le Vine 1:59

I'm great. How are you?


Shannon O'Dowd 2:00

I'm great. I'm great. So Steven Le Vine is here with us. And you know, Steven, I have gotten to work with you over the years. I think you're absolutely incredible. The best at what you do. I'm going to tell everybody at home a little bit about you. So hold on, I'm going to brag about you a little bit.


Steven Le Vine 2:17

Awesome.


Shannon O'Dowd 2:18

Let's talk about Steven. So you're a contributor to Forbes, Rolling Stone. And, um, wow. So you've got wide reaching media influence, you guide your clients. I mean, I think that you're an incredible writer. I think you're incredible at what you do. And you're on the Rolling Stone Culture Council now. You're a founding member, right?


Steven Le Vine 2:42

Correct. Correct. Honored to be there.


Shannon O'Dowd 2:46

I saw that on social media. That is very, very impressive. And the Forbes Agency Council as well. So you really have your finger on the pulse of everything that's going on in the media industry.


Garrett McClure 2:59

And Shannon, I'll tell you an interesting thing. If you pick up a paper copy of Rolling Stone this month, you will find Steve in the paper edition of this month's Rolling Stone, so talk about a milestone. That's a big deal.

Shannon O'Dowd 3:15

In Rolling Stone magazine. That is kind of amazing.


Steven Le Vine 3:19

Kind of life-changing.


Shannon O'Dowd 3:20

It is. So awesome. It must be surreal.


Steven Le Vine 3:24

It's very surreal. The magazine I used to throw in my parents' shopping cart. But now I'm in it so they can have free copies.


Shannon O'Dowd 3:38

I used to do that with Betty and Veronica. If you remember that one.


Shannon O'Dowd 3:42

Okay. And then we also have Garrett McClure, Who is the Chief Strategy Officer, welcome.


Garrett McClure 3:47

Hi. Good to be here. I'm so glad to be here. Okay. It's an exciting, exciting milestone day.


Shannon O'Dowd 3:57

So yeah, it's huge. So for more than two decades have leveraged your tried and true experience and creative collaboration, mission-driven media optimization to propel companies towards their highest purpose. Now you have an incredible amount of experience in corporate coaching and strategy and you're really bringing that to grapevine. Your consulting clients, you're helping them meet their media goals. And in rapid record time, I might add.


Garrett McClure 4:34

I'm really thrilled. Steven and I have known each other for a long, long time and we've been working together for many years and when the opportunity came up to help this amazing brand, as you mentioned with some truly phenomenal culture-building clients, I jumped at the opportunity not only to work with such an amazing man, but also to work with such important tastemakers and changemakers out there. And so I am honored and humbled to be able to add my experience and my insights to help us all, you know, reach the goals and all ships rise. So, thanks. I'm excited to be here.


Shannon O'Dowd 5:13

Thanks, Garrett. So let's jump in. I know we don't have a ton of time. So I have questions. Perfect. All right. So we're here, we're having a party, we're doing a divisions launch, what are we launching? What are the new divisions? Tell us about it.


Steven Le Vine 5:29

So the new divisions are Tech, Consumer Brands, which could be consumer goods, like products, or brick and mortar stores, primarily products, Celebrities and Experts, and those could be coaches, speakers, anybody that has a platform and has a story to share and influence.


Shannon O'Dowd 5:51

Great, great. So we've got Celebrities, Tech, Brands, Experts. Right?


Steven Le Vine 6:05

Correct.


Shannon O'Dowd 6:17

So if I'm in one of those areas, and I'm really looking for a PR firm, what makes grapevine different? What makes you stand out?


Steven Le Vine 6:28

So I've been doing this for 15 years now, I've been running grapevine for 15 years. It's what I love to do, it's why I get up in the morning. And the reason that I got into PR was because of a natural love of, you know, as a kid, I would love to share stories of places I've been, musicians that I liked, you know, sharing albums with classmates, I had sort of this reputation for being sort of like an evangelist for my favorite artists, some of which I get to work with now, which is quite an honor and full-circle. And I still do the same thing. Now if there's a product that I like, I just, you know, bombard people with it, because I never want to be the only one that's experiencing something, I want as many people as possible to share in that experience. And so it really comes from a natural love of promoting things that I feel passionate about. And so I think that now lends itself to what I get to do for my clients. And it's quite a wonderful and exciting thing.


Shannon O'Dowd 7:47

It comes from a really genuine place. Exactly, I picture little Steven going around, 'You've got to listen to these? Have you checked them out?'


Steven Le Vine 7:57

Oh I would tell stories about a place that I went, you know, as a teenager, with my parents on a cruise ship or to New Mexico, or to visit my cousins in Colorado, and I would just tell them every single detail of the experience, which probably annoyed them. But looking back now I realize it's because I felt that by sharing those details, I was painting a picture for them, I was making it as real as possible so that I could share that with them. And so now I get to do that through crafting stories for my clients and attempting to get the media interested so that they share with more people.


Shannon O'Dowd 8:40

That's exactly what you do. You have to create this picture for people. So then they want to go out and have the experience on their own.


Shannon O'Dowd 8:49

So I mean, I really wanted to ask you why you're passionate about telling clients' stories, but I feel like you kind of told us a little bit about that. Is there anything else that you want to add? Like, you know, when you meet a client, like, what kind of turns you on and or, you know, lights your fire in terms of communicating their message?


Steven Le Vine 9:09

It's really about the energy. It's hard, it's almost kind of hard to explain it because it's that energy...that connection with the client, whatever they do, I mean, whether they're an entertainment artist, a celebrity, you know, the founder of a tech company, like Graham McConnell, who is the founder of Nth Round. Could be an expert, a speaker or a coach, or it could be you know, the entrepreneur who has founded a really cool sparkling water brand, or a coffee brand. It's really just about this kind of visceral connection with them and with what they're selling, whether it's a product or a service or an idea. It's just about that connection. If I feel passionate about it enough, which I do with all of our clients, and always have, then I want to share that and help to craft a story around who they are and what they do and what makes them special.


Garrett McClure 10:18

I want to jump in here. This is part of the reason that I've always, since day one when I met Steven, when he was doing the press for the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, which is a pretty large nonprofit in the performing arts space. Some pretty amazing celebrities have endorsed and worked with that brand. And Steven helped us secure all that. And I was always impressed with his curiosity to connect. Like, why does this matter? What is the true story? What are we trying to tell? And that really resonated with me. Because our stories matter, right? And so the stories are really, really important. Stories shape our world, shape our reality. Being in media for 20 years, but now on the coaching side of things, we tell a story about our lives every day. What am I? What do I believe in? What is this? What do I believe about the world? And so it's critical that people get a clear view. I work with professionals and organizations that understand the power of stories, and Steven has that gift to really sit down and be inquisitive about what makes you special and unique. What is your story, and who needs to hear it? Like, if you're a tastemaker, a mold breaker, or any of those fun names, what is the special, unique thing you're doing that the world deserves to know about? And that's something I've always admired about you, Steven. And to find somebody who's passionate about storytelling as I am, you know my early career was in photojournalism, and news media. And so I understand the power of stories. And now to be able to do that with clients who are literally changing the world and making the culture around us is a true gift. So I just want to reiterate that, that if you have a brand, or you have a message, or you're an expert, or you're a tech platform, what is the story that deserves to be told to the world? And let's find a way to partner to help you clearly understand that and then articulate it in our bite-sized media economy we have right now.


Steven Le Vine 12:36

First of all, thank you. And also you brought up some really salient points, really great points. And one of the things that I wanted to mention was when you mentioned tech. And one of the exciting things that I love about tech, in particular, is the fact that tech is really kind of a microcosm or a forecast of where things are going, where our culture is going, where we're going as a society, finding really great groundbreaking solutions for all different things, making them efficient, optimizing the things that we do every day. So there's a tech solution for pretty much every industry and every vertical out there, whether it's AgTech, EdTech, HealthTech, BioTech, FinTech, obviously, under those, there are different categories. So that's one of the things that I really love about our new tech division is the fact that we get to help share those stories, which are helping society at large to move forward into the future.


Shannon O'Dowd 13:48

Yeah, I love that. Isn't it fun, too? I mean, you know, I've gotten to work with you over the years. And you know I'm more in the media training lane. But isn't it fun how much you get to learn with what you do? Like you're learning about all these amazing innovations in tech and figuring out how to tell their story and get their message across? It seems like that's probably a pretty fun part of the job.


Steven Le Vine 14:11

I love that because I've learned so many things about industries and markets that I never would have had. There's been a couple of clients in the medical field that I've gotten to work with, and I've learned so much about what they do, and it's so incredible. Or our tech clients or even our celebrity clients, to see what makes them passionate about what they do. How do they write music, what's their process? How do they work on a set if they're an actor or a filmmaker? You know, just the ins and outs of what makes somebody tick and what drives them is so interesting to me. So both the curiosity around the technicalities of what they do or what a product is or service, but also just what goes on. What drives them? And I love that. That's one of the gifts that I feel that I get from what I do. Being able to learn about what a client does helps to inform weaving that story together and sharing it, but also just on a personal level, everything that I've learned and the people that I've gotten to meet, that's just such a rewarding, fulfilling part that I'm really grateful for.


Shannon O'Dowd 15:41

So, Steven, I want a story. What are the most rewarding experiences you've had?


Steven Le Vine 15:49

Oh, my god, there's been so many. There's been getting to go on tour with Madonna, working overseas in Africa. But I would say the most rewarding and fulfilling would be, because it meant so much to this particular client and very dear friend Danny Pintauro from "Who's the Boss." He had a really, really personal story to share that he had not shared with the public. And he said the only person that I'll tell is Oprah. And normally, I would hear that and go, you know, everybody wants to talk to Oprah. But I knew with him that we could do it. And it took some time because of timing issues with the production of the show. But we ended up getting an exclusive sit-down with Oprah, where he shared his story, which was about his HIV status, and very personal to him, but something he just needed to share. He wanted to help as many people as possible by sharing his story. And so from that, we actually had to sit on that story, on that segment, for six months. We couldn't say a word, we worked with Oprah's production team, and they were amazing. Really amazing. They reflect the culture of what she stands for. And then immediately, as soon as it launched, it became a top Yahoo news story and trended all over. We immediately mobilized with a campaign, in which he was on The View and on E! News and Australia's Mornings TV show, doing satellite media tours, and went to awards ceremonies wear he got awards. And it was just a really, really amazing experience. And I feel like it kind of gave me the opportunity to put the pedal to the metal and see where things can go. And I know it meant a lot for him. So I think the fact that it was not only exciting and helped create more connections with the media and to tell a story on such a massive level, that actually is life-changing to people. But, also on the personal front getting to do that for a very dear friend, one of my best friends was just one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things. And I would say in addition to that, getting to work on promoting albums, for artists that were my favorite artists that I normally, when I was in high school used to hand off their albums to kids in high school and say, you know, listen to this artist, listen to this album from Lisa Loeb, and now to get to work behind the scenes and be able to share my ideas and be able to promote, you know, her music and, you know and get to, it's just really, really amazing. And that just touches the surface of the experiences that I've had, that I'm so grateful for.


Shannon O'Dowd 18:50

So awesome. It must have been really hard to stay silent for so long.


Steven Le Vine 18:56

Very hard, especially for me not to be able to share it on social media.


Shannon O'Dowd 19:00

It's hard, but it sounds like it paid off in dividends. And you're right, it's such a meaningful story and something that can really benefit people who are in a similar situation and need somebody to look to that, okay, this person is going through this, and it's been through this and I remember them from my childhood, you know, it's so huge. So I'm going to assume, knowing you that when you're helping Danny craft, like he's gonna sit down with Oprah, like you're helping him with how to craft that story and how to, you know, really organize that. How do you break down communicating a compelling story?


Steven Le Vine 19:41

Well, there are publicists out there who will manage what their clients are saying and I get it, but sometimes I feel that it's important to allow the client to be their genuine self. And because that comes off. You know, the public can recognize that? And so I'm always in favor of, you know, be yourself and be authentic. And so with him, I didn't try to get him to be something he's not or to tell him to, to speak a different way. You know, of course, there was refining his message, a bit like here are the talking points, here are the things that you want to hit, because it's important to share those, just in general, because those are important, as you only have a limited amount of time, especially as you know, on TV, maybe not so much with print, or even podcasts or radio, but TV, they only have a limited amount of time. So you've got to drive those points. So there was that, but I think it's just really about - I call it the brand's DNA. Every brand has and it could be a person, a celebrity, a product, a service, whatever it is, has its own DNA. No other company, no other person is going to have that. There's no way. Their background is different, what they do is different. So knowing that, you know, really kind of diving into what makes him special, what makes this story compelling, what makes it meaningful. So it was really just about with him, making sure that he on a personal level was getting to share what mattered to him. And then by that very nature that would influence people too. There are plenty of people that were reaching out to Danny. I remember that they were like: Thank you so much for telling the story. Thank you for being so brave. Maybe they were afraid to tell it themselves, now they were able to go out and tell that story to other people. So it's really about that, I think it's the personal connection that a client has with their audience. And the media facilitates that. So first you got to get to the media, and then have the media tell it to the public.


Shannon O'Dowd 22:04

Yeah, yeah, I got to say on a personal note, and then I want to talk to Garrett a little bit too. You know, having known you over the years, you are so not the stereotypical PR guy. I mean, you are amazing at your job, and probably the best I've seen. But you're not like the traditional Hollywood like, 'Oh, don't call me, I'll call you.' It's like you are so real and authentic, and you just genuinely care and you really come at your approach to working with your clients from a fan place, like you love what they do, and you want to share it with the world. But all of the like, you know, just the inauthentic sometimes Hollywood stereotype of somebody who does PR publicity. That's so not you. You're such a real, genuine, kind person. And I love that you don't even need to be like that. No, my work stands for itself. Yep, I'm just going to genuinely care about everybody and have authentic exchanges. So I just on a personal note, just wanted to say that I think that you're really, really great.


Steven Le Vine 23:16

Thank you, I appreciate that so much. And likewise, for the two of you, as well, you're both your authentic selves and you don't try to be something you're not. You're cut from a different cloth. And that's a good thing.


Shannon O'Dowd 23:34

We have to stick together. So let's talk about what kind of clients across these four divisions are a good fit for you. Right? The other question I had, because you have these three locations... Do they have to be located in one of those locations in order to work with you?


Steven Le Vine 23:57

You mean in Los Angeles, Austin, and Nashville?


Shannon O'Dowd 23:59

Yes. Do they have to be based in one of those three places in order to be a client?


Steven Le Vine 24:03

No, we've worked with clients in Australia, we've worked with clients in different countries in Africa. Only place we haven't had clients is Antarctica...yet! So that's not a barrier. I mean, the only thing is there are time zone differences, but that's never held me back. You know, I like to travel a lot. I've traveled overseas before where there's a complete reversal of the timezone and been able to communicate effectively with the client and get their needs met. So, no, they could be anywhere.


Shannon O'Dowd 24:43

I mean, it makes sense, especially in this world, especially over this last year, we've had to learn how to do everything remotely, um, but just in case somebody is watching this and is like, 'Well, I'm not in LA or Austin. So how do we know if I'm a fit?' I mean, Garrett, this is a question for you. And if I think I am, what is the best way to get in contact with you guys and start that conversation?


Garrett McClure 25:08

Beautiful, Shannon. Well, thanks for this conversation. It's always a joy to get to talk about what we do at grapevine. And so the way I would answer this question is, if anything in the last few minutes has resonated with you... if you feel a calling to have an authentic story told. Then we just need to have a conversation, right? I hesitate to give a list of hard and fast rules or qualifications to be the ideal grapevine client. And so, I think the best way to think about it is if you have a story to tell. If you are looking to share your message with the world, and you have listened to us over the last 20 or 30 minutes, and you hear the passion in Steven's voice for getting to know your story. If you hear you hear the passion in all of our voices for being authentic to yourself, authentic to your mission, authentic to your brand. So whether you're an expert or a coach, or a speaker, or an author, or someone who stands up, we want to help you stand out. If you're somebody in the tech space who's on it with some cutting-edge idea, and you want to help make the world a better place or have a different approach, we want to talk to you. So go to theprgrapevine.com. If you're watching us on Facebook Live, then you have the details are there. You can also reach out to me at garrett@theprgrapevine.com or just check out our website. We're on Insta, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, all the things. So we would love to just have a conversation and see if we're a good fit. That's always the best way, I think a good personal connection. And let's see where things go. Let's chat.


Shannon O'Dowd 27:00

So let's open up the forum for questions. Does anybody have any questions for Steven or for Garrett? We're welcoming all questions right now.


Garrett McClure 27:11 I would love you to know, Steven and Shannon have worked together for a long time. And it's been a true joy this morning to have you host this press conference. So I would just love to know what do you do and if people are interested in working with you, I'd love to just be sure we put that out there to the universe as well.


Shannon O'Dowd 27:57

So I am a media trainer, and an on-camera coach, which I've trained a lot of on-camera hosts for like Entertainment Tonight, and DIY, and HGTV, and all those networks. I also helped prepare, and this is why I've had the honor of being able to work with Steven over the years, I help experts get ready for their on-camera media appearances. So we've shared a lot of clients over the years, he gets them amazing, incredible media bookings. And then I'll kind of just refine their on-camera technique and make sure that they're ready and they're good to go. It's a fun job. I've also personally been a TV host for over 15 years. So I've been able to kind of take that experience and move it towards helping other people.


Steven Le Vine 28:49

Shannon is the best in the business. Her authenticity is incredible. I noticed as soon as we met and she's just so great at what she does. She's the ideal media trainer, on-camera coach, everything she does she excels at and I've been able to watch that and I'm honored to know you and get to work with you.


Shannon O'Dowd 29:21

I'm honored to know you and get to work with you too.


Garrett McClure 29:25

I'll just make an addendum to my question about like, 'How do you know if you're the right fit for grapevine?' Look at this kind of a team here. Right? These are the kind of people we surround ourselves with. And Shannon is a prime example of the type of professionals that we bring to the team or we make suggestions to add on to accelerating your message and everybody in our primary team and our extended team has this level of professionalism, authenticity and just that spark that we love to work with.


Shannon O'Dowd 30:08

It looks like Brianne has a question. Steven, in your opinion, what does PR look like in a post-pandemic world?


Steven Le Vine 30:18

Great question. And thanks, Brianne. I would say the roots of PR will not change. Whatever that story is, whatever that brand's DNA is, that won't change. What I would say is that I think, remote interviews, especially with TV studios, are going to be are here to stay. I think there's still going to be in-studio interviews. And I think we'll get back to some of that. But I also think that we've now become almost acclimated over the last year to seeing this kind of interaction, seeing remote interviews. It's much easier, I think, probably on the studio in some ways, and on the guest, to be able to do that. It's much quicker, it's much easier, you know with regard to traveling, so I think a lot of that will probably stay. And I think, maybe more consciousness around just how on a business level, how brands can adapt. I think that's been one of the great things that have come out of such a negative experience over the last year is getting to see which brands can adapt so creatively to the changing landscape. So I think telling those stories will continue. I think, obviously, there are differences around how people may work, there may be more remote working. So I don't know that that will change PR necessarily. But I think those two main things are what I see sticking around.


Shannon O'Dowd 32:04

I totally agree. I would really not be surprised if all the guests coming in remotely sticks around. It does just feel kind of easier, doesn't it?


Steven Le Vine 32:12

Easier. And also it's more economical, as well. They doesn't have to be as big of a production team.


Garrett McClure 32:20

This is the prime example. You know, I'm in my home office here in Palm Springs. Steven is joining us from the Austin office. And Shannon is in Los Angeles. And we're streaming live around the world. So this virtual press conference here, I think is a good example of how we're going to continue to see this and I remember watching, you know, some of the Saturday Night Lives and Jimmy Kimmel Live and all those shows everybody's doing it from their backyard, right? And you're like, Okay, that's, I can't wait to see who is going to be in their house? Are they getting in the backyard? Who's trimming? There's so many interesting gifts we can get from this transition?


Shannon O'Dowd 33:04

Absolutely. And I think we quickly acclimated to it, too. And you know, like, 'Oh, that's it, this is normal now.'


Steven Le Vine 33:10

'The View' is a perfect example of that. I think some of the shows like maybe 'The Talk' still is in the studio, and they're probably doing COVID testing every day, but 'The View,' when we first went into lockdown, everybody ended up at-home remote instead of at the panel table. And now I've become so used to just seeing all the ladies of 'The View' on Zoom, or whatever they use for remote, instead of around that table. Now, do I want to see them around the table? Yes. Because that's an energy that you can't duplicate, virtually. But we've become used to it because we've been seeing it for the last year.


Shannon O'Dowd 33:50

I totally agree with you that that's the hardest to kind of replicate. And, you know, a remote situation is like that the panel and the CO hosting like you kind of need the energy of that person. So that's a really great point. Well, this was awesome.


Steven Le Vine 34:08

Really great, yeah.


Shannon O'Dowd 34:10

Time just flew by.


Steven Le Vine 34:13

I just want to say first of all, thank you Shannon, so much. I really appreciate it. And thank you to Garrett and thank you to everybody that's in our audience. And to those who see it later on, I would love any feedback, and please reach out. I would say if you have a compelling story and you're doing something really cool and unique and you want to share that with the public. please reach out. We'd love to speak with you and hear what you're doing and how we can help you.


Shannon O'Dowd 34:52

Love it. Love it. Well, thank you so much. Thank you to everybody that joined us. Or you know, at a later point if you're watching us, thank you. We've had so much fun. And the website will be shared with you all. So check out Steven and Garrett. They're awesome. I can tell you firsthand. And yeah, have a good rest of your day.


Garrett McClure 35:16

Thank you so much, Shannon. Thanks, everybody for joining. It's been a pleasure. Bye.

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