Emerge Interactive Media, formed by Tulsan Jessica Powell and former news anchor Diane White, seeks to become the Tulsa public relations and advertising agency that turns traditional media on its head and brings new media opportunities to the forefront for local companies.
“Our mission is to take traditional advertising and public relations methods and move them into the new millennium,” White said. “We try to have an interactive element to everything that we do, whether it’s Internet, webcasts, podcasts or video.”
Emerge Interactive Media operates out of its new office at 3741 S. Peoria Ave.
Scraping the Box
While traditional advertising and public relations tactics lean heavily on print venues, Powell and White prefer to use media like DVD presentations and e-mail campaigns to propagate a message.
“Podcasts and webcasts are becoming so popular,” White said. “But some people get intimidated when they hear those terms. All they really are, though, are online audio and video people can download.”
“There is a lot of technology out there that this part of the United States hasn’t really taken advantage of,” Powell said. “Consumers have gotten on board with this technology, and they’re excited about it. But advertisers aren’t communicating to the consumer using those methods.”
Powell and White want companies targeting the technology-fluent generation to learn to benefit from supplementing traditional media outreach with electronic audio- and visual-based communication.
“This generation wants to be online all the time,” Powell said.
“And, the number of people 60 and older using the Internet for news and information has increased by 25 percent,” White said. “So, it’s not just Generation X and Y, but also the Baby Boomers.”
As new technologies become more available to more people, Emerge Interactive plans to blaze the trail toward utilizing the full spectrum of media venues available to advertisers.
The seed that became Emerge Interactive Media was planted about four years ago.
“Though I wanted to be an agency at that time, the companies I wanted to market to were locked into contracts,” Powell said.
But those companies were looking for more – namely, how to better tap into the local market.
“These companies were coming to me saying, ‘We have this big agency out of state, but we don’t feel like it’s working, and we’re locked into a contract,’” Powell said. “But they kept asking me for advice on what they should be doing locally.”
Most clients of Emerge Interactive are small-to-medium local companies. Just Between Friends Franchise Systems, Peak Methods and The Platinum Center all trust their public relations and advertising work to Powell and White’s partnership.
Before the advent of Emerge Interactive in its current form, Powell performed contract work for local companies. But soon, “I was ready to take it to the next level.”
Then, White came into the picture.
“When Diane came on board, it was a great opportunity to grow. Together, we have more to offer,” Powell said.
“Now, we’re signing clients, and we’re working with them on their long-term goals and plans,” White said.
From June 2006, “we came from meeting in her home office or Café Bona, or Shades of Brown, to get work done – to now having 3,600 SF of beautiful office space.”
Capturing an Emerging Niche
“A lot of companies have really small budgets, and they don’t know how to spend it effectively,” Powell said. “Some companies have large budgets they spend, but they aren’t doing anything interactive. They are hungry for something else, but they are out of money.”
An early client of Powell’s was searching for “something more,” so she began to look for ways to bring non-traditional media outlets into a realm of comfort, usability and effectiveness.
“We don’t have cookie-cutter, package A or B, P.R. plans,” White said. “We customize everything.”
The way employees at Emerge Interactive interact and work together starts with mentoring.
“I was working with some talented people in TV production – people with 15 years of experience in media,” White said. “And, we have what we like to call fresh talent.”
Powell and White recruit employees hungry for experience in advertising and public relations in order to bring new perspectives to traditional methods.
“Our seasoned professionals can really learn from our young talent in these new medias,” Powell said. “And, our young guys can learn from the seasoned talent on the things they know.”
Emerge Interactive is behind the Gotta Have It Tulsa series, which showcases local clients’ offerings in the form of a television show. Show topics include home and garden trends, back-to-school and local holiday ideas.
“That idea started with clients who didn’t have a lot of money to spend, but wanted to try all kinds of media,” Powell said.
The shows “give a good kick-off start to clients’ campaigns. From there, we can start a plan that will take the client in a defined direction.”
Business at Emerge has taken off since its early days in a home office, as “a lot of people are getting interested in what we’re doing, just by word-of-mouth,” Powell said.
White remembers Powell’s excitement at her success.
“It started as a little seed that has slowly been growing,” White said. “I had six months left on my contract at that time, and there was always a part of me that had dreamed about having my own business. And Jessica had even already come up with a name.”
“It was then that our conversations shifted from if we go into business, to when we go into business,” White said.
Emerge Interactive Media moved into its new offices before the New Year, and Powell is proud to say she has accomplished her American dream.
“Every day, when I get to come to the office, I know this is the legacy we’re building,” Powell said. ?