Hispanic PR Q&A with Jorge Plasencia of Republica

Jorge Plasencia is Chairman and CEO of República.

What was your childhood ambition?
I always wanted to have my own business. It was my passion. I was one of those kids selling lemonade on the sidewalk. I was lucky. I landed an internship at age 14 in the promotions department of a radio station…the rest is history!  Jorge Plasencia Photo

Tell us about three people that you admire and why?
·        Warren Buffett for his remarkable business savvy and for always doing what’s right—no matter the situation
·        Oprah Winfrey for all she is and the brand she has built.  Only in America!
·        Shakira for reminding me that one should always reach for the stars. She strives for greatness and achieves it

What is your favorite quote?
“And to think it all stared with a mouse.”  – Walt Disney

Tell us about your educational background?
I’m proud to have graduated with honors from Barry University, an excellent Catholic university in Miami. I actually attended Catholic schools my entire life and believe I received a good foundation.

What is one of the best lessons your parents taught you about life?
To always do what’s ethical. Everything else will fall into place, on its own and in due time.

What is the most important business habit you have?
I invest my resources carefully and take calculated risk.  I do a lot of reading on the industry, new technology and trends.

What the best book you’ve recently read and why?
“Take Me With You” by my friend and renown sports journalist Carlos Frias.   It’s a masterpiece!

What advice would you have for young people exploring Hispanic or multicultural PR careers?
Perfect your writing skills.  Then, go for it! There’s still so much virgin territory to tackle.

What do you believe helps differentiate your agency and how big is your PR team?
Our people. We’ve assembled an all-star team of marketers.  They’re always focused on delivering at the highest level, every day for our clients.  Also, giving back to our communities is inherent in our culture. We have 41 folks right now. Our PR division has 10 talented people led by Christina Kolbjornsen.

Describe the most effective Hispanic marketing campaign you’ve ever worked on and what made it special?
We’re excited about the work we’re doing for Sedano’s Supermarkets.  When they hired us they had interviewed about a dozen agencies and couldn’t find the right match.  It’s so exciting to work with a brand that’s so beloved in Latino homes.  With its rich history as America’s largest Hispanic retailer, we’ve been tasked with assisting them overhaul the brand and its message. We’ve come up with a formula that cherishes the loyal, longstanding customer base, and at the same time targets the younger demos—potential new customers and their families. It’s so fulfilling to see young moms shopping with their kids. They’re now calling Sedano’s their favorite supermarket, a milestone for our client and for us.

Who are some of your agency’s top Hispanic/multicultural PR clients and what is the most exciting campaign your agency has worked on?
Aetna, The Nielsen Company, Sedano’s Supermarkets, TotalBank and Academica.  I’d say the most fulfilling campaign was to commemorate El Dorado Furniture’s 40th anniversary.  We created the “40 years, 40 families” effort. We were able to make dreams come true for 40 needy families as we remodeled their homes. It was like a real life reality show!  We partnered with CBS and Univision, coordinated everything and in the end, it turned out terrific!

What adjustments has your agency made to overcome some of the challenges of the current prolonged recession?
Thankfully, we’ve been growing despite the recession. That being said, we’re extremely cost conscious and take nothing for granted.

What’s in the works at República for continued growth and expansion?
So much. For starters, although everyone loves our space, we’re bursting at the seams. The good news is that we’ll be moving soon to new headquarters on Coral Way in the heart of the City of Miami and that’s very exciting. My business partner Luis Casamayor and I have worked hard on all of the plans and details for our new home and have every intention of keeping the same vibe from our current office. Clients and employees will love the new building, especially the terrace that overlooks the Grove. On the business side, our plans are to continue expanding nationally. We now have footprints in New York and in Orlando. We recently established a strategic development department, headed by Mark Llorente, who’s been doing a phenomenal job.

What is the biggest Hispanic marketing cliché you would love to see go away?
I’d like to see any and all of the clichés go away. They’re archaic. At República, we work hard to ensure corporate America understands that the Hispanic community is big, we’re powerful, we’re smart, we spend money and we’re here to stay!
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AGENCY BACKGROUND

AGENCY NAME:  República, LLC
ADDRESS: 2801 SW 31 Avenue, Second Floor, Miami, FL 33133
SOON MOVING TO:  2153 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145   Phone: 305-442-0977
AGENCY PRINCIPALS:  Jorge A. Plasencia and Luis Casamayor
PR BILLINGS:  NA
AGENCY FOUNDED: November 13, 2006
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