Tag Archives: Denver

My Two Passions: Craft Beer & Marketing

The city of Denver recently hosted Startup Week, an annual series of seminars that not only showcases up-and-coming local businesses, but educates attendees on what it takes to be successful. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to attend a seminar that combines two of my passions: craft beer and marketing.

This particular seminar consisted of a panel representing three Denver-based brewing companies: Spangalang, Bierstadt Lagerhaus and Black Sky Brewery. These breweries embody the Denver craft beer movement, as they are small microbreweries that typically yield about 500 barrels a year. Breweries in this category are responsible for making Colorado the craft beer capital of the United States, and represent an industry that greatly impacts the culture of our society.

Passion Is Essential Ingredient

Although the topics of discussion remained heavily focused on the craft brewing industry, the panel’s insights and perspectives proved to be applicable to many industries. For me, the key takeaway is the importance of passion in your work. Despite entirely different backgrounds, each brewer has a love for their craft. Again and again, they reiterated that when nurturing the growth of a new business, without passion, one will fail. Believing in yourself is the key ingredient in the recipe for small-business success.

Crafty Marketing

I learned what type of marketing tactics each brewery found to be best suited for engaging new consumers. Interestingly enough – all three of the brewers agreed that they don’t invest many dollars, let alone interest, into traditional marketing. It was apparent that there was a stark contrast between the approach of smaller, artisan breweries as opposed to juggernauts such as Anheuser Busch or MillerCoors. While the latter has the capacity to inject a surplus of dollars into flashy, top-of-the-line advertising, the smaller breweries make better use of social media and word-of-mouth recommendations. They touched upon the importance of building communal relationships and representing themselves as local companies with a simple message: We make good beer.

Quality on Tap

To wrap up their thoughts, the panel made a point to establish the importance of quality when providing goods or service to the general public. It is imperative that if one isn’t making use of the highest quality, especially when it comes to effort (a personal export that drives success), one needs to reconsider whether or not to continue on that path. If a person can’t stand behind the quality of his or her work efforts, let alone the product delivered, then why do it at all? The concept came full circle, as passion and quality can repeatedly impact one another extensively.

Though our industries and day-to-day jobs may be entirely different, the path to success is very similar. Love what you do, and you will be successful. Maintain the quality of your efforts, and you will be proud of the result. Stand by your brand, and you will perfect your craft. Cheers!


The digital landscape is always evolving and R&R Partners is dedicated to ensuring its clients are on the forefront of those innovations. Recently, several members from the Denver digital team had the fortune of attending the annual Denver Digital Summit. Jessica Hunt, Katie Fisher, Erin Mowry, Kellie Starr and Brian Kelley attended the two-day summit in downtown Denver to hear about the latest trends in digital and to stay on top of the various categories within the industry. This year’s sessions focused heavily on SEO (mobile first!), Snapchat, the importance of video in social media, content marketing and customer experience. The five of us often split up into different sessions to ensure we were getting exposure to every relevant topic. Later in the evenings, we rubbed elbows and clinked glasses with some of Denver’s digital finest. We’re excited to continue investing in the capabilities of our people and are confident that many of our learnings from this opportunity will help us to keep on #winning in digital for our clients!

Below are Kellie Starr and Brian Kelley’s four key takeaways from the summit:


R&R Partners Welcomes Four Rock Star New Hires

It’s no secret that finding top-tier talent can be challenging − but definitely not impossible. We’ve certainly been winning with our hires this year, and we’re happy to share that we’ve recently been joined by the best of the best, cream of the crop, in-it-to-win-it type of people. We’d like to officially welcome Steve Palmer, Mary Kay Hogan, Monica Bouldin and Michon Martin to the R&R family. With over 60 years of combined experience, they’ll prove to be incredible assets in multiple areas of the company. With varying expertise in government affairs to marketing communications, we’re thrilled to have them on board.

Steve PalmerMary Kay HoganMichon MartinMonica Bouldin

Serving previously in senior positions for Grayling, Steve Palmer and Mary Kay Hogan come to us as national government affairs strategists based in R&R’s Denver office. While Steve will focus on national clients, Mary Kay will focus on her specialty: state government affairs. Prior to her time with us, Mary Kay was a legislative director under former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. As R&R’s foundation is rooted in politics, it only makes sense to continue expanding our government relations department to thrive with the dynamic political times and help our clients to pave their way through them.

Our next rock star is an elite marketing communications executive who brings quite a few prestigious awards with her. She’s not only a multi-award-winning marketing communications leader, she’s also the recipient of the 2016 Pat Tobin Award from the Black Public Relations Society, as well as the chairperson of the Advisory Council for Dress for Success West. Monica Bouldin, now serving as vice president in the Los Angeles office, is nothing short of an expert in the industry. With experience at mega companies like Warner Bros., FOX Broadcasting Company, and H+K Strategies, she’s developed profound knowledge in numerous aspects of marketing, brand strategy and communications − all of which will lead Monica to excel in her role at R&R Partners.

Lastly, coming to us from Resorts World Las Vegas as senior vice president and deputy general counsel of public affairs, Michon Martin now serves as vice president and strategic adviser for R&R’s offices all throughout the nation. With Michon’s skills as a policy adviser and negotiator, she makes an incredible addition in growing and diversifying the agency as well as facilitating client wins. She’s been dubbed “Most Valuable Player” of the 2015 Nevada legislative session, has served under Governor Brian Sandoval, and was influential in shaping the language used for Nevada’s human trafficking bill. Michon says she is thrilled to join the R&R family and sees herself as a natural fit, considering that #winning is ingrained in her DNA too. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

R&R Denver’s Top 10 TED Talks

Over the past year, R&R Partners’ Denver office has been meeting once a week to enjoy lunch and watch a selection of TED Talks. It has been an inspiring year of talks, so we thought we would share our favorites with you. Our 10 favorites cover a variety of topics including leadership, motivation and how our world is changing. We hope these talks inspire you and fuel your creativity as well.

Try something new for 30 days – Matt Cutts

Katie Fischer, Media Planner Buyer – “This talk inspired me to tackle several goals that had been on my “far future” to-do list. In realizing that I could accomplish a goal or create a new habit in 30 days, it changed my perspective on these seemingly impossible goals. Thirty days is a short window of time − way less daunting than I had built up in my own head. We really can achieve our highest goals if you truly put in the work day in and day out without quitting!”

Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast. – Tom Wujec

Jacqueline Meason, Account Director – “Love how this TED Talk reminds us that every person thinks differently. Some people like to really spell things out and others like to be concise. The idea behind breaking down a complex thing into a number of steps through visuals is a good one for agencies. I plan to put my white board to better use and have some drawing sessions with the team.”

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life. – Jane McGonigal

Katie Fischer, Media Planner Buyer – “Learning about gamer mentality completely changed my outlook on the importance of gaming. Not only were my eyes opened, my preconceived notions about gamers were shattered. This talk helped me understand my own brother and his affinity for gaming, and helped me to find a way to better connect with him! Gamers unite!”

The future of news? Virtual reality. – Nonny de la Pena

Monica McCafferty, Director of Public Relations – “As a journalist, your goal is to connect with people on an emotional level, educate them and challenge preexisting perceptions. If people can experience the story for themselves, which VR allows, reporting will take on a whole new dynamic. Vietnam was the first television or “living room” war, bringing the reality of war into people’s homes. If VR takes on today’s modern wars, I think it will have a profound impact on embedded journalism as well as on how people consume news.”

How great leaders inspire action – Simon Sinek

Sean Tonner, President – “This quote from Simon Sinek says it all, ‘If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat and tears.’”

The power of vulnerability – Brene Brown

Monica McCafferty, Director of Public Relations – “When I was 20, I traveled solo throughout Europe. What I found was that when I allowed myself to be vulnerable, I was rewarded. Whether it was connecting with a local who took me in as a guest, or connecting with other Americans, Canadians and Aussies also with the token Eurail pass − the ability to put yourself out there to strangers and find a family in return was oddly easy. Of course, one must do this in a smart manner, but I left Europe with a strong sense of being able to read people’s body language, have empathy, and look for the similarities, not the differences. These skills have transferred into my professional life as a PR professional, where courage, compassion and the ability to connect are essential. ‘Spin’ is dead.”

How to build your creative confidence – David Kelley

Kellie Starr, Digital Project Supervisor − “This TED Talk spoke to me because I think we oftentimes forget that a good idea can come from anywhere. Surprisingly, through a series of small steps, you can build your confidence in being creative and in other areas as well. So even though my role is not typically a creative one, it reminded me that I have the ability to be naturally creative and therefore support my project team in the ideation and visual process as well.”

How Christmas lights helped guerrillas put down their guns – Jose Miguel Sokoloff

Brian Kelley, Digital Strategist – “As advertisers, we love it when an idea inspires action. Jose Miguel Sokoloff shares a powerful idea with us that helped encourage Colombian guerrillas to put down their weapons and come home. There truly is power in creative ideas.”

Never, ever give up – Diana Nyad

Erin Mowry, Public Relations Coordinator – “In 2013, at the age of 64, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim 111 miles from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Her TED Talk says it all in her title, ‘Never, ever give up.’ Not only did Diana accomplish her dream, she did it later in life when many people said there was no way. This TED Talk was motivating and inspiring to say the least. I loved this talk because it proved that no matter the adversities you face in life, you just keep swimming to accomplish your goals.”

The way we think about charity is dead wrong – Dan Pallotta

Brian Kelley, Digital Strategist – “Are our ideas of how charitable organizations should be run handicapping their ability to be successful? Dan Pallotta offers new ways to think about the way charities spend their funds to accomplish big goals. This talk challenged some of my preconceived notions about charities and reminded me to challenge my notions about other industries as well. Only by truly analyzing the situation can we identify game-changing strategies and ideas.”