Lara Vandenberg explaining the founding of Publicist.


At The Core Of Lara Vandenberg, Publicist's Founder

Emily Bright

"I always knew the marketing and communications industry was my calling; I could never imagine myself anywhere else."

Publicist launched in May of 2020, but the platform to connect clients to top talent has been a vision of Lara's since 2018. Lara's top-notch talent and global networking skills have established her as a powerhouse in the marketing and communications world, and now she's ready to implement her expertises into her own platform.

Her father worked in every aspect of the communications and marketing world, from journalism to television to radio to then starting his own PR agency in the late 90's. Lara remembers being 10-years-old and her dad pacing around the living room, orating a press release, as she'd transcribe his words. "[I'd watch him in action,] from reacting immediately to global crisis issues to managing a celebrity mis-hap. I was eager to not only understand the inner workings of the industry but to see it evolve from such a young age."

Lara started her career working on the agency-side of the industry then transitioned to working shortly on the brand-side for a global enterprise. She then headed the communications and marketing department for a high-growth beauty brand, followed by doing the same function for a high-growth B2B tech company. Lara says that having these experiences on each side of the industry allowed her to embrace its strengths while also understanding its weaknesses.

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"Communications and marketing is an industry that relies on word of mouth. Having a strong global industry network myself, I became acquainted with some of the brightest professionals and often became a link for introductions."

Lara's immense knowledge and strong networking skills have allowed her as well to be introduced to premium talent. From all these introductions, she continuously realized that a problem lay within hiring premium talent on-demand. From Fortune 10's to innovative startups, from advertising holding companies to brilliant individuals, she realized that this was an industry-wide issue. She noticed that buyers didn't want to engage in long and fixed retainers; they wanted short engagements with workers they can trust. The amount of skills and services that encompass the marketing and communications world is infinite and rapidly growing, meaning that the industry must be flexible and versatile. From newer focuses like Amazon advertising and Shopify marketing to legacy services like corporate communications and SEO, Lara knew that she needed to create a platform that securely features and supports it all.

"This problem wasn’t solely mine, and it was much bigger than me individually. So, I set out to build a global marketing network that houses the leading community in the world of talent. The service needed to be accessible for clients to hire quickly and effectively on a secure platform they could trust."

Lara, eager to put her skills to work, wanted to figure out a way to change the industry's history of solely relying on word of mouth. She yearned to find a solution to accelerate the fastest-growing market segment globally all in one location. Enter, Publicist.

Creating a platform focused entirely on tech with no previous technical experience was undoubtedly a great challenge for Lara. "I had so much to learn, and at times I learned the hard way. I engaged the wrong teams to build the early stages of the platform." She first started building an MVP, or a minimum viable product, in 2018 to determine the market appetite and garner data on the time it takes to hire; the supply and demand segmentation; the size and length of a project; and more.

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At the beginning, the core users of the MVP were her network as well as mutual connections. The MVP was in the market for a year while she kept her day job at Knotch as the Senior VP of Communications and Marketing to pay for the tech build. Publicist was then formally launched to the market in May of 2020.

"The future of work is project-based. COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated this trend, and Publicist is here to be the solution to any company, no matter its size, to hire for marketing and communications industry-based work."

The current climate of the market has inadvertently boosted Publicist's relevance given that more talent is moving to freelance-based work, and more companies are benefitting from flexible support rather than retainer-based agency relationships. More brands are continuing to reconsider the size of their internal teams as well.

Publicist now has over 1,000 registered users, and its numbers are steadily climbing.

Follow Lara and Publicist to see the growth of this incredibly exciting marketing lead. The future truly is freelance.