Kevin Bourke is the founder and principal of BourkePR, a PR and communications consultancy. He specializes in the media/entertainment, production, post-production and music tech space. Kevin talks with OWC RADiO host, Cirina Catania, about the lessons he’s learned throughout his PR career and how it all started with a passion for music.
As principal and founder of BourkePR, Kevin Bourke is a consultant to some of the most interesting and innovative companies in the entertainment media tech, music tech, VFX, post-production and production technology markets.
Kevin works exclusively with companies whose ideas and accomplishments deserve their moment in the spotlight. With 30 years of experience in technology-related PR and communications, he has worked closely with companies of all sizes. From startups to Fortune 500 brands, Kevin helps them navigate the markets in which they play, including brands such as GoPro, FiLMiC Inc., Luma Touch, Red Giant, Frame.io and many more.
Follow Kevin on Twitter and Facebook. Learn more about his business and reach him on LinkedIn. And don’t miss Kevin’s #TheDailyRiff guitar performances on YouTube like this one.
In This Episode
- 00:39 – Cirina introduces Kevin Bourke, founder, and principal of BourkePR, a public relations and communications consultancy specializing in the media/entertainment, production, post-production, and music tech space.
- 05:50 – Kevin shares how during college he became interested in marketing.
- 12:20 – Kevin talks about what made him stand out among the group applying for his first job.
- 16:46 – Kevin describes PR’s true meaning and shares his experience when he started back in the 90s.
- 22:50 – Cirina compares the changes in doing PR now vs. 20 years ago, and Kevin gives his advice on things to know about PR nowadays.
- 27:31 – Where and how you should focus on doing your PR to reach prospects and potential clients.
- 33:03 – Kevin shares his vision of the tech business for filmmakers and how it evolved, especially now with the mobile filmmaking being one.
- 39:55 – Cirina and Kevin talk about Frame.io’s success story sharing, where it all started as a tiny startup company.
- 47:31 – Kevin shares his passion for music, and tells the story of how he began filming himself playing Pink Floyd’s, Comfortably Numb, in his first video.
- 53:42 – Follow Kevin Bourke on his social media accounts and visit bourkepr.wordpress.com, to learn more about BourkePR’s business and services.
Kevin Bourke is the founder and principal of Bourke PR. I’ve known Kevin for a long time, and he runs a public relations and communications consultancy that specializes in media entertainment production, post-production, and music tech space. He’s awesome at what he does. He has a lot of talents, and we’re going to talk about your music, but before we go, hi, Kevin, thank you for doing this in the middle of all of your craziness.
Hi, Cirina, thanks for having me. It’s always fun talking to you.
Yes, you have had over the years, some of the most amazing and interesting clients. But before we get into that, I want to set the scene a little bit. Tell me about your background and your education and where you come from so people can understand how your background contributes to your success with all of these companies.
Sure. So going way back to the 80s. I am a graduate of Boston University. Ultimately, I graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing, but I didn’t start out that way. I actually went into college, thinking that I was going to be a rock and roll and a music star, and I entered college as a music major. And after about a year of studying classical guitar performance, I realized, I don’t think I’m cut out for this exactly, so maybe I should try something different. And I’m kind of glad that I had that realization at that very young age, I think I was 18 when I made that decision. But that decision landed me in a business school, not knowing anything about business, not knowing anything about anything, really. And I threw a dart at the dartboard, and it landed on marketing, and I thought that sounded interesting. So I started to really dive into that. So my entire school career at BU was in Business Administration and marketing and everything that goes with that.
Can I ask you a question, and then we’ll continue?
When you made that decision at 18 to leave music, what precipitated that because you are good at it, I’m asking because I did a similar thing. I wanted to get into music too, and I made a decision to go into something else. What was the catalyst for you to decide I’m going to take another turn? Was it your family? Was it the desire for financial success? Was it some friends?
Well, I remember the moment I was looking around, it was a Saturday in the fall. And every single one of my friends on a Saturday was in a practice room somewhere, practicing for 12-13 hours at a stretch. And I was thinking, that’s not me, I’m not doing that. Why wasn’t I as dedicated as these people? And I really started to ask a lot of questions about what I really wanted to do. And is this more of a hobby, is this something that I just gained personal pleasure from, or is this really a career that I want to throw my entire self into? And I came to the realization that I think this is more of a hobby and something that I just enjoy and I thought I was pretty good. I had some modicum of talent, but I wasn’t convinced that I was good enough to, especially as a classical guitarist. At the time, I think the biggest names out there were Andre Segovia and Christopher Parkening. And I’m like, I’m 18 I can’t compete with that, there’s no way. And I really started to think well, what other options are out there for me that I can create a comfortable life for myself? Because my brother was a musician, and I did watch him struggle, and that probably played into it a little bit. Getting that sort of firsthand glimpse into how difficult it can be and the lifestyle that you have to lead if you want to pursue that dream, especially in the early years, and I wasn’t convinced that that was for me. So I said, “Okay, what else? What else can I do?” and I literally fell into the business school.If your desires don't match the things you're presently doing, you're going to have a hard time accomplishing your goals as quickly as you’d like. Click To Tweet
You are proving Chris Fenwick‘s point, and he said something to me a few weeks ago that I really resonated with and he said, “Look at what you think you want today and look at what you did yesterday, and if the two of them don’t match, then your want is in the wrong place.” And I think you’re proving his point.
Yep, stumbling my way through financial accounting and financial management and literally in hell in those courses. But I found some glimmers in marketing because I realized I found it fascinating how you have the power of influence, how you could create a message, you could create an image, you could create some language that could influence masses of people. And that little kernel really kind of fascinated me, and it led me to dive a little bit deeper and a little bit deeper. And that was my introduction to the whole concept of marketing and, in particular, in influence. And I think it was the influence part of it that really stuck with me and began to shape my career as I moved forward.
Would you say you’re an extrovert or an introvert?
I think I’m an introvert. I come across a lot of people in my personal life and through work, and I look at how they carry themselves, and I say, “God, I could never be like that,” the sales guy who is always the one at the party, he’s telling the best stories, and making everybody laugh. I’m like, “Wow, how do you do that? I don’t have anything that funny to say or that interesting to say.” So I thought of myself as an introvert but extroverted enough that I was always willing to seek out and kind of find people to connect with and, again, kind of coming back to my business in my consultancy that’s really at the heart of it. I think that’s what’s really driven me forward.
I think it’s interesting because I would have put you in the introvert category as well. I’ve watched you for years to work with your clients and at large events like NAB or IBC. Those kinds of events where everybody’s trying to talk louder than everybody else, and you have this very quiet way of working. But I can see how as a young man, the ability to influence a lot of people through your writing, through your graphics, through your marketing and PR, how that would give you a voice. Anyway, I’m thinking about that while you’re talking. I think it’s a perfect match for you really because you’re smart and you have things to say you’re just not a braggart.
I was never really convinced that anybody would be that interested in anything that I had to say. Well, I always viewed myself as the man behind the curtain in many ways, and the notion of doing a podcast or doing something like this, at first, was very off-putting for me because it’s like, well, no, that’s not me. I put my clients in front of the microphone, and it’s them out there, not me. But I’m really glad that you always reach out to me and say, “Let’s do this, let’s talk,” because I really enjoy it. I realized that a big part of what I enjoy is connecting with people like you and being able to just talk and share ideas. And so I do really enjoy it.
The business is crazy right now, the whole business of PR, marketing, sales, and trying to help tech companies at what point you decide you really liked tech? Because a lot of your clients are tech companies. Some of them are startups, some of them are large companies, can you tell people who some of your clients are, and then I want to talk to you about at what point you decided you wanted to work with companies like that.
Well, I can tell you today I have a pretty amazing group of companies that I work with. I could just run down the list, Accusonus is a company out of Greece actually based in Athens. They make audio repair plugins for content creators, a very cool company, FXhome, the creators of HitFilm. I love these guys, incredibly creative, and community-driven just an incredible group of people. FiLMiC and FiLMiC Pro are just blowing my mind with what they’re doing with camera videos on the iPhone and Android devices. Luma Touch, the creators of LumaFusion. What these guys are doing with full-blown professional editing on an iPad is just incredible. Puget Systems, they make custom workstations for content creators, again, another incredible group of people who are so dedicated to their customers and so dedicated to their community. That’s the heart of their success, and that’s what I love about the most, it’s like, yeah, their technology is great, and they’re really smart people, but they’re so connected with the community. In Digital Anarchy, my old friend Jim Tierney did some incredible things with visual effects plugins and, more recently, with transcription. And I’m excited to say I just signed on with a company called Magix, the people who bring you Vegas, so I’ll be just starting up with them in a couple of days. I’m very excited about that.
Very cool. So when did you decide you had this leaning towards tech?
When I fell backwards into it
Haha, alright, I want to know.
So, again, going way back, graduating from BU, knowing that I think I want a career in marketing. This is 1988, it’s a very different landscape, there’s no internet, you’re mailing out resumes, and you’re doing interviews in person.
I can’t even believe when somebody says that to me. There was no internet, and I realize that I lived in an age when there was no internet. I feel very old.
It is crazy. But it also wasn’t that long ago. You’re not that old.
Oh, my goodness. So you fell backwards into it?
Yeah, this company came onto campus at Boston University, and they were an add in memory manufacturer. They made memory boards for vac stations and Apollo and Sun Microsystems, like a lot of companies that don’t exist anymore. But they said, we like you, we like your background. You know what was interesting, they were intrigued by my music. Everything else looked the same as everybody else, but they said, “Oh, this music major thing to tell us about that.” and that stood out to them, it was different. It kind of made me stand out a little bit above the crowd.
Well, two things, people who are gifted in music are often very good at math and very good at tech. I find a lot of my tech friends are also musicians. And the other thing is that your clients like to work with people they find interesting and people they like. So it goes without saying anyway, so they say tell me about your music.
So we hit it off, and they hired me, but they hired me in their sales department. And for me, it was a foot in the door. I’m just graduating, it’s a job, it’s an opportunity to get started with something I knew nothing about technology, absolutely nothing. But what I learned very quickly at this company, it was called Clearpoint Research out in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. And what I learned very quickly that I had this knack for some reason, I had this knack of translating very complex at the time, complex ideas about how memory boards worked—and translating that so that the average person could understand it. And that kind of evolved for me, and as my career progressed, and I got a little deeper into the technology market, it wasn’t so much my love of technology, but it was my ability to translate the benefit, and translate what it meant. And I became good at that, and I can’t really explain why it just sort of happened. And I recognize that as, okay, this is something that I can do well. From there, it led to public relations, and in fact, it was at that very same company. It was the late 80s, somewhat of a recession, times were tough, and ad budgets shrank. We were trying to figure out how to get more exposure for our little company, when we can’t really afford to do advertising so I raised my hand and I said, “I’ve been hearing about this PR thing. Let me try that. I understand it’s a really efficient way of getting our message out. We don’t have to pay for ads, but if we can get editors to talk about us and write about us, we can get that visibility.”PR is an efficient way of getting your message out. We don't have to pay for ads, but if we can get editors to talk and write about us, we can get that visibility. Click To Tweet
PR is more believable than ads for the masses in most cases anyway. I think advertising is good at building brand awareness and establishing your brand personality, but people really do believe PR if it’s done right.
They don’t necessarily believe PR they believe in the influencers, if there’s a publication, back in the day, there were these magazines, PC Magazine that came out every month, and those were influential magazines, these tech journalists that people listen to. So it was my job to connect with these influencers with these journalists and reporters and make myself believable and valuable to them so that they would then turn around and tell the story on behalf of my company or my client. And that’s the challenge. Because you’re absolutely right, I do believe that while advertising is valuable, I also recognize that there are very, very few companies that are good at it. It’s really hard to be good at advertising, and it’s really expensive to be good at advertising, but not so much with PR. It’s hard to be good at PR, but not necessarily incredibly expensive.
So let’s talk about that for a moment too. You have this new client, and you find out you like tech, you find out you’re really good at translating tech into normal speak so that people can understand. What do you say to people who nowadays say, “Well, I can do PR. I know how to tweet. I know how to put stuff up on Facebook.” I often say just because you know how to tweet doesn’t make you a good PR person.
Well, I guess I throw it back in terms of, what do you think PR is? I think a lot of people have a lot of different answers. For me, it means something very, very personal, and increasingly something very different. I grew up in the agency world after I left this company, I worked for agencies in Boston for many years. And I was observing how they operated, and they would staff up for a client and how these very junior, PR people would operate. And I also observed the frustrations on the client-side, and it just seemed very, very, very broken to me. I think you may have alluded to it. I just saw a lot of inexperience and unwillingness to invest in immersing yourself in the industry, everything that’s important to a reporter or a journalist or an influencer. You kind of have to be right there with them. You can’t just be kind of reading a script that maybe somebody else wrote, and then say, “So you’re going to write an article for me? How about now? How about now?” and it just doesn’t work that way, and nobody wins either. I hated the whole sort of environment, and it was a very negative environment, especially in tech PR in the 90s. It was very adversarial. I would have reporters hanging up on me and yelling at me.
Well, tech PR is very different than the entertainment media tech. It’s a very different community in tech PR, especially back in the day. I’m going back to 95, and these are a bunch of people sitting in newsrooms, cranking out articles as fast as they can. Who is relying on this exploding industry, this cottage industry of PR with these junior people, harassing them with story ideas, and trying to wade through what’s the BS and what’s real and what’s newsworthy. And not really being able to rely on any of these people because they’re junior PR people, they didn’t know what they were talking about. They were just tasked with sending out this press release and keeping sending it until somebody writes something. And it’s just not the way it works in the long run.
No. And they couldn’t answer questions either because they didn’t write it. And I’ve noticed when you write a tech company’s press release, and you’re very tech-savvy. And that comes across with how you write and what you write, and it’s reliable. So how else can you say you are different from a lot of the other companies that work in the business today?
Well, I’ll just speak to myself and what’s important to me.
I don’t want to put you in the spot, but you are good.
Thank you. I appreciate that. I’ve identified a couple of things that are very important to me. I kind of have some core values. One of the biggest ones is relationships, and I’ve invested a lot of time over the past 20 years just in this industry alone. Into those relationships, because I need to be a trusted, valuable resource for people, not just relying on someone to write about my client like, “Here, I’m going to send you stuff, you just write about my client.” Because that’s just serving me, I’m not interested in just serving my clients and me, I want to be valuable to you because I understand you’ve got a job to do. You need to create value for your readers, for your listeners, for your viewers, and you’re not going to be successful unless you have really good things to talk about or write about or demonstrate. So let’s work on this together, how can I help you be more successful? And you know what? You’ll be successful, I’ll be successful, my clients will be successful. But we kind of have this understanding and this relationship, and we’re in this together, and we’re going to help each other through this.
That’s the long tail. I think you’re brilliant about that.
Yeah. Well, I think it’s important just because I’ve lived through the flipside of that. And I’m in touch with a lot of the tech reporters from back in the day. We’re friends on Facebook and we don’t work together anymore because they’re still doing IT stuff. But I watched them suffer through PR hell, and they’re constantly posting, hashtag PR fails, and posting these horrible pitch letters or pitch emails that get sent to them. And like, Oh, my God, all these years later, you’re still suffering through this nonsense of just being harassed with jargon and BS. And they don’t even know you, but they’re harassing you.
Well, you know what really bothers me? This is one of my pet peeves when I get a pitch email from a publicist, and I know immediately all they have done is bring up that list on their contact management service.
Which I don’t subscribe to.
They just bring up that list. They’ve got thousands of people on it and upload the press release and click Send. And they just mass marketing their client, sometimes to companies and PR people, or journalists rather who have no interest in that subject at all. It’s a waste of my time, and I get so many emails anyway. I don’t want to whine about this, but it is annoying. There’s one thing I really would love you to talk about. And that is how reaching our audience, reaching our clients, reaching our customers has changed in the last 20 years. In the old days, there were certain things you could do to get the word out on behalf of your clients, print, radio, television events, public appearances, that kind of thing, fade out fade back in. It’s now 2019, and everything is different. And I think a lot of a lot of companies are scrambling to try to figure out how to reach their customers. What kind of advice can you give them?
Well, you’re absolutely right. It’s completely different. One of the biggest changes is that we all have the opportunity to connect directly with your audience, with your customer, whoever your audience is, and have the opportunity to connect directly with them. And that’s changed the game in a big, big way, but I also caution that you need to be smart about that and you need to be careful about that. A lot of companies today are playing a numbers game, and you alluded to this earlier, too, like when PR agencies, they buy these lists, and they just spam, because it’s about the numbers. And my argument is no, and it’s not, it’s still about the people. It’s about the people, and it’s about where they’re spending their time. So you need to invest that time to find out who these people are, where they’re spending their time, and meet them where they’re at. That might mean they’re on Twitter, that may mean they’re at NAB or at CES or at a user group meeting, but you need to be there with them to wade into that community and become a part of it. You can’t just spam them, because you want the numbers. And I think that’s a trap that a lot of people fall into, and it’s all about the data, it’s all about the numbers, it’s all about the rankings. And when you do that, when you approach it that way, you lose when you lead with that long term. You might gain the sense of immediate gratification, because you see a number like, “Oh, we got 1000 likes,” or you look at Google analytics, and you see this huge number that makes you feel good, like, “Okay, that was a success.” But my argument is, “Was it? Are you really connecting in a meaningful, substantive way with your communities?” I don’t think so. That’s not to say that data is not important, not to say that the numbers are important to use as a guideline as to keep that in mind. They are measurement tools, and they’re not strategic direction setting tools.One of the most significant changes in modern marketing is every industry can connect directly with their audience. Click To Tweet
Well, there’s a huge difference between the number of likes and hits and the amount of engagement. And I see a lot of people trying to do this for themselves, and they’re spending a lot of time, they’re making videos that they hope will go viral or they’re tweeting, or they’re Facebooking, or they’re on Reddit or Pinterest, or Etsy or heaven knows where. And nobody’s listening, and nobody’s looking, nobody is aware. It’s almost like they’re shouting into the wind. Talk to us a little bit about the demographics of the different outlets that you think are valuable for your clients. Like for example, which client would you put on YouTube or which would you work on Facebook with, or is it all of the above?
Again, it’s about where are your people spending their time? Where’s your community spending their time? It might be Twitter or YouTube; it really depends. But I kind of look at it differently. I look at it as, what’s the story that we’re sharing? What’s the value that we’re adding? Like if you’re Accusonus, and you have these incredible audio repair plugins. Now I look at that, and I know instinctively that there’s a lot of editors out there who are not sound designers, but they have to deal with audio, they’re gonna want to know about this.
You’re talking to one of them right now. I think the sound is my weak point. We were talking about it at the Creative Summit this weekend. Sound is really tough.
Well, exactly. So it’s like, okay, so where are these people? Where are these editors? Well, they’re in a lot of different places. So you kinda need to wander around into all of them and connect with them. So for example with Accusonus, there’s traditional coverage because, for me, you get an article and say a StudioDaily or postPerspective or Post Magazine or ProVideo Coalition, these are all great places to start a conversation, it’s not the end game, that article in StudioDaily is not the end game, that’s the starting point, that starts a conversation. Then you take that content, then you take it to Twitter and say, “Hey, guys, I heard you were talking about sound last week, have you seen this? Let’s talk about it,” and you engage. It’s all about engaging and bringing value to the community and understanding all of the different avenues available to you to do that. So it’s not a campaign, it’s not a neat little package, it’s just your ability, your willingness to connect and engage with the community and understand where they are. And it often means there are many, many different places. So you need to be there.
I think your personal approach is really important. I try to talk to people about them. Some people just don’t get it. But you’re the kind of person who will pick up the phone or will send an individual email and say, “Hey, I have this new client. I think this is interesting to you. What do you think?” and so it becomes a service that you’re offering to journalists, which we appreciate. Me as a journalist, putting my journalist hat on, I really appreciate that because I know that when I get an email from somebody like a Kevin Bourke, it’s going to be something that was thought out that’s aimed directly at me. I’m curious because you’ve handled a lot of startups.
Some of them stay with you for years, and others say, “Okay, we’re really big, we don’t need you anymore,” there’s that kind of attrition thing that happens. It used to happen to me when I was managing writers and directors many years ago. They would get the one big hit, and then they would say, “Okay, I’m going to go on to a bigger company.” Is that hard for you, or do you find most people are staying? I don’t want to embarrass you with this question, but I’m curious about it. Because you work so hard, we all work very hard on behalf of our clients, and loyalty is not what it used to be.
It’s case by case. A lot of my clients stay with me for years now.
Yeah, I’m looking at this list, and I think you’ve had a lot of these guys for a long time.
Yeah. Because there’s a lot of trust that’s built up, I really do partner with my clients, and I get involved in their day to day, and it becomes, well, how can I continue to add value to this team, so that we can continue to grow and our relationship evolves as time goes on. Sure, there are absolutely times where I’ve had clients get acquired, and that’s usually like, that’s the end of it. I’ve only had one exception when my client, CineForm, was acquired by GoPro and thought, “Oh man, that’s it. I’ve lost a client.” But CineForm, the team we had such a great rapport, and they told GoPro that “No, you need to keep Kevin on board because he can really help communicate to the filmmaking community,” and it was one of those examples where when a client got acquired, but I still was able to stay on and work for a few years, which was fantastic. But for the most part, they do stay long term because we’re just growing together.
Absolutely. So let’s talk tech for a minute. I’m curious about your take on where the tech business is going for filmmakers and creatives. Do you see a trend happening anywhere that you want to talk about? I have some thoughts, but I want to know from you what you’re thinking.
Well, there are certain things that I’m excited about, mobile filmmaking being one, democratization in general. We’ve been watching democratization happen for years now, and it evolves, we watched it evolve from linear editing to nonlinear editing. The camera market went from big cinema cameras down to DSLRs. And now we’re talking about directors like Steven Soderbergh shooting major films on an iPhone. I’m fascinated by all that, and I feel like right now we’re in this incredibly exciting time with mobile devices and mobile filmmaking, because it is accelerating that democratization even more. So what Filmic is doing, what Luma Touch is doing, is just really exciting. So I think that’s a very hot trend right now, and I don’t think that’s a flash in the pan thing, because one of the things that I noticed is even the skeptics out there, they’re talking about iPhones and Android devices as cameras even though they might be skeptical about it. They’re talking about them in the same conversations that they’re talking about cinema cameras. And five years ago, that wouldn’t be happening, those devices would not be in the same conversation, and now, just like DSLR has got folded into those conversations, mobile phones, iPhones are part of that conversation and I find that really interesting,
As somebody who’s very involved with the Final Cut community, I thought well is Luma Touch competing with Final Cut Pro? No, it’s integrating, isn’t it? You can export your XML from Luma Touch directly into Final Cut. How do you feel about all of that? Like they’re playing together. Filmic Pro in Dub dub, they talked about the new iPhone in being able to shoot in more than one angle at the same time. I’m excited about that. When is that coming out? Are you allowed to say? I want it now. Can I have it now?
Sooner than you think.
That is coming very soon. And yes, I think it’s incredibly exciting, and it goes to what I was saying about the conversations that we’re having that we would never have three years ago, five years ago, because it just wouldn’t make any sense. You’d look at me crazy if we’re talking about cinema cameras, and I pulled out an iPhone, you’d be like, okay, put that way we’re talking about cameras. But even skeptics are talking about iPhones with the same language, the same lexicon. I think that is incredibly telling, and I think it also to the point that I’ve had skeptics say, “Oh, it’s just marketing. They’re just trying to market iPhones. It’s a flash in the pan,” well no, it’s not. Because you have filmmakers, you have the Steven Soderberghs, and you have the Matthew Cherrys, the Sean Bakers of the world. These guys are making films with their phones, not because they want to do something gimmicky but because they’re experiencing a connection with their story that was lost when this massive camera separated them. Suddenly there’s this thin, tiny device in their hands that puts them inches away from their story. Claude Lelouch said that as well, he talks about this intimate connection with his story, with his characters, with the actors that you just don’t experience. And that has nothing to do with gimmicks or trends or a flash in the pan. They see an exciting new way to tell their stories. We’re going to see Final Cut absolutely embracing Luma Fusion. And you mentioned Filmic Pro as well, and you’re going to increasingly see these players in those conversation circles. It’s exciting.
Can you explain to people listening better than I did, What Filmic Pro is about to be able to do? They announced it at dub dub, which is the Worldwide Developer Conference for Apple. When was that? Was that already three or four months ago now, right?
Was it that long ago?
I don’t know.
About two months ago.
Yeah. Okay. It feels like forever ago, because I’ve been waiting for this. Explain to people what’s going to happen with the new version of Filmic Pro?
Well, in short, it’s talking about the multi-cam experience. So you have essentially four cameras in the iPhone 11 if you count the front-facing camera. So imagine doing a multi-cam shoot with an iPhone.
With one iPhone. That’s what blew me away, that you could get two angles at once, push Record, and get two angles at once. I really want to try that. How do you do that? That’s pretty cool.
I can hook you up with that.
That would be awesome. I do want to try that. I wish I had had it with me when I was recently in Sicily. I was shooting with two iPhone 11s, and it occurred to me that it would be kind of fun to pair that down and keep it simple. That’s the thing with what’s happening with mobile, keep it simple, right?
If it’s appropriate, there are obviously some projects where mobile’s not appropriate. But if you can keep it simple, it’s lighter, and it’s easier to travel internationally. It’s easier to navigate your way through situations that you might get robbed if you’re walking around with a huge camera, you might get mugged. Talk about Michael Cioni is now at Frame.io, how do you think that’s gonna change the company’s tenure and the way the company does business? Do you have an opinion on that?
Well, I’m just watching these guys get bigger and bigger. They’re making really smart moves, and I don’t work with Frame anymore, so I’m not as plugged in, but I watched them from the sidelines, and I’m still in touch with Emery Wells on occasion. Because it’s a potentially dangerous game when a company like that you get all that funding, you see a lot of startups really blow it, they don’t know how to manage that kind of growth, they don’t know how to manage that kind of pressure from the investment community, and they fall apart. Frame seems to be holding steady to a very smart growth path, staying very true to their core values. I worked with Emery in Frame.io in the very, very early days when it was just a handful of them, and they’re a tiny startup.
Well, I remember talking to you about them in the very early days when I was producing the Digital Production BuZZ. I think we were the first company to interview Emery. He was still a kid, and he hadn’t gotten his $3 million financing yet. It just was an idea that he was working on and we all thought, whoa, this is kind of cool, right? But you’re the one that told me about it.
Yes, I remember.
“I remember when,” we’re getting older. Oh, my goodness. It’s fun to see your friends growing up, though, isn’t it?
It is. And what I love about those guys is that they stay very true to their values. They haven’t forgotten their original mission. So they’re building even though it seems from the outside looking in, it’s huge. And they’ve got big offices now, they’ve got a massive staff, but they are staying true to their mission, and their product is so clean and elegant. And they’re crushing it. I’m very proud of them because they are examples of a group of people who can succeed and succeed in the right way. They have an incredible company.
I have two questions for you before we switch and talk about your music. One is, I’d like you to think for just a second about the advice you can give to other startups about how to sort of launch. What do you think startups need to know in order to approach their market properly and get the word out in the right way?
Well, I think at the very bare minimum is kind of what I was saying about Frame is, know your mission and your values, and what value you are bringing to your customers and stay very true to that. And understand that in order to demonstrate value to your community, you have to connect with that community, and connect with them in meaningful ways. You’ll gain loyalty. These people will stick with you if they trust you if they believe in you. And so your ability to authentically and genuinely share the value that you’re bringing to the marketplace, that’s such an important place to start. And I emphasize the word genuine and authentic because there’s a lot of marketing out there that I feel is very disingenuous, very jargon-filled that feels like BS.
Well, a lot of it is.
A lot of it is. And I would say, if you’re hiding behind jargon, that’s defensive posturing, it means that you’re not confident enough in what you’re doing to just say it. Just say it in the simplest terms. What do you do? Don’t spin it, don’t put fancy made-up words around it because you think that will make you sound more valuable than you are. No incredibly, simply to state it, and stay true to it. And that will resonate, I promise you, that will resonate. And everything that we were talking about before connecting with people where they are, you’ll resonate with people.
Everybody would love to be able to, especially young companies would love to be able to have the ability to hire a professional to help them. If you’re at the point where you’re just getting started, and you don’t have that yet, is there one thing or are there a couple of things you can do to get the word out about your company so that you can start making enough money and hire a professional? What advice can you give to the babies that are just being born, these new companies that have a great vision, and the ability to really run down the path and be successful? That’s a start somewhere. What do you tell them?
I think social media is huge for startups because it’s free, but it’s not, and I stress this, it’s not about broadcasting. You can’t just broadcast your message, meaning pushing information out and not engaging. Use Twitter, use Facebook, use Facebook groups, if you’re a video company use YouTube, build a community and engage with them and offer them value and you will grow your visibility, you will grow your credibility, all of those things will begin to fuel your growth and people start to take notice, start showing up. Again, this is such an old fashioned marketing place, right? It’s people, its place, those are the two big ones for me, who are the right people and where are they?
Exactly. I think the basic premise behind PR and marketing hasn’t really changed. I think the way we communicate has, but I think it’s very important for companies who are just starting out to know what language to speak to reach the people that they’re trying to reach. You can’t just spend, what is it 100 bucks a month on Hootsuite, and then throw in a whole bunch of pictures, tweets, and Facebook posts and just kind of throw them in there and then just spread them out. I really think communication and the way you communicate, as you have said, is very, very important. So I want to leave people with that. It’s not how often you broadcast as you said, it’s what you say and how you say it to, in the individual approach like you have so important. So I want to talk about your music because I love watching your videos when you pick up a guitar and you start to play. Tell people about what that is.
What, my videos?
Your music, how did you get back into playing your guitar and really having fun with it and not being afraid to share what you’re doing with other people. Tell people who don’t know you what you do with your music first of all.
It’s always been something that I just did for my own personal pleasure. When I was a lot younger, I play in bands, and you get kids and kind of life takes over. I’m not playing in bands and playing gigs anymore. It doesn’t hurt that you have clients like GoPro and Filmic, and I’ve got all these cameras suddenly, and I’ve got all this great editing equipment. And I was sitting there one day, and I said, I’m going to point a camera at myself and just see what happens and I’ll just have a little fun with it. So I did this one video, my first video was a Pink Floyd, it’s like I love David Gilmore, I love Pink Floyd, I’ll just do Comfortably Numb solo. And I’ll put it on Facebook, and maybe my brother will see it and maybe my mom will see it. And all of a sudden it blew up.
We all saw it. It was awesome.
People were coming out of the woodwork like, “Dude, what was that? You play guitar?” like “I’ve known you for 20 years, and I didn’t even know you play guitar.” So it was really fun seeing people’s reactions and then people coming to say “more, do another one. I want to see more,” so for me, it was a way of I don’t perform live anymore but this kind of feels like that it’s that same feeling of performing live like wow, this audience seems to be really enjoying this. So just for fun, once in a while, I’ll set up a camera, and I’ll pick a song, and I’ll just play it and put it up there. For me, it’s just a lot of fun.
What equipment are you using? What’s your guitar?
So my favorite guitar, I have two Fender Stratocasters. I have a 1988 Fender Strat Plus, which I didn’t realize until recently is a pretty valuable guitar. I bought it in 1988 for like 200 bucks at a little music store in Austin, Massachusetts. And not really knowing what I was buying, it just said Fender and I knew I wanted a Fender Strat, so it’s like I finally have a Fender Strat. That’s my baby, who’s over 30 years old now, and it’s an incredible guitar. And I have another Stratocaster my wife and my kids gave me for my 50th birthday a couple of years ago. This beautiful black strap, it’s basically an Eric Clapton strap. And I have the very first electric guitar, which I still have, this is a 1975 Gibson Les Paul, which has not debuted in any of my videos yet, so I need to break that one out.
Gotta do it.
Gotta do it. It’s a lot of fun, and I just record either directly into GarageBand I’ll lay down a rhythm track, and then I’ll turn on the camera and lay down a solo track over on top of that. Lately, I’ve been editing in Luma Fusion but used to edit in iMovie, but now I have Luma Fusion, which is great. Real simple, clean-cut videos, and then I post them to YouTube and Facebook.
So how are you capturing the sound into GarageBand?
So I have a little device from IK Multimedia that is the iRig Pro. I plug my guitar into this device, and this device has a USB connection, you can plug it right into my MacBook Air and record directly into GarageBand. Super simple.
Wow. So now you’re gonna become a YouTube influencer, and you won’t talk to me anymore. That’s awesome.
Well, I don’t know about that.
Well, I’m glad you found your music again. It’s really fun watching you and listening to you. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you want to leave people with before we go?
I don’t think so. We covered a lot, and I and I think just to bring it full circle again, kind of for me, I think going back to some advice for people on it, especially for startups. Relationships are everything. It’s not quantity. It’s quality. It’s so tempting to go for the numbers, play the numbers game. It’s not about the numbers. Yeah, numbers are important, I get it, but it’s the quality. It’s the quality of the connections that you make and the relationships that you foster. That’s what’s going to make you succeed, especially in this industry.
Absolutely I think it’s going to help you succeed. And it’s also going to make you a happier person, and the holidays are coming, and this is a time when we will all be thinking about those we love and our family and all of our friends and the people in the industry that we work with every day. And Kevin, I value you as a friend, we’ve known each other for a long time. I can say I’m proud of you.
Thank you, I appreciate you. That means a lot.
To everybody listening, I’ve been speaking with Kevin Bourke, who is the owner of Bourke PR and someone that handles a lot of media tech, music tech, special effects, post-production, and production technology markets for his clients. So check him out. Where do they go to find out more about you, Kevin?
You can find me on Twitter. I spend a lot of time there, @BourkePR on Twitter, you can find me on LinkedIn if you want to see all the companies that I’ve worked with over the years and what I’ve been up to, that’s just Bourke PR on LinkedIn as well.
Alright, everybody, check him out. And if you enjoy OWC Radio, please subscribe, click like, send us your comments, let me know who else you might find interesting to listen to. And you know what I tell you guys every week, get up off that chair and go do something wonderful today. This is Cirina Catania with OWC Radio and Kevin Bourke, signing off. Have a wonderful day.
- Kevin Bourke – Twitter
- Kevin Bourke – LinkedIn
- Bourke PR
- 1975 Gibson Les Paul
- 1988 Fender Strat Plus
- Andre Segovia
- Boston University
- Chris Fenwick
- Christopher Parkening
- Claude Lelouch
- Comfortably Numb
- David Gilmore
- Digital Anarchy
- Digital Production BuZZ
- Emery Wells
- Eric Clapton
- Fender Stratocasters
- FiLMiC Pro
- Final Cut Pro
- IK Multimedia
- iRig Pro
- Jim Tierney
- Luma Touch
- Matthew Cherry
- Michael Cioni
- PC Magazine
- Pink Floyd
- Post Magazine
- ProVideo Coalition
- Puget Systems
- Sean Bakers
- Steven Soderbergh
- Sun Microsystems
- Worldwide Developer Conference
- Establish your mission and your values and let that serve as your guide whenever you make critical business decisions.
- Create a message and image that support your mission. Figure out what you want to convey and how you want to communicate that to your audience.
- Work on improving your influence and trustworthiness by providing the best service possible. Make sure you’re upholding your brand’s highest regard in all aspects at all times.
- Build authentic connections with people. Find out how they see the world and meet with them where they are. Humans respond better when they feel heard and understood.
- Include public relations in your marketing strategy. Create some noise by reaching out to print, online, and video media outlets.
- Take advantage of the internet. Go digital since most people are on there nowadays. Find out which social media your customers are using and reach out to them there.
- Remember, quality over quantity. Marketing strategies may be all about data and numbers, but in the end, what counts is how people respond to your message.
- Document and compare metrics for campaign strategies, so you know what’s working and what’s not for your company.
- Focus your energy on gaining loyalty. The first sale is essential, but accomplishing customer retention is way better.
- Check out Kevin Bourke’s company, Bourke PR, to learn more about his ideas and services.
ABOUT OUR HOST:
For more about our host, award-winning filmmaker and tech maven, Cirina Catania, visit cirinacatania.com.
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Hope you enjoy the interview with Kevin, come back next week for more!