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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Black Woman Publicist Makes History Helping Startups to Raise Capital and Earn Millions in Revenue

Anita Lane, publicist and founder of Sensei Communications

Nationwide — Meet Anita S. Lane, founder and CEO of Sensei Communications, a Black-owned PR and digital marketing firm based in Los Angeles, CA, that has helped startups in various industries earn millions in revenue and collectively raise more than $30 million in capital. This is a huge accomplishment for an African American woman working in this space.

In the following interview, Anita shares her journey from midwest mom to LA publicist–and defines for us what PR is, when to engage in PR, and how to prepare one’s business for the metaverse:

When did you first know you wanted a career in PR?
I worked over 15 years in the field of grassroots community organizing– as a program director, development director, and eventually an executive director. As such, I had to take on a variety of responsibilities. Over time I realized the role I liked the most was sharing organizations’ stories and engaging with media. I thought, if I could do this every day, I’d love it! Well, it turns out that after experiencing an unexpected divorce followed by an unexpected layoff, I found myself with an opportunity–to either wallow in what I’d lost or take a leap to pursue the passion burning in my heart. With God’s help, I chose the latter.

You migrated from the midwest to Los Angeles, but you say the “everyday entrepreneur” is your primary target?
Ironic, right? I have managed PR for celebrities and I still do, but I find it most fulfilling when I can put a spotlight on an “everyday” entrepreneur who’s doing something amazing. I often say, “we take startups from obscurity to TV and beyond …”

Is TV your specialty?
I definitely place a lot of value on TV. It’s like a “free” endorsement of sorts. You’ve got a credible anchor or host hyping your brand for you. That’s instant credibility. But I believe PR must be 4-dimensional. If you’re going to master your brand in your market, you need to be present where everyone is– on-air, online, in print, and in person.

How do you define PR?
I define PR as strategic brand/image management. PR gives you the opportunity to control the message, raise awareness and keep your brand or business top of mind in the eyes of both the media and consumer. It’s very specialized work that pays big dividends when done correctly. Often entrepreneurs don’t realize the benefits that PR can have on their business.

What is your primary role as a publicist?
My primary role is to capture my client’s vision and share it in a way that resonates with their audience(s). The outcome is credibility, clicks, calls, and ultimately conversions. There’s a definite return on investment (ROI).

Every entrepreneur is looking for ROI. So when should an entrepreneur or company engage in PR?
When and how you engage in PR really depends on your goals. There are different PR strategies depending on where you are in the trajectory of your business. I’ve had clients hire me to generate buzz within the venture capital community–to help get on their radar for potential funding.

I’ve had clients hire me to get published in specific trade publications–and when we landed them features in every major trade publication in their industry, they were ecstatic. Mission accomplished! That goal helped them to reach their next goal–which was new business accounts.

Of course, I’ve also helped clients launch products and new apps as well. What’s great about PR is that if you properly promote your placements on social media and your website, those media placements will continue to help convert prospective customers for years to come.

Your firm’s motto is “Our Dream is to Help Make Your Dream Come True.” How do you do that?
Correct. Our motto is basically identical to my personal mission–which is why I can wake up every day and love what I do. My work is purpose-driven. With each client, I start with understanding their goals. Effective PR is strategic PR. So the first thing we do is set strategy. PR needs to align with where you are in your business–as it relates to product development and marketing campaigns.

Sounds like you’re more than a publicist. You’re like a business consultant as well?
Yes, a publicist plays a variety of roles. And it pays to have a publicist who understands business. I live and breathe the startup life, branding, and business development. My clients get a lot of business and brand strategy–in addition to PR strategy. It’s very closely tied together.

Speaking of business strategy, we have to talk about the metaverse … Metaverse and Web3 are all the buzz. What should entrepreneurs and startups be doing to prepare for this new era?
Great question. We are entering an entirely new dimension–literally. Right now, entrepreneurs and startups must be forward-thinking. Stay up to date with trends in technology. It’s as easy as signing up for key email newsletters (and reading them) when they come in. Watch youtube videos and listen to podcasts while you’re driving—so that you stay in the know.

More and more of our world will be on blockchains–decentralizing everything from money (i.e Cryptocurrency), to organizations/companies (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), and even creating more ways to certify, buy and sell original digital assets (i.e., NFTs).

As people enter the metaverse, they will want to own digital assets. Do you currently create goods that could be sold in a 3D virtual world (i.e., the metaverse)? The future will only surprise us if we’re not paying attention.

I recommend that every entrepreneur make time to stay abreast of emerging technology. To be successful in business, you have to mentally be miles ahead of where your feet are. The metaverse will fundamentally impact how we conduct business. It is also creating entirely new business categories. The good news is, you have an opportunity to be one of the first to do what you currently do–in the metaverse. Get to it!

For more details about her company, visit SenseiCommunications.com

Also, be sure to follow Anita Lane on Instagram @Anita_Publicist

For other inquiries, contact PR@SenseiCommunications.com