Hello! My name is Jenny Bradford, and I am the newest full-time team member at Ketner Group!
So much has changed in our world since I wrote my intern intro blog at the beginning of 2020, but I am thrilled to still be with KG and taking on my new role as an assistant account executive.
In January of 2020, I became the first intern in the New York City office. I was part of a semester-long internship program hosted by my school, Marist College, that allowed us to experience life in the city before we graduated.
I had a few internships under my belt at the time, but I was ready to find a team I could see myself with long-term. I was hesitant to apply to KG at first because retail technology sounded daunting, but I’m so grateful that I gave it a try and joined the Ketner Group dream team. Now I can confidently say I’m becoming quite the ‘tech nerd.’
Navigating 2020 as a senior in college
While my Marist in Manhattan experience ended abruptly in March of 2020, my journey with Ketner Group did not.
I stayed on remotely throughout the year and into my last two semesters of college. While being a senior during a pandemic was not exactly ideal, having Ketner Group as a constant despite the chaos was a relief.
I was still able to maintain a high-grade point average and navigate leading my school’s PRSSA Chapter through redefined opportunities for pre-professional growth.
My free time transitioned from dance team rehearsals and Poughkeepsie outings to lots of socially distant picnics and outdoor games. All of this taught me that it’s really not about what you’re doing, but rather who you’re with (even virtually!), and that’s a lesson I’ll cherish forever.
While I’ll miss doing my work from my dorm window that faces the Hudson River, I’m excited to move back to New York City with my older sister.
Crafting and exploring when I’m outside of the virtual office
As someone who’s not too keen on relaxation, “the city that never sleeps” is the perfect place for me in my twenties.
I’m determined to find the hidden gems and become a true New Yorker, but I’m also secretly excited to revisit all the tourist destinations each time someone comes to visit me. I already have a list of must-try restaurants and must-see views that’s growing rapidly. (Any favorites? Please, email them to me!)
When not out-and-about, I love to try new crafts. This year has been all about paint-by-numbers and embroidery. I’ve made way more than I can reasonably display, but it hasn’t stopped me from buying more kits…oops.
“Graduating” from intern to AAE
I am so excited to finally be a full-time member of Ketner Group Communications. It’s been an honor watching the company grow and acquire new clients in the past year and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Ragan Communications, publisher of the influential Ragan Report, is the leading publisher and resource for PR and communications professionals. This inaugural award is part of Ragan’s annual Employee Communications Awards and recognizes organizations with great company cultures that are true to their mission and vision and provide a top working environment for each of its employees. Ketner Group joins this inaugural class alongside 18 other organizations.
While public relations agency life is often associated with high burnout, Ketner Group has gone the extra mile to ensure each employee can attain a healthy work/life balance by providing a flexible work environment that fits each employee’s personal needs. This work environment was established by founder and CEO Jeff Ketner 30 years ago and been a guiding principle ever since.
Employee-oriented, remote working has been part of Ketner Group before it became fashionable. Prior to COVID, team members spent time working from Germany, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Thailand and across the U.S, Canada and Mexico without missing a beat. To ease the burden of social isolation and increased family responsibilities during the pandemic, work schedules have become increasingly flexible.
In 2020 the agency implemented Summer Fridays, allowing employees to clock out early May through August to get an early start to their weekends and enjoy time to disconnect. Ketner Group also launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, reinforcing the agency’s commitment to improving its recruiting, hiring and training processes as well as creating a company culture with all employees in mind.
“We’re honored by this award from Ragan, which is widely recognized as the premier media company in our industry,” said Jeff Ketner, founder and CEO. “It’s a team award that recognizes the contributions from everyone at the agency. They make Ketner Group a great place to work, day in and day out, and they make it easy to maintain a collaborative, friendly and positive work environment that enables us to go above and beyond for our clients.”
About Ketner Group Communications Ketner Group Communications represents innovators that are reshaping the world we live in, including high-growth companies in retail, e-commerce, grocery and CPG, advertising and marketing and consumer technology. We work with clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, and our core capabilities include media and analyst relations, content development, social media strategy and implementation, and digital content marketing. Ketner Group has called Austin home for 30 years and expanded in 2019 with the addition of offices in New York City and Nashville. For more information, please visit www.ketnergroup.com.
Media Contact Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations Ketner Group Communications [email protected]
AUSTIN, Texas, – Mar. 17, 2021 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm for innovative technology companies, today announced it has been named to the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list. The Inc. 5000 Regionals: Texas recognizes the fastest-growing companies in the state of Texas and is an extension of the Inc. 5000 nationals list.
Being named to the list is a local honor with national recognition and one of the most esteemed honors a privately held business can receive. Ketner Group joins this year’s list alongside innovative companies including Urban Betty, Red Fan Communications, SEI- Dallas and CKP among others.
This recognition comes on the heels of Ketner Group announcing its 30th anniversary as a B2B PR agency. Serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K., Ketner Group has established itself as a trusted partner to clients ranging from publicly traded companies to high-growth startups. Ketner Group has achieved many milestones throughout its 30 years as an agency, including reporting consistent growth in revenue, employees and client portfolio and naming Ketner Group’s longtime leader Catherine Seeds as agency’s president and partner in 2019. In recent years, the agency has expanded office locations beyond Austin, opening offices in New York City and Nashville.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ketner Group team has continued to provide the highest levels of support and results for clients, securing media coverage in publications like Reuters, Variety Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, MarketWatch and more. It has guided clients on the best practices in communications during the pandemic and officially launched the agency’s first webinar series, KG Connects, bringing together influencers and industry experts to discuss trends in PR and marketing.
“It’s an honor to be recognized in the 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals Texas list,” said Jeff Ketner, founder and CEO. “Even in the midst of a global pandemic that affected all of us professionally and personally, our team demonstrated exceptional resilience, focus and dedication to Ketner Group and our clients. This award recognizes our team’s hard work, and we anticipate that 2021 will be our best year yet.”
To learn more about Ketner Group’s capabilities and career opportunities, visit ketnergroup.com.
About Ketner Group Communications Ketner Group Communications represents innovators that are reshaping the world we live in, including high-growth companies in retail, e-commerce, grocery and CPG, advertising and marketing, social media and consumer technology. We work with clients throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K, and our core capabilities include media and analyst relations, content development, social media strategy and implementation, and digital content marketing. Ketner Group has called Austin home for close to 30 years and expanded in 2019 with the addition of offices in New York City and Nashville. For more information please visit www.ketnergroup.com.
Media Contact Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations Ketner Group Communications [email protected]
When we began planning our 30-year anniversary campaign we knew early on that we wanted to do something really special to celebrate digitally since we would not able to host a big, in-person soirée.
Of course, we wanted to incorporate all the elements of a good PR and marketing campaign, but it was equally important that we include our industry friends and family, who have been such a great support to the agency over the past 30 years.
Voila! I present to you the KG 30th Anniversary Video, which we think meets all these goals!
Sharing the video with Jeff was a treat
We surprised Jeff with the video a couple of weeks ago via Zoom, and it was so special to watch his reaction to all the fun memories shared and the wonderful accolades spoken from friends, peers, former co-workers and his family.
I wish we could have included all of those who have been a part of the KG team over the years, but you know who you are, and I am so thankful for each one of you. You are equally a part of our story!
A special thank you to those who shared a video
I’d like to thank the following for taking their time to send in their kind words for Jeff and, in the words of our good friend Dave Murphy, the entire Ketner Group dynasty.
Keep the anniversary celebrations going
If you have any pictures of your time at Ketner Group, we’d love you to share! Feel free to post and tag us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter!
We hope you enjoy the anniversary video, especially our motivational speech towards the end! In true Ketner Group fashion, we manage to inspire through laughter. Just the way we like it!
Ketner Group celebrates an honest-to-goodness milestone this month: our 30th anniversary.
Has it really been that long? As one of my favorite clients said, “how is that possible when Jeff is only 29 years old?” (Hint: if you tell me something like this, you, too, can be one of my favorite clients.)
Weathering it all: from the dot-com bust to the pandemic
Three decades means that we’ve weathered the ups and downs of the dot-com bust, the Great Recession, the Retail Apocalypse and the biggest one of all, the global pandemic. Through our history, we’ve managed to thrive and become a stronger, better agency.
As we celebrate our anniversary, I’ve been asked several times, “how did you do it?” One of the keys to our success is specialization. Ketner Group has never wavered from B2B communications, and in particular we focused on retail technology early on.
We’ve expanded into other business segments, too, but we’ll always maintain a strong practice in retail tech.
Retail is a fast changing, fascinating business, and our team has been fortunate to make lifelong friends among the many clients, editors and analysts we’ve worked with.
But really, how did we do it? A great team.
But I must say, the biggest reason we’re successful is the “group” in Ketner Group. My name may be on the proverbial door, but it’s the team that makes it work, day in and day out.
Teamwork is the key to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s success as the longest-tenured coach in the NBA. And it’s the secret to our longevity and success, too.
From our senior leadership team to our account management staff, they’re whip-smart and a joy to work with.
If Tim Duncan was the X factor behind the Spurs’ five NBA titles, then Catherine Seeds — our president, my partner and a friend and co-worker for over 18 years — is our Tim Duncan.
Simply put, there would be no 30th anniversary without Catherine. We couldn’t have done it without her. She’s a leader who has earned the respect of our clients, co-workers and many friends throughout the industry. I’m thankful every day for Catherine’s professionalism, integrity and “can-do” spirit as her role at Ketner Group continues to grow.
The unsung hero in all of this, though, is Molly, the love of my life. We celebrated our own big anniversary last year – 40 years – and she’s always been my best adviser, most patient listener and biggest supporter through everything. She’s also put up with me working from home during the pandemic, Zoom calls and all. It’s fun to both be under the same roof during working hours.
The future is bright at 30 years young
It’s only natural to look back to your history as you reflect on a milestone, but it excites me even more to look to the future.
Ketner Group has a lot to be proud of, and the best is still ahead of us. Our team continues to expand our capabilities, work with great clients and build a strong foundation for the future. At 30 years young, we’re just hitting our stride.
In case you’re wondering, I’ll continue to be part of Ketner Group for quite a few more years. As one of my guitar heroes, Mark Knopfler (formerly of Dire Straits) said at a 2019 Austin concert I had the pleasure to attend: “what could be more fun than this?”
Here’s to the next 30 years, with a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who has helped us get here.
It’s been 30 years since Jeff Ketner founded Ketner Group Communications, and it’s been an absolutely incredible – and sometimes wild – journey. To help us celebrate, Jeff and I kicked back for a stroll down memory lane. Check out the full video below or read our summary to learn more about some of the highlights of the last 30 years!
How Ketner Group began: striking out on his own
Catherine: Tell me about the day you decided to strike out on your own. Did you have any memorable conversations with your family? Or friends or peers?
Jeff: It wasn’t planned that far in advance; it was pretty spontaneous. I was vice president at a technology PR firm here in Austin when one day the owner walked and said that she was retiring and shutting the whole place down.
At that time, I was very fortunate to have Texas Instruments as a client and a strong 5-plus-year relationship with them. So, after the owner of the firm said she was shutting it down, I told her I was going to talk with TI. “That’s fine,” she said. Literally the same day, I talked to TI and they told me not to worry. In just a few days, I was set up as a vendor.
I would like to say that it was planned out. I had wanted to set out for a while, but I was sort of thrust into it.
Catherine: There have been a lot of crazy, silly things that have happened to us over the years. What are some of your favorite moments from the past 30 years?
Jeff: I remember the time at NRF when we had a snowball fight with the team from Digby, now known as Phunware, at one or two in the morning. We were in New York City, it was cold, and we were all stranded because the airports were shut down. So, we had a snowball fight on the streets of New York!
Or another time at NRF’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Retail. Just being able to play guitar onstage with some fun people like Brian Kilcourse, Steve Rowen and Cathy Hotka. Just to be able to be onstage — and I used to be pretty good, but I hadn’t played in a long time — it gave me a chance to get the rust out and to have some fun and play with people that became my friends. Plus, I get to tell my grandkids that I was onstage at B.B. King Blues Club in New York.
The fun and silly things that happen around the office are amazing, too. People spontaneously breaking into song or just laughing and being together as a team. The things that make anyone feel special. Like the times when I come back from a day off for my birthday and my office is decorated to the max. Of course, there is Bosses Day – which I didn’t even know was a thing – during which people dressed up like me: flannels and blue jeans.
It just things like that that are fun and make you feel special. We do a lot of that as a team, just to really maintain a sense of caring for one another and trying to each other’s back and have fun together.
The lessons learned in 30 years
Catherine: What lessons have you learned as a founder and CEO of your own business?
Jeff: Well, there are a lot of them. The most important is to build a great team, give them a lot of freedom and just trust them. I think the people really make it work. We have a very collaborative team, and we work together well. That’s what I’m most comfortable with. It’s not really a top-down organization that’s driven by one, singular personality. We’ve worked to establish a culture of openness and trust and collaboration.
As much as anything, it’s about getting the right people in place and doing everything you can to hang on to them and make it an exciting place to work, but also give space for a work-life balance. At the end of the day, it’s the things everyone does outside of work that are going to stick with you for the rest of your life. What you do at work counts, but there is life beyond work, and we give our team the space to realize that.
Finding a niche in retail technology
Catherine: We’re known around town for specializing in retail technology, but what is it about retail tech that is so exciting to you?
Jeff: It’s fun! We’ve worked in semiconductors, we’ve worked in servers, we’ve worked in both the fun and the boring parts of technology. But everyone shops. Everyone eats. Retail touches every part of life and it changes so fast. Ten years ago, all the shopping was done in store, and that’s just totally flipped. Over the last three years, no one used to order groceries online and have them delivered or arrange curbside pickup.
It’s changed, and it’s changed really fast. I can’t think of any technology sector that is changing and that touches every facet of our lives like retail. To me, it’s the most fascinating, fast-paced industry to be in.
Overcoming current and future challenges
Catherine: I’d like you to share some advice on how you’ve overcome challenges.
Jeff: When you have a challenge that comes up you have to do a couple of things. First, face it honestly and straightforwardly. You can’t sweep it under the rug. If there is a tough conversation to be had with a client, it’s much, much better to pick up the phone than send an email. You also have to double down and work through it. Rely on your team. Be honest. Be transparent.
I know you didn’t want to bring up the “pandemic” word but working through this has been something I’m most proud of. The team came together even when clients were having issues and cutting budgets. There was a mass freak out throughout every sector of business. We’ve worked through it, we’ve focused on bringing on new clients, and we did everything we can to take care of our existing clients.
We worked our way through it and I’m grateful for that. The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating for so many people and businesses. It’s really because of the team that we’ve overcome it.
Bad times will happen, there will always be unexpected things that come your way. Look to your team and rely on your instincts. Over time, you will develop a resilience that will allow you to get through things that are difficult.
When it came to the topic of remote work and how Ketner Group has addressed it over the years – I immediately thought of the 1981 hit country song, “I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool,” sung by Barbara Mandrell.
In it, Mrs. Mandrell talks about how she listened to music from the Grand Ole Opry growing up while her friends were “digging on rock ‘n’ roll” and how everyone is now trying to be what she was back then.
When it comes to remote work at Ketner Group, this song seems spot on. We’ve been at this for quite some time – way before it was cool, and (now) necessary.
The way we were, and are: Ketner Group and our history of remote work
While I know that Ketner Group is not the only company to have instituted flexible work-from-home policies prior to the pandemic, our agency was founded with an emphasis on offering a good work-life balance for all employees.
That became very apparent to me in 2005 when my daughter was born. My two bosses at the time, Jeff Ketner and Terry Barnes, made it clear that my family was very important and that they were just fine with a work schedule that was best for me and my family.
This philosophy started even before my tenure at Ketner Group, when Jeff launched the agency in 1990. He was to be at home every night for dinner, and if he needed to work from home, he would lug home a big laptop to finish any client work after his kids had gone to bed.
Thus, the roots of Ketner Group’s flexible work standards started to grow, and we’ve never looked back.
Our attitude toward working from home has always been simple: plan accordingly, meet your deadlines, and communicate with your team and managers of your schedule. In normal times, we always encouraged the team to be in the office as much as possible, but life happens.
Whether it be a doctor appointment across town, picking up kids from school, or being at home for the cable guy – working from home to take care of things is sometimes just easier. There are also times when one needs to work from home to concentrate on a big writing or research project – we’ve always encouraged that, too.
We’ve been everywhere
In recent years, Ketner Group has continued to walk the walk and talk the talk when it came to working remote – a sentiment I talked about last November in the Austin Business Journal. One of the most important things we value at the agency is trust, and we have a very high level of trust with all of our employees.
For example, we have had employees take extended vacations to Europe and Asia (learn more about Mariana’s time in Bali here), where they worked remote for a period of time while they were overseas and then take an additional two weeks off for vacation. A few years ago, one of our employees spent a year working from Ireland, and it worked out beautifully.
It is important to support these remote work options because we want our team to live their best lives, see the world and have amazing experiences.
W.O.R.K in the USA
Since March, our remote work game has been in overdrive – along with the rest of the world.
In fact, a global survey conducted by Gartner, Inc. found that 88% of business organizations all over the world mandated or encouraged all their employees to work from home when the COVID-19 virus started to spread at exponential rates.
The move to full-time remote work for the Ketner Group team was seamless, and again demonstrated how much we value and trust each of our employees. Not only is everyone currently working from their respective homes, but we have a few employees that have hit the open road in RVs to fully experience remote work life!
It’s been an adventure for all of us so far.
Our team is spread out across five states, but our productivity and company culture remain strong. The pandemic has been hard on all of us – professionally and personally – but we remain a strong and dedicated team because of the processes and work policies we put in place 30 years ago.
I look forward to when we can all be in an office together again. Until then, we’ll be seeing you on a Zoom somewhere.
AUSTIN, Texas – Sept. 1, 2020 – Ketner Group Communications, a public relations, marketing and communications firm helping innovators establish market leadership, today announced it has been named to the 2020 PRNEWS PR Agency Top 100 list. The list highlights the top communications, marketing, and digital agencies serving the U.S. as a resource for those in search of an agency partner.
Agencies making up the list were chosen based off the following: creative campaigns with proven results, reputations built by client testimonials and industry awards, agency thought leadership, as well as noteworthy agency capabilities or offerings. The list includes firms of all sizes for a collective representation of the best of the industry.
“To be named in this list among so many other creative and successful agencies is a huge honor for us,” said Jeff Ketner, CEO, Ketner Group Communications. “We have worked hard to make this not only an agency that prioritizes exceeding client expectations, but one that enables our amazing team to learn and grow in their careers, and live their best lives outside of the office. Our team brings its A-game to the table each and every day, and it shows.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ketner Group team has continued to provide the highest levels of support and results for clients, securing media coverage in publications like Reuters, Variety Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, Marketwatch and more. It has guided clients on the best practices in communications during a pandemic and officially launched the agency’s first webinar series, KG Connects, bringing together influencers and industry experts to discuss trends in PR and marketing. As well, Ketner Group has again been featured as one of the top PR agencies in Austin, and the agency’s president, Catherine Seeds, was recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Power in Central Texas.
The Agency Elite Top 100 list is available via an all-new searchable portal on prnewsonline.com, giving brand-side marketers an effective and efficient tool in narrowing the search for their next agency partner. PRNEWS expects more than 50,000 client-side visits to the list annually.
To learn more about Ketner Group’s expertise in public and media relations, content development, and digital marketing, along with future career opportunities, contact us.
Mariana Fischbach, Director of Media Relations Ketner Group Communications [email protected]
The Marcom Awards– started in 2004, have become a staple of the communications and marketing industry. The awards are administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP). The international organization, founded in 1995, consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, digital and web professionals. AMCP administers recognition programs, provides judges and rewards outstanding achievement and service to the community.
The MarCom Awards receive approximately 6,000 entries every year. These entries come from dozens of different countries all across the world. Out of all 6,000 entries only 15% are lucky enough to leave Platinum Award Winners.
Ketner Group is no stranger to the MarCom Awards. In fact, Ketner Group has been recognized two years in a row. Last year Ketner Group ran away with one platinum and one gold award. We are honored to be recognized again.
2019 was an incredible year for Ketner Group. After the launch of our new offices in New York and Nashville, we didn’t think it could get much better, but here we are. Be on the lookout for Ketner Group Communications next year because if you thought 2019 was a big year, just wait and see what we have in store for 2020!
Do you feel that chill in the air? Have you felt uneasy, constantly looking over your shoulder feeling a presence that just might be outright supernatural? You’re not the only one – at Ketner Group, we too feel the increased paranormal retail activity that comes along with the spookiest day of the year. As such, allow me to relay some SCARY statistics with you around what to expect from Halloween retail this year.
Halloween is really a story of community. Running around the
neighborhood trick or treating, attending parties and dressing up as our heroes
brings us all closer together. It offers the world the opportunity to come
together, rise up and declare in one strong voice: BOO!
According to the NRF’s annual Halloween
survey, 172 million people plan to celebrate Halloween. “Among those
celebrating, 69% plan to hand out candy, 49 percent plan to decorate their home
or yard, 47% will dress in costume, 44% will carve a pumpkin, 32% will throw or
attend a party, 29% will take their children trick-or-treating, 22% will visit
a haunted house and 17% will dress their pets in costume.” (If you are reading
this and have any pictures of pets in costumes please share to
Shoppers will spend around $86.27 for $8.8 billion in total
spending, down slightly from last year’s $9 billion. This $8.8 billion
projection will total the third-highest in the survey’s 15-year history (the
record being $9.1 billion in 2017).
Finding Costume Inspiration
Now we get to the hardest part of any Halloween: figuring
out what to be. Online search is the top source for ideas (35% of consumers),
followed by searching in-store (28%) and brainstorming with friends and family
at 20%. Social media has grown to be an essential resource for many. This is especially
unsurprising when you consider how celebrities
have taken social media by storm with their intricate designs and high
production value. Pinterest was cited by 18% of NRF respondents, a 13% increase
since 2015; 14% mentioned both YouTube (up from 8%) and Instagram (increase
Looking Ahead to Christmas
By November 1st we will have crossed over into a new month,
a new holiday season. And as November gobble gobbles away your great fears, a
new breed of terror awaits. While the weak-hearted lay in bed, counting their
candy with a glimmering eye towards the dry, poorly cooked birds of tomorrow,
our cauldron boils with something far sweeter: THE HOLIDAY SEASON.
According to a
report from The International Council of Shopping Centers, holiday spending
will increase 4.9% over last year, totaling $832.3 billion. The report also
projects that 90% of holiday shoppers expect to make purchases in-store and 97%
of them will buy goods online from retailers with physical stores.
Meanwhile, the upcoming holiday shopping season is expected
to break records in online spending, according to a study by Adobe Analytics with holiday shoppers
projected to spend $143.7B online. Amazon will, of course, continue to be a
huge part of consumers’ shopping plans. A recent Episerver report states that 32% of online shoppers begin
their holiday shopping on Amazon and 68% of online shoppers compare products on
other retailers’ websites to products on Amazon.
You might have thought last year was scary… but with Halloween 2019 upon us, retail frights (the friendly ghost kind) are in the air and we’re one step closer to the holiday retail season. Although the sweet sounds of the holidays are soon to be upon us… the terrors of All Hollow’s Eve still sends shivers down my spine. It’s Much Too Spooky for Me….
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