Seven Years of Strategic Planning, National Press

Gary Brahm, chancellor of Brandman University, part of the Chapman University System, and Steve Smith first worked together as undergraduates and the professional relationship has continued for decades. During the past seven years, Smith Public Relations (SPR) has provided marketing and public relations support as Brandman University has emerged as a top-tier private, non-profit university including directing its initial branding and advertising agency reviews.

By the conclusion of our seven year relationship with Brandman in December 2016, SPR has participated in a number of initiatives including elevating the university’s profile in offering Competency-Based Education  and the first accredited App for a college degree which included embedded  textbooks. Coverage included Bloomberg News, ABC TV Network affiliate feed, CBS/KNX radio, ABC radio affiliate feed and NBC TV affiliate feed.  The agency has worked closely with Brandman on strategic planning and program implementations including new degree programs; innovations in online curriculum; best practices for serving the non traditional student as well as the military. SPR has also assisted in speech writing and special events.

The agency has executed national print and broadcast coverage as well as campus specific exposure in San Diego, Los Angeles County, Inland Empire and northern California. Exposure has included NBCLA’s Nightly News, Wall Street Journal Radio, PBS, Businessweek, U.S. News & World Report,, USO Magazine, ABC radio network and many more. SPR has media specialists who research media opportunities throughout the Brandman campus system and with targeted top media.

“Steve and his team have become an important part of our team and I would recommend him without reservation as a professional who is a quick study, able to drive a marketing campaign to successful goals and is focused on providing tangible results for his clients,” Chancellor Brahm noted.

Work Samples

Competency-Based Education/App degree

Job Fairs For Teachers

Human Interest/Graduate Student Successes

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Phone: 310.849-5573

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Articulating the broad-based philosophy and passion of the founders of a truly revered product requires a skill set that is much more strategic and complex than a traditional marketing campaign. Steve Smith and his team were selected to craft and implement just such a program for Cakebread Cellars which would persuasively convey the family’s commitment to community, education and the joy of wine and food. The quality and demand for their premium wine was the foundation for communicating the Cakebread’s ideals and values to a high end audience through a flow of ‘backend’ stories by top-tier media and through proprietary events. This included the American Harvest Workshop, which brings together leading chefs and journalists and Cakebread U, which provides a three-day educational program for students from leading universities about the world of wine. The agency focused on the most powerful non-wine press continuing to build on brand cache and the vision of the founders. There aren’t many agencies that get it but Smith PR does.
Cathleen Burke Visscher, Founder, Wine Works & Co., Former senior vice president and director of corporate development at Kobrand Corp., a leading high end wine and spirits company with interests in California, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and more
We brought Steve onboard to help us define our position in the marketplace and provide a marketing strategy to take us to the next level. He performed a comprehensive audit of our senior staff, board members and other key parties to provide a positioning for our business model, searched for a branding agency overseeing all elements of the RFP, and conducted an advertising agency resource review with equal skill and professionalism. He handled these challenging tasks with enthusiasm and efficiency that made our senior staff’s time effective throughout this process. Following the completion of the branding and advertising searches, Steve supervised a number of other marketing programs including a public relations outreach which resulted in highly positive exposure in USA Today, CNNRadio, ABC television, CBS Marketwatch and many more placements for our new brand. He has become an important part of our team and I would recommend him without reservation as a professional who is a quick study, able to drive a marketing campaign to successful goals and is focused on providing tangible ROI for his clients.
Gary Brahm, Chancellor & CEO, Brandman University, part of the Chapman University System, Former EVP & COO, Chapman University