Marketing Pros: Porch Light Public Relations
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
The reason Porch Light Public Relations has thrived as a boutique public relations and marketing firm since it was established in 2013 also happens to be the reason its founders came together to start the company in the first place — to form personal connections.
Before the idea of launching a public relations firm had entered either of their minds, founders Myranda Annakin and Jennifer Chan got to know each other through their involvement as parents with Northside Montessori and Spring Mill Elementary schools. Each with three children, the two formed a friendship and eventually discovered they had arrived at a similar career crossroads. Annakin had spent 13 years as a newsroom manager at Fox 59, and Chan, a Lawrence North High School graduate, had worked for PR firms in San Francisco and Chicago before returning to her native Indy in 2000 to work in marketing. Both were ready for a fresh start and a new challenge.
“We clicked on a personal level, and I think we were both ready for that next step in our careers,” recalls Annakin, a Shelby County native. “We got to talking and decided starting our own company would be the next move given our different strengths — me with media relations and Jennifer with PR. We felt we could help a lot of companies that could use our combined skill sets, be our own bosses, create our own destiny and make it as big or little as we wanted it to be.”
Since opening the doors to Porch Light on East 54th Street in Broad Ripple four years ago, Annakin and Chan have accumulated a diverse list of Indianapolis business and non-profit clients including the Boys & Girls Club, IMS Productions, Allisonville Garden & Home and the Domestic Violence Network. Annakin says the company’s successes stem from a level of personal customer service lacking in many larger firms.
“First, we sit down with a new client and hear what they’re looking for, what has worked in the past and what hasn’t and how they foresee public relations helping them,” Chan says. “It tends to be different for most everyone, and after that initial meeting, we do a proposal for that individual client. We’ve noticed in the Indianapolis market that there are a lot of larger agencies, so it felt like there was a niche we could fill as a smaller, boutique company with personalized service every step of the way.”
Having developed a strong reputation in the non-profit arena, Porch Light recently signed with the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), an Indianapolis-based organization that advocates for community partnerships to combat homelessness in the greater Indy area.
“A lot of our clients want media coverage as part of their PR plans, and because of my background I have a lot of connections,” Annakin says. “A lot of people sometimes think that a press release is enough, but we really take the time and send personal emails to people instead of just relying on that press release to get clients coverage. We did a project recently for Joella’s Hot Chicken on 96th Street and we had almost every news station out there.”
Porch Light occasionally welcomes interns and contract employees when the workload gets heavy, but the company remains primarily operated by Annakin and Chan themselves, who feel that staying personally connected to each and every client sets the company apart from the competition.
“We feel that’s one of the strong points of why people are continuing to turn us, because they like that they’re not going to get turned over to someone else,” Annakin says. “Referrals are really coming through the door now, just from word of mouth. Down the road we might have to reevaluate hiring more people because we can only take on so much, but for now we really try to sell ourselves on that personal service.”
For more information on Porch Light Public Relations, visit porchlightpr.com.