Getting Schooled

Managing PR for Millet has been one of the most fulfilling and fun professional experiences I’ve had the pleasure of undertaking. For one, Millet is largely a product-driven brand, which has certainly made securing product placement a bit less stressful, as the gear is top notch. But beyond product, I was always so excited to share Millet’s story – a rich history in mountaineering around the globe, their Expedition Project, which gave the opportunity for other aspiring adventurers to reach new summits, and their diverse athletes, all of which have their own incredible stories worth exploring.

Full disclosure: when I started doing PR for Millet in late 2011, I had never climbed before - sport, trad, bouldering, or otherwise. I didn’t even know the difference between those things. My mountaineering skills were limited to hiking a couple 14ers every summer and typical Colorado hiking. Backcountry skiing? Does Loveland Pass count? Exactly. So no…I’m not exactly the core market, which was sort of nausea inducing at first. I would come home on Friday evenings with a stack of Climbing and Rock & Ice magazines, a bottle of wine, and read page for page, trying to learn this new language and sport.  

But this was also when I learned a valuable lesson in PR: Understanding everything else is more important. Knowing how to pick out products and stories that are newsworthy, how to communicate with journalists, anticipating their questions and getting specific answers from the appropriate source(s), earning trust, maintaining honest and open relationships, knowing when and how to push and when to back off…there are a million little details in PR that must all come together to truly be successful at it, so just because I thought 14d was maybe some weird bra size I had never heard of before*, didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be able to do PR for this brand. In fact, it turned out to be quite the opposite – we were very successful. And I will be forever grateful for that opportunity, as it allowed me to meet some of my favorite people I now consider great pals.   

A sampling of Millet's media coverage over the last few years:

*I didn’t really think it was a bra size. But I still attest that the grading scale in climbing, similar to the lingo, is Rubik’s Cube-level complicated. 

PR, MilletMaro LaBlanceWork, Climbing