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Straighten up & Flywrite
Self-starter, communications pro on the Cornbread Festival and the care and feeding of social media.
KD Reep is the president and CEO (and cleaning lady) for Flywrite Communications, her marketing communications company, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in March. Her work includes projects for Entergy, the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, among others.
Q: Ok, let me start with the basics. I see your name all over, but I see it as “KD” as well as “Kelli.” Kelli? KD? Katie? What’s your preferred method of address? What’s the story there, and is k.d. lang involved? Do you get that a lot?
A: I’d love to be called “That Crazy Independently-Wealthy Lady from Mabelvale,” but I fear that is a year or two away. Kelli Dawn is my name, but I sign it KD. People started calling me both, and it just stuck. Some people call me Katie because I couldn’t figure out on Facebook how to uppercase the D in KD so it appears as Kd, and people think I’m being cute with it. But, the truth is I’m just Kelli, but it makes no difference what I’m called. As for k.d. lang, I love her torch and twang.
Q: Tell me a little about Flywrite. I love clever names, so I have to ask where that came from. Ditto for the self description on your website as “ninjas with social skills.” Please don’t hurt me if I go wrong with these questions.
A: My brother came up with the name Flywrite. I used to be a pilot, and when I decided to go it solo as a public relations practitioner, we were trying to think up names that were memorable. He came up with a way to merge flying and writing, and the rest is history. Robert is the clever one in the family; I just take credit for it.
“Ninjas with social skills” was a way to explain how Flywrite works without going into typical industry speak. Clients will call with a problem that needs to be handled right now. Much like ninjas, we do that efficiently, accurately and discreetly, but with a sense of humor ... mostly. Oh, and we wear black clothes a lot, and use our powers for good and not evil ... usually.
Q: Two words: social media. It’s like marketing catnip. But someone once told me that every company knows they need social media now but none of them really knows what to do with it. By and large, would you agree or disagree? Where does social media fit into marketing? Can it go too far?
A: Absolutely agree. Social media is free, accessible and shiny, shiny, shiny. But, like anything else, it needs care and feeding. In my opinion only, social media is a conversation. It takes more than one person to have a conversation so an individual or an organization needs to be prepared to communicate to followers on their level, answer a follower’s questions and concerns in a timely and respectful way, and offer information their audience actually wants. That’s a lot to undertake in real life much less on social media, and that’s good to keep in mind before using it.
Q: You’ve done projects for events like the Arkansas Cornbread Festival, some work at the zoo, etc. Now, I’m not asking you to put one client ahead of the other, but do you have any specific project that was, like, a favorite to work on? Something that, when it was all done, you just kinda had to sit back and admire how cool it was?
A: The first Arkansas Cornbread Festival was what teamwork is all about. I’m proud of that and its success. I think what I’m most thankful for are my relationships with Arkansas media and other mar/com professionals. They are the reason I’m successful, and I am grateful for and humbled by it every day.
Q: Lastly, because you know a lot about central Arkansas and here we are at the outset of the new year (and kind of a milestone year for you), I want to ask what’s in store for 2013. What resolutions are you setting and what should we collectively aspire to achieve in the metro this year?
A: Food really is the unifier of people, and I’m tickled there is so much buzz about it in Little Rock — Midtown getting new restaurants, more food trucks coming on the scene, food writers and bloggers rallying people to try new places and cuisines. How about we all resolve to get a Cheesecake Factory here?
Q: Seriously though, what’s the secret of building up your own business for 10 years, particularly in this economy? People say it’s not a great environment for small business or for advertising, and here you are succeeding at both. Are they wrong or are those just ninja skills at work?
A: Flywrite was built on hard work, stubbornness, accessibility and a cultivated sense of doing without. I’m not sure if that’s the secret to success universally, but it’s worked for us so far. As for advertising, the worse the economy gets, the more you should market yourself, your company, your organization, your cause. Period.
Q: Speaking of cats, I understand you have four. I’m jealous because my landlord won’t let me have even one. Care to brag on them at all? Names and relative levels of cuteness? Be honest, do you ever play favorites with them?
A: Oy, my cats. Yes, I have four. I call them the Flywrite Security Detail, but all they really do is run the other way when danger approaches. I think that’s their warning system. But, they are a lot of company for me, I get a ton of love and affection from them, and, truth be known, I treat them better than some of the people in my life.