Q&A with Declan Waters: Why Waters Communications Is Getting a New Look & Feel — and a New Name
Change is brewing at Waters Communications, and it’s the kind of change that has inspired the agency’s team of senior-level PR professionals to take a step back and rethink how the company presents itself to the world. That’s why founder Declan Waters is relaunching Waters Communications, not only with a new name — Waters Agency — but a new online presence.
I recently sat down (virtual of course) and talk with Declan about the company relaunch and understand the inspiration behind it, as well as his plans and expectations for where Waters Agency is headed.
Q. Tell me about how Waters Communications began.
I started Waters Communications after working as the in-house PR Director at Nutanix. What a journey that was. I learned a lot there, helping to take the brand from stealth mode through an IPO in 2016. But there and also in prior roles, I found hiring and working with outside PR agencies to be very frustrating. When closing on new business, agencies often involve their senior-level team members — people with tons of experience and industry savvy. But once they begin working with a client, they assign junior-level individuals to manage and work on the account, even though those individuals don’t yet have much experience in PR or a solid understanding of the industry.
I wanted to start an agency that follows through on its promises and provides senior-level experience on an ongoing basis. So, in August, 2017, I launched Waters Communications and set out to build an all-senior team cherry picking the best of the best in the industry.
Q. How has your organization evolved since its inception?
We are still working with many of our clients that started with us back in 2017, and we’ve become a trusted advisor and an extension of their teams. Most of our clients are highly disruptive startups who may not have a marketing or PR department at all, or if they do, they have a lean team. Because of this, we invariably have a seat at the table and participate in important strategy discussions with executive teams about branding, funding and product development.
Now, we’re focused on going deeper with our clients and providing a broader array of services beyond PR. At the same time, interest in our approach is high so we’ll be adding lots more net new business. We’re building out our team to enable that as well. Many of our clients are taking advantage of our expertise in other areas, such as social media, content development and lead generation, and they’re helping to drive our strategy within the cloud and infrastructure sectors.
Q. Why have you decided to rebrand and relaunch the agency now?
As we continue to grow our team of talented operators and expand into global marketplaces, it’s a good time to put a stake in the ground and restructure the Agency in a more formal way. The way we do things has been tried and tested in the market, and it’s the right time to put more structure and processes in place to help us create a platform for future growth.
Q. What are some key milestones that led to this moment?
Our decision to create global teams was a key milestone. We now have team members servicing clients in Europe and Australia. Additionally, the business is continuing to grow in the US. Over the last three years alone we’ve worked with 50+ companies, and we now have 15 clients on retainer. Some of our newest clients include Hubspot, Otter.ai and Telstra Ventures. With 14 senior-level professionals onboard, we have a good ratio of clients to team members, where we can assign dedicated experts to each account and provide a high degree of focus and depth.
Q. What are some key differentiators of Waters Agency?
Unlike most agencies, every one of our team members is senior-level. Collectively, we have more than 300 years of experience working in marketing and PR. We’re also a completely virtual team — we have been from day one. We don’t have the overhead of a large PR shop, so although our clients benefit from senior-level PR expertise, we’re typically more affordable. We also have global reach. With multiple offices overseas and PR experts in key locations such as London, we can help global organizations raise brand awareness and develop relationships with media at a global level, not just in the U.S.
Q. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your agency, if at all? How will it impact the agency in the coming months?
We’ve never been as busy as we have been at this stage in the journey. In times such as these, organizations need senior-level assistance to navigate the media and send the right messages out to the public. As we were already a 100% virtual team, the logistics didn’t impact us at all. We continue to provide the same level of high-quality service and PR expertise, regardless of the current environment or circumstances.
Q. Tell me about the momentum you’re building in different industries.
To date, our focus has been on Cloud and enterprise computing, the big beasts of the datacenter if you will. However we’re branching out into other sectors. For example, we have clients who provide AI-powered and SaaS solutions, as well. Our doors are open to disruptive startups that want to raise brand awareness and hone their efforts to reach target audiences — in the U.S. and abroad.
For more information or to learn how Waters Agency can help your organization reach the next level, contact us today.