Why Midsize Matters

Having the biggest digital Rolodex is nice but it doesn’t mean what it used to.

who-dogWe’re fiercely competitive. We are tenacious, smart, storytellers in an intellectually demanding profession. We zig when others zag. We have a voracious appetite for emerging technology and the way it impacts all facets of life.

While we spend most of our day talking about the future, we embrace an old-school approach to relationships. Our business is not transactional; we’re in it through the good times and the challenging times with our clients. It’s for this reason we cringe if we’re referred to as a vendor – save that noun for the folks who deliver water to your office. We genuinely form lasting partnerships with the people whose technologies we represent.

We love our hometown of Seattle, and the regions that have become our second homes – the Rocky Mountains and the Bay Area. Great people, great cultures and amazing technology. From our offices in Seattle and Denver, we serve clients across the country, and around the globe. Our clients find value in leveraging our strong networks in each region, and like that we bring a fresh perspective and different thinking to the equation.

Our Team

One of the many reasons our clients tell us they stay with Barokas PR for so long is because of the folks who coach the team and remain deeply involved in all aspects of our business and yours. The Barokas PR leadership team is comprised of great minds that come from diverse backgrounds, including media, brand management, and in-house and agency PR.

Howie Barokas - Founder & CEO

Bios are always written in the 3rd person, but it feels unnatural so I'm not going to. Actually I'd much prefer to talk about you, but since you're here and I'm not, I'll give you the highlights. I caught the PR bug while working on the morning show at KISW-FM, Seattle's Best Rock. For nine years I was contacted by PR people wanting to bring free shit to the station in exchange for a shout-out; which we did. This was before strong laws that punished plugola. From radio I jumped into the PR game, and here I am 20 years later (I'm writing this in 2013 if you're doing the math. And for the curious I was born in 1965). I worked at a big agency; loved the work, hated the politics and bureaucracy. I thought "Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a PR agency where the work was challenging but there was no BS?" I couldn't find one, so I started BPR in 1998. I've never won an award. Never applied for one. I love my team, our clients, my Harley, Led Zeppelin, The Notorious B.I.G. and the Dave Matthews Band. Oh and a little known fact, my mom calls me Howhow.

Johanna Erickson - Managing Director

Johanna has been working in public relations for over 15 years. She has a passion for both consumer products and technology innovators. She is a media junkie who thrives on introducing products, companies, people and ideas to the market. Johanna has delivered top tier media results for her clients in outlets including AllThingsD, Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, The Economist, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Client highlights include: Bona, Celestial Seasonings, Daily Makeover, Evolv, Jabber, MapQuest and Xerox.

Karli Overmier - Chief Operating Officer

Hi everyone, I’m Karli, the COO at Barokas PR. I honed my PR skills working on B2B and enterprise tech clients for many years before transitioning my role over to the operations side of the house. On a typical day, you can find me in talks with potential recruits, networking with prospective clients, diving into agency finances and budgeting, or working on ways to elevate our agency’s brand. I do a little bit of everything to keep us rockin’ and rollin’! More about me: I’m an adventurer at heart. I love exploring the Pacific Northwest and my hometown of Seattle, and jump at any opportunity to experience the best of what our second homes – Denver and Detroit – have to offer. In my spare time, you can find me swimming, biking, running, weightlifting, or hanging out with the fam, which includes two of the best English bulldogs around.

Frances Bigley - Managing Director – New Business Development

When I was in second grade, my mom saved a bunch of short stories I wrote as a kid.  Since then, I’ve kept them tucked away in a folder along with all of my old report cards – the ones where I got A’s in English and C’s in math. Point being, I’ve always loved writing and story-telling – PR is my passion, and as a grown-up I’m fortunate to be working in a field I enjoy. The truly fascinating part of PR is how much it has evolved over the past few years and how differently people consume information today. Our role as communicators in a digital world requires more than just good writing.  It takes investing in client relationships on a much deeper and personal level, understanding their audience as well (if not better) than they do, finding diamonds in the rough for authentic storytelling, and being a star quarterback that puts points on the board and helps them win the game. Every time. My role in new business development is to make winning the game possible by meeting with you and recommending an approach to PR and strategies that will get you noticed. If you need help launching out of stealth, posturing your company for acquisition or IPO, or reinvigorating your beloved established brand, I’m your gal and Barokas PR is your agency.

Jason Michael - Vice President

Jason exchanged the glamorous life of sports journalism for the even sexier life of public relations, and has since spent the last decade working with his teams to harness the power of communication. A firm believer that a creative writer can succeed in any walk of life, Jason’s experience runs the gamut of FORTUNE 100 companies at global PR firms to mom-and-pop startups at even smaller boutique agencies. Jason is passionate about building relationships with clients, media and the PR teams that connect the two. He is a diehard St. Louis and Mizzou sports fan, an unapologetic movie nerd, and thinks the most endearing trait a person can possess is knowing they aren’t the most important person in the world, but they have it in them to make someone else feel that way. 

Jen Roane - Vice President

Jen Roane has worked as a communications professional for more than 20 years on the East Coast, Mid-Coast and West Coast. She has worked with public and private companies, including early-stage innovation and worldwide leaders developed from both agency and client-side settings. She has led communications for brands like Citrix, General Motors, Mapquest, and Polaroid to smaller brands in cyber security, healthcare, technology, and retail. Jen has a solid track record of growing businesses, driving teams and thinking strategically while achieving desired results. She has a passion for learning about new businesses and then telling their stories in the most appropriate channels. Jen’s guiding principal is “embrace the uncomfortable.” Progress happens when we are challenged, when we are uncomfortable.

Morgan Bradley - Account Director

I started my career at Barokas PR as the office manager and have worked in nearly every role on my way to Account Director. This experience has provided me a 360-degree perspective on how to take a project from initial concept, to strategy and through execution. Many people ask me who is my favorite client, or what is the best project I have worked on, but it’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. I will say, I love working with executives with infectious passion for their business and industry—it makes crafting a story so much more fun.  Over the last several years, I’ve worked with companies in many industries including Fintech, consumer tech and consumer lifestyle. When I’m not at Barokas PR, I like to spend my time with my family hiking, skiing, or relaxing on Hood Canal.

Kristin Sandberg - Account Director

After graduating from the University of Washington (go dawgs!), I packed my life – and cat – into a moving truck and made my way to San Francisco where I cut my teeth in technology driven PR, both in-house and agency. Immediately immersing myself in the local tech scene, I became enamored with verticals spanning advertising technology, marketing automation, mobile/wireless, security, IoT/smart cities and big data. Soon thereafter I was brought on as the first PR person at LiveRail, a video monetization platform for publishers, which was later acquired by Facebook. My scrappy yet creative approach to storytelling has landed top tier coverage for clients in multiple industries, from emerging tech companies including BoldIQ and Amplero to well established brands like Intel. When not spinning stories for startups, you’ll find me sipping cider and foraging all that the PNW has to offer – from Dungeness crab to chanterelles, running, and spending time outdoors with my husband Daniel and our beloved black lab, Hank.

Ron Elgin - Chairman

Ron is a self-described life-long ad guy but that’s not totally accurate. He wasn’t born into advertising and didn’t get into it until after graduating from the UofW with a degree in journalism and he’s not strictly an ad guy. He did start that way as an advertising copywriter but then co-found an advertising/PR company, Elgin Syferd, that became the largest in the region with billings in excess of $250 million serving clients ranging from Holland America Line, JanSport, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nordstrom and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. He also co-found CF2GS (which became the region’s largest Direct agency), Hornall Anderson Design Works (a global branding agency), ES Drake (the largest ad/PR firm in Idaho), and AdWorks (retail ad/PR firm). Upon the sale of his agencies to the global Omnicom, he became CEO of DDB Seattle and served on their national board until his retirement at the end of 2011. Ron currently provides marketing and business consulting services and serves on several corporate boards. He is the celebrated author of two non-fiction books: Huckster and The Man Behind the Curtain.

Our History

Barokas Public Relations opened in September 1998. The agency was launched with the belief that great PR work happens in an environment free from the BS that exists in nearly every public relations firm.Having come from a rock 'n' roll radio background, Howie Barokas has seen how a creative business can thrive when egos are put aside (for the most part) and the day-to-day operations are direct, transparent, and BS-free. It’s with that spirit the agency started and continues to operate today, and it’s because of that mindset Barokas PR has grown 100% organically to become the Northwest’s leading mid-size PR agency. Over the years, hundreds of people from newly funded start-ups to global corporations including Cisco Systems, Opsware, Concur, Ericsson, HP, have relied on Barokas PR to get-it-done.

From the Blog

#Winning at Client Relations – Ingredients for Success

Arguably more difficult than landing that perfect company feature in a top-tier outlet is managing and maintaining positive client relations year-over-year. As your client’s company culture morphs, executives come and go or product roadmap shifts, your trusted PR team is along for the ride, adapting on-the-fly as the company evolves. Despite the inevitable changes that [Read More]

No BS Blog

Our Clients say it all...

  • RadiumOne

    “BPR provides the right mix of senior PR counsel coupled with a healthy dose of aggressiveness that has earned us tier-1 results in AdAge, AdWeek, Fast Company, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and others. Strategic communications is essential to a brand’s success, and the BPR team has consistently demonstrated their PR prowess for our brand and leadership team on multiple fronts. Their professionalism and partnership mentality dispels the myth that PR firms have to be based in the Bay Area to do great work.”

  • Amplero

    “Barokas has the breadth and depth of press, media and analyst relationships that I grew used to at big companies, but they also bring the scrappy, gritty, “we’re all in this together” attitude of a startup. They are a great partner and an integral part of our success!”

  • Liaison

    “After experiencing the outstanding results secured by Barokas PR during our acquisition of Hubspan, we extended that partnership to Liaison. I wear many hats in my organization and their proactive approach and responsiveness were bar-none. I never had to worry about their performance, and over the years they were a huge key to my success.”

  • ExtraHop Networks

     “When it came time to hire an outside PR agency for ExtraHop, Barokas seemed like a natural fit. Not only are they one of the only mid-size agencies that has meaningful enterprise IT infrastructure experience, plus their creativity, work ethic, and dedication to client success is obvious.”

  • Adaptiva

    “Since working with the BPR team, we’ve secured top tier media coverage that far exceeds our competitors. BPR is a rare-breed, able to understand and articulate complex technologies in a creative way that delivers results. Highly personable and professional, they possesses the innate ability to gain the trust of those around them, including journalists, analysts and clients. I highly recommend their services.”

  • Ibotta

    “As the fastest growing tech company in Denver, it was important to find a PR partner that could move quickly and strategically with us. Barokas has been that and more.”

  • BoldIQ

    “The best compliment I can give Barokas PR is that they are like an extension of our team. It does not feel like we are working with an ‘outside’ PR firm. They have the same level of commitment, engagement and passion as our own employees. On top of that, they are great at PR!”

  • ChoreMonster

    “Barokas claims they are PR minus the bullshit. I found it hard to believe. So, I put them to work right away with an insane deadline. Guess what? They killed it. Not only that, but they’ve continued to do dope work ever since. Easy communication, always on top of it, and… no bullshit.”

  • zenprise

    “Barokas Public Relations works as advertised – they get results – and have a keen understanding of what it takes to get the job done. The increasing volume of coverage we have achieved over the years is a testament to their work. We value the firm’s strategic counsel and partnership in helping Zenprise become the leader in mobile device management, and recommend them to other companies who are looking for an aggressive, smart agency with a “can do” attitude.”

  • clearwell

    “Barokas Public Relations has been a great partner for Clearwell and has played a critical role in our success. Kudos on a great job over the last 5+ years, beginning with our company launch through to our acquisition.”

  • apptio

    “Barokas Public Relations has been relentless in raising Apptio’s profile and driving meaningful and consistent coverage. The firm’s tech savvy and ‘squeaky wheel’ approach to PR, combined with their energy and enthusiasm, is paying off in spades for Apptio as we work to build a new market category.”

  • Cascadia

    “It takes a combination of strategic smarts and heads down effort to succeed in public relations, and nobody combines the two better than Barokas Public Relations. The agency’s work with Cascadia Capital has helped propel us into the spotlight as one of the nation’s leading boutique investment banks.”

  • Eucalyptus Systems

    “Small focused teams can run circles around those with many more people and much larger marketing budgets. Barokas PR helps us sharpen and communicate our message with impressive awareness results in a market with lots of noise.”

  • Vector

    “Barokas PR has opened the door to endless opportunities for Vector. With their support, we’re seen as true thought leaders in the space community, which supports so much of what we do like raising capital and demand for our technology.”

  • Ello

    “If you set out to change the world it’s a good idea to have Barokas PR on your team. They are the most awesome PR people in the world. I would not work with anyone else.”

  • Concur

    “For six years Barokas PR worked passionately on the Concur business. We relied on Howie and his team to help us promote and own the T&E category. Barokas consistently delivered.”

  • WTIA

    “I have been working Barokas PR for 15 years and four companies. BPR is my go-to marketing partner of choice. In the past 2.5 years, BPR has worked closely with our team at WTIA to establish a credible voice for the tech industry in the Pacific Northwest. Media outlets and government officials now come to us as a subject matter expert on background or as a public voice for the important stories about our industry. It is a joy to work with BPR – they are competent, honest, and tenacious as hell.”

  • Tippr

    “I’ve worked with Barokas since 1999. They kick ass. A much better solution than Edelman, Weber, or any of the other mega agencies.”

  • Eucalyptus Systems

    “I consider myself very lucky for getting the chance to work with the Barokas PR team.  
    They are one of the few teams that really get it!”

     

  • Rapt Media

    “Barokas has been a great partner to Rapt Media over the past few years.  Not only is their execution and attention to detail top notch, we share the same values of trust and honest communication to get to the best solutions.”

  • FlashFunders

    “I can’t believe how aggressive Barokas PR has been since day one of our relationship. The agency is exactly what FlashFunders needs to drive awareness.”

  • Wealthfront

    “The work Barokas PR did for our recent launch was fantastic. A 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. The top-tier coverage we received was consistent with our messaging. We couldn’t have asked for more. Barokas is a welcome addition to the Bay Area PR scene.”

  • SQFT

    “These guys are PR gods. In just one month, we doubled the number of downloads and tripled the number of listings on our app.”

  • Visible Technologies

    “Over the nearly three years we worked with Barokas Public Relations, they consistently delivered outstanding results and counsel to us. They were a trusted advisor and partner! The team’s deep expertise working with key industry media in the advertising and digital marketing space benefitted us greatly, and was instrumental positioning us for acquisition by two industry leaders – Vocus and Cision. We couldn’t have asked for a more successful partnership.”

  • Daegis

    “Barokas Public Relations hit the ground running and placed positive articles right from the start. In addition to being results-focused, their deep understanding of the eDiscovery market played an integral role in developing our messaging and establishing awareness for the Daegis brand at a critical time. They consistently went the extra mile to serve us, and I can’t think of a better qualified group of PR professionals to work with.”

  • Techstars

    “Barokas PR has been relentless in spreading awareness of the Techstars ecosystem on all fronts. They understand the many facets of our brand and can expertly deliver our message to the right people at the right publications. The Techstars for Life message has reverberated throughout the media thanks to the exceptional work from our Barokas PR team.”

  • Lighter Capital

    “Barokas PR delivered results from day one. We’ve been impressed with the team’s commitment to securing top tier coverage time and time again.”

  • vCita

    “Barokas PR really gets us. They consistently deliver and are a true representation of PR minus the BS. This is the first time I’ve felt this way about a PR firm.”

  • Atari

    “Barokas PR is a nimble team of talented media professionals. They’ve successfully assisted Atari with shaping the Atari brand in the constantly evolving gaming landscape, and have continually exceeded our expectations and coverage goals. Barokas PR provides strategic media counsel to our team, and will continue to be a big complement to Atari’s go-forward plans.” 

  • OpenMarket

    “We’ve partnered with Barokas PR since 2013 and can attest to their driven, results-oriented agency mentality. In fact, they more than doubled the average number of feature coverage placements each quarter, compared to our previous agency. Barokas PR’s enterprise expertise has significantly lifted OpenMarket’s awareness with key press, analysts and customers.” 

  • Vertafore

    “Barokas PR has strengthened our relationships with key influencers in the insurance industry and increased our visibility as a leading software powerhouse in the PNW. Through this strategic partnership, we have experienced a record level of coverage, resulting in new business leads and an increased share of voice.”

  • Accela

    “Barokas PR has consistently performed at a level beyond our benchmarks. They never cease to impress with their PR savvy, quick grasp of our technology, and non-stop willingness to go the extra mile to reach desired goals. I would heartily recommend them for any stage business looking for a truly exceptional PR partner.”

  • Rachio

    Barokas PR is having a significant impact on our exposure, placing us in top tier media including CNET, Men’s Journal, TechCrunch and Wall Street Journal. As an added bonus, we have great chemistry with their team.”

  • Blazent

    “In my career I’ve never seen this kind of response in such a short period of time. In less than two months, Barokas PR developed the strategy for our launch, and leveraged their relationships to drive top tier coverage across trade and business press. They are a PR powerhouse.”

  • FlowPlay

    “Barokas PR has been an integral part of our business since 2007, helping us grow from a small startup to a profitable gaming company. They’re a smart, scrappy and creative group of PR pros, and their passion for FlowPlay’s business is showcased by the PR coverage we’ve received over the years.” 

  • Airbiquity

    “Barokas PR has done an outstanding job on our business. They got up to speed quickly on a complex and fast moving industry vertical, and significantly improved our media targeting strategy and outreach. The results speak for themselves: 3X more press interviews, 2X more article inclusions, 6X more impressions delivery, and a category leading press coverage profile versus our competition.”

  • RoundPegg

    “Barokas PR has achieved more in 6 months than our previous agency did in 2 years.”

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