Otter Public Relations has been in business for just over two years, and according to O'Dwyer's "Top PR Firms of 2022," it is the fastest-growing PR firm in the United States. A multitude of client-oriented media successes are helping to propel this startup to new levels each month. In fact, this latest achievement comes on the heels of Otter PR's recent Clutch ranking of 2022's top 20 PR agency ranking among 5,507 US public relations firms.
Starting small and beating the odds
The firm was born in CEO Scott Bartnick's apartment just before the COVID-19 lockdown. In hindsight, Bartnick and his co-founder Dr. Jay Feldman admit that they did not pick an optimal moment for the launch of their startup, but no one could have foreseen the onset of a global pandemic.
Challenges abounded during the pandemic's economic downturn. While a record number of companies were left little choice than to lay-off their employees, Otter, on the other hand, only expanded, bringing aboard dozens of new employees to their roster. While thousands of small businesses shut down their physical brick-and-mortar locations, Otter opened two Florida offices; one in Orlando and another in the Tampa Bay area.
"We've come a long way from the startup we created in that tiny apartment," comments Dr. Feldman. "Today, Otter PR has over 50 employees and two Florida offices. We’re fortunate enough to work with clients from every part of the world every day and generate massive successes for them and their brands in media."
Bringing a wealth of entrepreneurial know-how from co-founders
When Bartnick and Dr. Feldman co-founded Otter, both came equipped with years of public relations and entrepreneurial experience, although neither would have predicted a business venture into PR prior to launching the company. Bartnick began his career with a degree in industrial and systems engineering, while Dr. Feldman got his start in osteopathic medicine.
However, as every entrepreneur knows well, where you begin is rarely where you find your ultimate route to success. Both men branched out to become thought leaders in the business sphere. Bartnick, for instance offers his own take on the entrepreneurial journey in the revolutionary book and Amazon best-seller, The Five-Day Startup: Guide to a Successful Online Business, while Dr. Feldman provides his own insight through Mentor's Collective—a podcast and media platform designed to enable entrepreneurs to help one another achieve success and financial independence.
Expanding the team
Colleen Falco, who now serves as the company’s COO, joined Otter PR in its earliest days. "It wasn't easy getting this company off the ground, and the pandemic certainly didn't help," she recalls. "We were working remotely and had to find ways to continue growing during that time. Our small staff put in a lot of hard work, but thankfully, we were able to expand our team relatively quickly."
A group of otters floating together is called a raft, and that's how the growing team at Otter PR refers to their friendly, informal work family. Today's raft is made up of talented publicists, writers, marketing specialists, and media strategists from all varieties of background and experience. "We bring on staff who offer first-rate service to our clients," says Dr. Feldman. "When our clients succeed, we're every bit as excited as they are."
Celebrating the client successes that bring growth
Growth in the PR space does not come without a healthy dose of wins. Otter PR's client success has come in the form of top-tier publications such as Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc., TechCrunch, Fast Company, and the New York Times—to name just a few.
Otter publicists also regularly land their clients placements with established television and radio outlets, including CNN, CNBC, FOX, and NPR. In addition to media coverage, Otter also provides its clients with expertise in online reputation management services, digital marketing, media training, and crisis communication management.
"It is exciting to see our startup expand so quickly, but we know that we still have a long way to go," Bartnick says. "Over the next five years, we look forward to growing and improving each day."
Photography by: Courtesy of Otter PR