Chanel Rae Pettaway is a Brand and Media Director for top brands across multiple genres including music, fashion, venues, entertainment, and technology. She’s also the co-host of a new podcast for the millennial mom “Our First Time; AMommyCast.” Chanel was also the recipient of the Essence of a Woman award from the Queens chapter of the NAACP (March, 2012) and named top 45 publicists you should hire (May 2014).
Chanel is known for breaking artists in the music industry including rockstar Cardi B. Her roster currently includes Shaggy, Jim Jones, Dipset, Cipha Sounds, Peter Rosenberg, Salaam Remi, Joell Ortiz, Chinx, Smack White, Embassy Lounge NYC, Norwinds Restaurant & Lounge, DJ O. Minaya, DJ Juanyto, DJ Drewski, DJ Spynfo, DJ E. Stylez, Joe Puma, Vampire Life Apparel, Kinship Apparel, Yay Apparel, Par-City and more.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
It was something that just landed on my lap. During the summer of 2008 my partner, Ian Freeman, and I were asked to produce a fashion show for the college division of the NAACP centennial celebrations in Times Square. We figured it would be a no-brainer.
He would produce the show. Seeing I was freelancing for In Touch Weekly at the time, I knew a bunch of other writers and some b-c list celebs I could ask to show up for red carpet. The event produced so many great media mentions – Daily News, USA Today, Seventeen Magazine, to name a few – that the participants of the fashion show asked us to do PR for them. We were like huh? Light bulb moment.
That fall during the stock market crash, books were falling left and right, and I had just gotten laid off from Advertising Age, which prompted my partner and I to act. We brought in another publicist with more corporate experience as a partner to clean up and legitimize our organization.
Thus, The Legion Media Group was born.
Tell us about your business.
The Legion Media Group is an integrated marketing firm based in New York City, assembled to harness the talent of its exceptionally creative, dedicated, and astute professionals in response to the questions and complexities concerning the rapidly evolving landscape of media and communication.
The Legion Media Group aims to develop comprehensive, insightful, and tailored marketing strategies, employing the most appropriate components of the media mix to effectively articulate and covey the client’s message.
I’m known for breaking artists in the music industry.
For example, I was the first to pitch Cardi B’s music. My roster currently includes Shaggy, Jim Jones, Dipset, Cipha Sounds, Peter Rosenberg, Salaam Remi, Joell Ortiz, Chinx, Chrisette Michele, Smack White, Embassy Lounge NYC, Norwinds Restaurant & Lounge, DJ O. Minaya, DJ Juanyto, DJ Drewski, DJ Spynfo, DJ E. Stylez, Joe Puma, Color of Teal, Vampire Life Apparel, Kinship Apparel, Yay Apparel, and Par-City.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I recently started my own Mommy Podcast along with one of my best friends, Latoya Rodriguez. We discuss everything from miscarriages, delivery stories, circumcision, recovery, weight-loss, seasonal clothes shopping, maternity leave, dealing with social media, baby savings plans, dealing with the grandmas, childcare, items they can’t live without, and more!
- Newsday named me Most Distinguished High School Editor in 2002.
- I was named The Red Carpet Hero by BET.com in July, 2008.
- I was the recipient of the Essence of a Woman Award from the Queens chapter of the NAACP in March, 2012.
- I was named top 45 publicists you should hire in May 2014.
Where is your business based?
We work remotely across NYC.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
A website was a must. At the time twitter was a great way for us to connect with not only media but also future clients.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Most of our clients come in on a referral basis. Social media helps validate our “wins,” but our reputation is what keeps us in business. We never make promises we don’t intend to keep.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Keeping up with the ever changing media landscape. When we first started TLMG most major blogs were individually owned, which gave writers and publicists free creative reign. Today, most top media sites are owned by large publishing companies, which limits access. Finding new and innovative ways to get a client’s message out is key as the digital space changes every 3-4 years.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Read everything. Know your audience. Know not only what the consumer wants but the institutions you are pitching.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My family keeps me motivated. I strive to be better for them.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Most of our competitors run on pubic relations tradition alone. We pride ourselves in keeping our ears and feet to the ground.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Sometimes you have to be selfish and that is ok. Your personal balance will determine your happiness.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Do not give up. There will be hard days, but the good days make up for them.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
Social media has helped us connect with the consumer as well as other businesses. Also, google drive has saved our lives more than once. It makes all our files easily accessible and easy to use.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
The more you hire smart people, the better your business will be. Always looking for great people in every aspect – whether it’s researchers, graphic designers, account executives, social media experts, we want it all.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Our main goal is to be better at highlighting our successes. We have many new client wins and great placements that need to be highlighted and publicly announced. Being a great public relations agency means you have to be your own client as well.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @pqchanel, @we_R_Legion, @aMommyCast
Facebook @pqchanel, @TheLegionMediaGroup, @aMommyCast
Website www.TheLegionMediaGroup.com, www.aMommyCast.com
Hashtags #TLMG #TeamLegion #aMommyCast