Heidi Ruggier | President | Matte PR

Matte PR: Elevating Clients with Impactful PR

Brand building is an essential practice for a business to have great goodwill and expand the business further. In today’s world, digital media plays a crucial role in accomplishing this task. However, it is important to understand what direction to go in to have the right media coverage.

Matte PR is a firm that specializes in building a reputation for its clients. It is a 360° consultancy working to deliver insights and identify opportunities by bringing talent together across departments. Through results-driven campaigns, the firm assists clients to improve their public relations and identify opportunities to expand.

Matte PR is headed by Heidi Ruggier, the Founder and President.

In the following interview, Heidi tells us about the company’s journey, her opinion about the current scenario of the PR & Marketing space, and her future vision for the company.

Please brief our audience about Matte PR, its USPs, and how the company is currently positioned as a leading player in the PR and Marketing space.

Matte PR is a full-service public relations agency elevating leading global brands and local independents. We drive success through securing quality strategic placements on traditional and digital media platforms. Our programs are structured to drive brand awareness and growth through thoughtful, dedicated public relations.

We are privileged to work with brands like Afterpay, Engel & Völkers, nixit, Toronto Fashion Incubator, and more. We also represent independent fashion brands like Hania Kuzbari Jewelry, Unknown Articles, and Yap Sister Studio.

Matte PR is brought to you by the hard work and collaboration of an eclectic group of people. One thing we have in common is our commitment to leaving the world a better place than we found it. It’s important to us to be mindful of our relationship with our community, both local and global. This is why I created THE DEAL, a give-back pledge that sees the company donate 3% of its annual revenue to causes important to people and our planet.

First, we are proud partners of 1% for the Planet. That means 1% of your purchase with us is distributed to a group of important environmental organizations. Treating people with dignity and respect while working towards equity, no matter what is important to us. This is why we choose to give 1% to Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), an international humanitarian aid organization dedicated to helping the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Lastly, 1% is donated to Canadian organizations fighting for LGBTQ2S+ rights, women’s rights, racial equity, and ending homelessness.

What other services does your company offer, and how are these making an impact on the industry and your clients?

Our integrated approach to communications combines media relations, digital, e-commerce, and creative production. The results are award-winning. This year, Hania Kuzbari’s retail debut in Canada won Matte PR a CPRS Ace Award for Best ‘Pivot’.

nixit’s Canadian launch saw us win a Bulldog Award and a CPRS Ace Award. These awards represent Matte PR’s commitment to our clients and to advancing the field of public relations through our creative and enterprising approach to PR.

Our clients had major wins this year too. We launched Afterpay in Canada in fall 2020. Today, it is Canada’s most visited and most used ‘Buy Now Pay Later’. And after one year of working with us, nixit was named one of 2021’s Top 50 Most Impactful Companies in Canada by Bay Street Bull.

Heidi, please brief us about your professional journey in the PR and Marketing industry, and how you have contributed to the company’s success.

Previous to Matte PR, I worked at Budman and Associates (later renamed Budman PR). The late Nina Budman taught me everything I know about PR, and I’m forever grateful to her for her wisdom and commitment to mentorship. I continue to pay it forward through being a mentor with Toronto Fashion Incubator, Ryerson’s Fashion Zone, Canadian Gay, and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and Forum for Women Entrepreneurs.

In 2016, Budman PR became Matte PR with me at the helm. Since the relaunch, Matte PR has transformed its scope from a traditional media relations shop to the full-service agency it is today.

Aside from our success in the PR realm, one of the things I’m most proud of is Glossi Mag, an online publication we launched in tandem with Matte PR. Its purpose is to connect us with like-minded people, by exploring ideas impacting and changing our lives, from innovative fashion and design concepts, notable arts, and culture initiatives, to interesting people and places. The content is ambitious, imaginative, aesthetically stunning, and at the cutting edge of art and culture.

Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on what impact have the adoption of modern technologies such as AI, big data, and machine learning had on the PR and Marketing niches and what more could be expected in the future?

Automation helps us be more efficient and work smarter, freeing up more time for us to cultivate relationships with people and build new relationships. Machine learning will never replace the human touch, but it does help plan ahead, measure results, and free up time spent on busy work.

What automation can’t do is help us to understand the complexities of the human experience or truly personalize communication. In the future, I expect increased demand for PR experts, especially as automation continues to proliferate.

It will be important to continue to engage with PR professionals that are on the cutting edge of adapting to the new ways audiences engage with media and technology.

Taking into consideration the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?

The pandemic definitely created its challenges for us, especially at the onset. Looking back, I love what it has done to our company’s culture, systems, and overall mindset. Those first few months forced us to recalibrate our operations, systems, and client mix and it has made us better, faster, and stronger.

2020 was not our worst year. In fact, it turned out to be one of our best. We welcomed new, notable clients and won a few awards. I’m grateful to my team for their hustle. Our success is truly the result of a team effort.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the PR and Marketing space?

For those wanting to start their own PR practice, know what you like and be choosey with who you work with. Always work with products, services, and entrepreneurs you believe in. It’s not an easy career, but it’s super rewarding and you will never live the same day twice.

For those looking to break into the PR industry, seek out senior PR people and learn as much as you can. Know that learning takes time, so do your best and be eager, attentive, and conscientious. The rest will fall into place.

How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?

Matte PR is scaling to expand its range of fashion services, helping Canadian brands with everything from e-commerce to export. We’re also expanding our roster of technology-driven brands playing in the retail and real estate space.

Success is measured through both growth and social objectives. Giving back to our local and global communities is now built into our business model and will continue to be that way.

Building Brands

  • Katelyn Castellano, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Engel & Völkers – “Matte PR continues to be an ideal partner and a true extension of our brand. The team has become subject matter experts in luxury real estate and trends to support our brand needs in developing dynamic content and notable media placements that continue to drive our business forward.”
  • Rachael Newton, Founder, nixit – “Americas Matte PR have been a joy to work with – it has been so nice to find a company that aligns with our values so well – this makes them fantastic advocates of our brand. Their deep connections within the Canadian media landscape and innovative ideas have directly resulted in some great press.”