Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Tom Madden. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Hi Tom, thanks for joining us today. Who is your hero and why? What lessons have you learned from them and how have they influenced your journey?
My hero is Carl DeSantis, founder of Rexall Sundown, Inc. From Carl I learned that you can start a billion-dollar business right out of your home, which is what he did, selling nutritional supplements he called Sundown Vitamins. Gradually his sales increased online and in a few stores until he moved his fledgling operation into a building in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
While he was doing that, I was growing my public relations firm I also started out of my home on Long Island, NY after I left NBC and then I moved the firm to Palm Beach, FL, then opened a small office in Boca Raton, FL, where around the same time Carl moved his now expanded operation into larger, more impressive headquarters in Boca Raton. And one day we met at the suggestion of one of his executives who had heard about me and suggested to Carl to consider hiring me to do the PR for the grand opening of the new headquarters of Rexall Sundown as Carl had purchased the Rexall name to add to Sundown. Carl really didn’t think he needed PR, but I showed him how powerful it could be in increasing his sales and 15 years later those sales had risen to $900 million a year until Carl sold the company for $1.6 billion crediting much of his success to me and my PR firm, TransMedia Group.
Tom, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I started at the right place for someone planning a career in public relations–journalism. I started as a reporter for my hometown newspaper, The Press, in Atlantic City, NJ,, then I moved to the Newark Start Ledger, then a big hop over the Delaware River to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Knowing the news business and what news media will find of interest is valuable information for someone in PR. It has helped me to score major media exposure for countless clients over the years, which enabled their operations to grow along with their bank accounts.
Often clients who own businesses want that exposure, but they don’t know how to generate it, so they come to someone like me who has media contacts, knows the news business and what it’s going to take to stir the juices of reporters and producers, so they leave it in my hands to come up with angles and stories that are going to do the trick. Once, for client Carl DeSantis I approached NBC Dateline to do a story about a product that reduced cellulite in women’s thighs. I introduced a well known volley ball player and told Dateline she’s agreeing to test the product and they liked my idea of doing a before and after story. So I took her to Florida, put her on the product, but just to play safe, I had her diet and run on the beach. Four weeks later her thighs were thinner and it made a great story on Dateline. Carl wound up selling $50 million worth of that product which turned out not to be that effective, but once you hit a homerun, it stays up there as a homerun!
Looking back, are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
One resource I wish I had discovered earlier was writing books and blogs. It wasn’t until much later in my PR career did I start to write books. My first was an autobiography titled “Spin Man” about my career up to that point in public relations recounting some of my most successful campaigns. The book was very successful and went through three printings, selling almost 20,000 hardcover copies. After that I found books not only fun and fulfilling to write, but I never met a prospective PR client who wasn’t impressed when I gave him or her a signed copy of my “latest” book. Recently my fifth book, WORDSHINE MAN was published and is available on Amazon full of tips on how to make your writing inviting and exciting. I also write a weekly blog available at MaddenMischief.com and I sometimes promote our clients or just to get things off my chest as there is nothing more cathartic than writing, which I love to do.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
I have so many missions. They’re called clients whose businesses or law firms, or podcasts, music, talent or life stories I want people to know about, to appreciate, so we promote them to the hilt. I make it rule not to represent anyone who doesn’t in some way inspire me or who has a product I feel more people should know about. I once learned the hard way that it’s not right promoting products that are harmful. Starting out I worked briefly at a Madison Avenue Advertising Firm and was assigned to create ads for a tobacco company. I’m glad that job didn’t last long because now we all know how harmful smoking is. No, I want to promote stuff that’s healthy. One of my favorite clients is Dr. Karl Zarse MD out in Idaho who is the founder or the Idaho Spine and Pain teaching people to combat aging with better fitness and health and a stronger immune system and to do that he has created amazing products, so promoting him is so gratifying.
Link to article: https://canvasrebel.com/meet-tom-madden/