partnership | Mar 15, 2022 |
PR à la carte

Margo Zeve and Maddie Kraus, known together as the consulting partners Duo M, want to talk with you. No pressure. No fine-print contracts or costly agency overhead or long-term commitments. Just a friendly chat that will help you define the stories and strategies that will take your brand to new heights.

“It’s personal, intimate: Pull up a seat, and have a good conversation,” says Zeve of the firm’s new service. “That’s the environment we want to foster, even when the experience takes place in the digital space.”

“And it extends beyond the conversation,” adds Kraus, “to concrete ways to implement that inspiration.”

Allowing clients to pick and choose the amount of marketing and publicity that best meets their means and needs, Kraus and Zeve realized, was the key to a more efficient approach to modern communications. The Sit-Down, a self-contained option separate from Duo M’s extensive services, consists of a 15-minute intake call with the partners, followed by up to three face-to-face meetings, each for a flat fee—from the hourlong Single Sit-Down ($1,000) to the three-session bundle ($2,800). For those interested in an even simpler option, there’s the 30-minute Quick Sit ($550). All feature immersive visual presentations prepared in advance by Kraus and Zeve. Beyond those borders—Duo M boasts clientele throughout California as well as from New York to Miami with Mississippi in between—and for both convenience and comfort levels, the meetings can also be conducted via Zoom. Afterward, Duo M recaps all the exciting ideas in a takeaway package that includes a video recording of the session(s) and a plan outlining strategies and next steps.

“Customization is what sets the Sit-Down apart,” says Zeve. “Clients are not just left with a standard PR 101 playbook. Maddie and I take a critical, in-depth look at what they’ve done, what they have to offer, and we map out the most meaningful way to convey their story.”

“A CEO at an established brand is going to value the video recording and targeted goals just as much as a smaller, budding business is going to need them,” adds Kraus.

Zeve and Kraus first met when both were working for RH—Zeve in-house on the marketing team, Kraus for the company’s New York–based PR firm. The two instantly bonded over their passion for big ideas and smart storytelling. In 2020, they decided to join forces and open their own shop—one that would address marketing and publicity in a fresh, flexible and dynamic way to match today’s ever-shifting media landscape. Whether for upstart makers who want to raise their profile but find self-promotion baffling, or for larger brands that are less adept at responding to the constant drumbeat for online content, Duo M provides streamlined services tailored to the client. “From top-line PR strategy to product launch implementation, Maddie and Margo have well-rounded experience in the design home and lifestyle categories, which made a perfect match for my design business,” says Anthony D’Argenzio, founder and creative director of Zio and Sons. “I consider them consultants but also key members of the Zio and Sons team.” Popular Sit-Down session topics to date include how to craft a compelling brand narrative, engage a social media base and place a project in a national publication.

“Margo and Maddie have helped me visualize and implement plans that bring my work to a larger audience in ways I would not have imagined,” says Aria Jahanshahi of Opa Architecture in New York, who credits Duo M with curating project photography that landed the company a dream 10-page layout in Dwell magazine.

“There’s no better team to build a plan with,” says San Francisco–based designer and architect Anand Sheth, who enlisted Duo M to help with the launch of his eponymous studio. “From a single Sit-Down, we drafted methods to position me independently while honoring my work for my previous firm. Margo and Maddie listened to me, understood my unique circumstances and pushed me further with thoughtful questions and guidance about how to clearly communicate my core values.”

“We found that people don’t always need the recurring services of a traditional agency,” says Kraus of Duo M’s à la carte menu. In some cases, the budget isn’t there to support the work, and in others, fledgling companies may be reluctant to get tied down to a contract. Because home renovation projects can take months to complete, design professionals may not want to keep paying out of pocket for publicity before they’re ready to present their work to media outlets. Alternatively, a small business helmed by a single designer may lack the bandwidth to feed the Instagram beast on the daily. “Or maybe it’s a marketing maven who already has a plan in place and just wants a fresh perspective on how to fine-tune the messaging,” says Kraus.

No matter the scenario, Duo M figures out the priorities and breaks down the steps to achieve them, all while respecting the client’s resources and reality. “Whether it’s a C-suite executive or a sole proprietor, we’ve talked to so many people who don’t know where to start,” says Zeve. “This is where you start.”

This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with Duo M.

Homepage photo: Margo Zeve and Maddie Kraus | Courtesy of Duo M

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