A fierce yet warm-hearted soul, Marie Driven is making her mark with her company called Playbook Media Group. She talks about the good and the bad clients, how to deal with friendships, the culture of industry, how to stay grounded as a woman and offer words of encouragement for those entering media relations.
- What is your day like for you?
- What clients are you working on right now?
- You’re a publicist?
- What inspired you to do media relations? Where were you before this?
- How do you juggle with the branding and management and PR?
- How do you keep yourself grounded, making sure Marie is good?
- To piggyback on that, what’s the worst thing that happens to you dealing with clients and the best thing happening for you?
- What advice can you give for high school and college students or those who wants to move from their careers and be an entrepreneur in media or branding?
- You said that you separate your friends from the industry. Knowing the industry, they care about money don’t care about anything else. And you want that warmth, you want that togetherness, but it’s not there. Why you think that vibe or culture is like that?
- Of me knowing you, you have been strong, you are very honest and you know fighting in the industry is pretty tough. It is cut throat. Very deep. How you feel about women in the entertainment industry? To push through this industry that is so male dominated, how are you able to push through as a woman? There are also other women who want to do what you are doing and may not have as much of thick skin or feel like they are not able to make it because they are a woman. What is your intake on that?
- Anything else you like to add as a word of encouragement?
- Connect with Marie Driven
What is your day like for you?
Team meeting on a conference call of what we need to do for the client. We plan the week. We start on Monday and execute what we need to do for the week depending on the client we have on the roster.
What clients are you working on right now?
Right now, we have a cruise that leaves from Florida and goes to Jamaica. It’s not a typical boat ride, it’s a love situation. So, bring your significant other or someone you love. The goals with that is to spread the word. Planning that process is to hit up outlets that deals with travel, interviewing the person putting the boat ride together to get more information on why they put the boat ride together. We ask them questions like, ‘Would this be happening every year? Are they switching up artist? Are you booking any media partners to help out with the promotion? etc.
We are working with SwiftonDemand, from Love & Hip Hop. He is a producer and artist as well. We are working with him on the artistry side. We just booked him on a tour in Michigan and getting him more interviews so he can speak about his artistry.
We are working on a doctor. He is in Miami and does hair implants. He needs to expand in our market. We write stories that this guy exists. Do you have to get surgery to get your hair back? There’s pills. There are celebrities with no edges so what is the process to get the edges back.
You’re a publicist?
Well, I don’t want to say that. That’s part of the services. I’ll say I own a media relations company and one of the services we offer is PR. There’s a difference. Most of the people comes to us for PR because some can’t afford the other services. So, when you see me around people, I’m their PR. We do a lot of branding with people. The whole reason to get sign is to get the exposure. So, you have to find a way to brand them. It’s about getting them bigger than what they are. My media company do branding, public relations, and management.
What inspired you to do media relations? Where were you before this?
Imma original salesperson. When I was younger, I would work for these clothing lines, then got a position with G-Unit. After getting the offer with G-Unit, I was with them until a year and half before it went all the way down in the U.S not in UK. UK was still making money. Being at G-Unit, lead me other positions, I did a lot of trade shows at the Javits Center and traveling. Then, I got hired at another company. I was like ‘I’m having a good time, young and making over 50,000 per year’, but the clothing business was sinking. When it was sinking, we had to move to Queens and I didn’t like it! While I was working, I was looking for other options and started a blog called “Marie Driven on the Scene”. I needed to get out more and tell people who I am, not just in the sales game, but in the industry. I started to get offers to events, which landed me with Serani, who was at Sony Records at the time. Then I went after DJ Magic who is on Hot’97 now. He wasn’t on Hot’97. He was a regular DJ Magic. I told him to sign to me, period, for management not PR. He was trusting people because he gotten screwed, but after while he was forced to trust me. I landed him Good Day New York twice. He started seeing things moving and trusted me. Then, I was working with Ricky Blaze and no one knew who he was at the time because he was working behind the scenes. I crashed Nicki Minaj event and told Ricky they invited him, but they didn’t. When I got there, I start making a big scene saying my client should be here and they messed up. I was given the passes immediately, he walked the red carpet and next thing, you know, we was in the daily news, you name it. That was my starting days of doing this. I can do branding. I come from a sales background. I’m doing the same thing, but selling people at this point.
How do you juggle with the branding and management and PR?
The funny thing about that, it wasn’t even hard. The management is just making sure what you do for them is right, it suits their brand and it doesn’t take away their image, etc. And when it comes to branding, how do we make him visible. It’s all good to be an artist, but sometimes you do need a brand analogy. That kind of balance what you do – your music or whatever. It’s one of those things you sit down with the team and see who is good for this person. It’s a lot of planning, yes, the execution is the fun part because it’s a challenge.
How do you keep yourself grounded, making sure Marie is good?
Hmmm, having real friends because this industry is not your real friend. When you leave it, you leave it behind. A lot of people seem to loop it all together. I don’t. I have friends outside the industry. They might dipple and dapple. That’s very important.
To piggyback on that, what’s the worst thing that happens to you dealing with clients and the best thing that happens for you?
The worst thing with a client is they are not knowing the job they signed you up for. The thing is it’s a business. Some of these clients don’t get it. This is not a one month process. To build a brand, it takes 6 months. Sometimes, 3-6 months to a year. Especially a new person in the industry, nobody really knows you. So, the hard work comes from our end. Some of these clients are so conceded because they got the hood or their little friends. They think that it’s easy but it does not work like that. It’s a process. When a client comes, I’m very selective right now to sign a client. If you going to come here for one month, then you better go somewhere else. I got people to paid. If you are going to pay me January, February, March, I need to get paid Jan, Feb, March. You can’t paid me in Jan, skip Feb, then pay me in March. The client don’t understand the business, the process and what I needed for them to go to the next level.
The best thing that ever happened with a client is some of them got me more business. That is something I cherish.
What advice can you give for high school and college students or those who wants to move from their careers and be an entrepreneur in media or branding?
If they are going to do the job, make sure they know what they’re doing, what their offering and not say things that aren’t realistic. The problem with people today in our field, they are sketchy. What I mean is a girl that works in a club is a PR now. A girl that’s walking down the street, she does branding. And the thing is I get a lot of clients that say to me ‘You know this person, right. I work with that person and I didn’t get nothing.’ No, it’s your fault you didn’t get what you want to get because you weren’t asking the right questions. She is going to tell you what she wants to tell you. The person that is doing the job must be skillful, understand what they are doing and make sure that when the client comes, they know exactly what they are offering. Don’t ever promise anything. You tell them what you can do and it’s a possibility it’s going to happen. That is the #1 rule.
I think these college kids growing up today, some of them don’t care. Some of them don’t know the real deal in the field ‘cause their teachers are pass dated. I feel some of this colleges need me or you to come in and say ‘Hey this is what I do every day. This is the real deal.’ Not the book stuff because it’s outdated. You think you going to sit around on a 9 to 5 desk all day, but it doesn’t work like that. I work from home. You choose what you want to do when you are an entrepreneur. But you got to make sure you do it right. Whatever you do, make sure you are happy and getting the money you need out of the situation. Not all opportunities are lucrative opportunities. You have to see for yourself if that is the direction you want to go in.
You said that you separate your friends from the industry. Knowing the industry, they care about money don’t care about anything else. And you want that warmth, you want that togetherness, but it’s not there. Why you think that vibe or culture is like that?
Because the funny is, it’s only the industry. Well, every profession has that group. If you are in media or entertainment world, everybody trying to get that next thing and want to win. I bet you know a lot of girls in PR. They all doing the same shit. Some of them like to hang around in groups and talk about each behind their back. I think I was the first one that said something to these girls. I really have no filter. I say what I say. You talk to me today or you don’t. I don’t care because I know how fake this thing is. I don’t hang with you on the weekend. I don’t speak to you on a day to day basis, then you are not considered a friend. In the industry, everyone trying to fight for something that is not there. Why you trying to fight for a $500 rapper that is not going to pay $500 anyway. That is why you have to separate and have your own friends. They have a “crab in a bucket” mentality. I even had friends I brought into the industry and don’t speak to them no more because they see it, and try to sneak themselves into your situation. That happen to me a couple of months ago. It’s fine, if you are telling me what you are doing. You are doing it unintentionally and people around me peeping it – it’s not cute. I am going to cut you off. The thing you are trying to do, I have done 20 times better and you not doing it no more because you couldn’t even master it. If you want to master it, you bring me on. It supposed to be team work. If you have a friend that wants to be down with you in the industry, you have to make sure they’re for you and you for them. It’s all about growth and a lot don’t know about that shit at all. If you about yourself, you lose. It always happens.
Of me knowing you, you have been strong, you are very honest and you know fighting in the industry is pretty tough. It is cut throat. Very deep. How you feel about women in the entertainment industry? To push through this industry that is so male dominated, how are you able to push through as a woman? There are also other women who want to do what you are doing and may not have as much of thick skin or feel like they are not able to make it because they are a woman. What is your intake on that?
Any woman that want to do anything, they can. The only difference is it’s the personality and how serious they are. Men does compete tenfold and you have to work hard. Don’t give yourself a pass because you are a female. A lot of females use their beauty, or luscious body to get to the next level. And you have women who use their brain. But in the entertainment industry, a lot of them use what they have to get to the next level. I tell these women, ‘you can do what you want to do, but you got to be true to yourself.’ You got to know exactly what you want. You don’t want people saying , ‘you know how she got far? She did this and that?’. That’s just a bad story. Any women trying to get into the industry, they personally need to work smart. Understand what you are getting yourself into. Be dedicated of what you do and you will make it. I love helping everyone out. I have a women’s dinner nominating women in the entertainment world. Giving them write-ups, etc. I love supporting other women. But not other women are like that.
Anything else you like to add as a word of encouragement?
You can do anything you put your mind to. Keep on going pushing forward. People give up so quick. They were right there at the edge and something just stop them from winning. Keep the focus and know what the goal is. When you hit that dark phase, always go back and sit down and go over why you are doing this. Then you will keep on pushing.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I really appreciate it.
Follow Marie Driven via Instagram @MarieDriven @PlaybookMG