In a rapidly transforming virtual world, Briar Prestidge is carving the path for success as the founder of one of the world’s first personal branding agencies for executives. Born in New Zealand and now based between New York and Dubai, the CEO of personal branding agency Prestidge Group and designer of luxury suit collection, BRIAR PRESTIDGE – The Label, and is an inspiring business leader who has navigated through her career with a deep-rooted passion to explore new opportunities and surmount challenges fiercely.
A qualified digital marketer and communications professional, and Neuro-linguistics Business Practitioner, Briar works predominately in the technology, government, and investor space, and her international career spans across Dubai, New York, Saudi Arabia, London, and Australia. In 2019. Briar was named Top 100 Most Influential People in the United Arab Emirates, and she has been featured in many publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, and The National.
The Beginning of a Business Leader
Briar grew up in a small town in Canterbury, New Zealand. Her amazing journey began when, after graduating, Briar moved to New York City. When describing it, I couldn’t help but think it sounded like one of those classic, exciting NYC stories: Briar moved with a single suitcase, no plans, not a lot of money, and without knowing anyone, and she got a job as a waitress in Manhattan. Following this, Briar started her career in real estate where she worked for a couple of years, prior to moving to London. It was here that she started digital marketing and building websites on the side, in addition to working in recruitment. She noticed the rise of beauty and fashion bloggers, and she thought, surely CEOs of businesses are going to see the value of building their personal brands on social media? So, she started Prestidge Group, a personal branding, PR, and content production agency working with high-profile CEOs, HNWI, and investors.
What started off as a small “side hustle” business on the dining room table, grew quickly. Today, Prestidge Group has its headquarters in Dubai and New York, and they also operate with partners across London and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and cater to their clients all over the globe.
Briar has always loved corporate fashion and in 2019, she designed a power suit collection for women, made from premium fine wool and cashmere sourced from Europe. BRIAR PRESTIDGE – The Label launched in November 2020 in Dubai and New York, and they have been dressing up women all over the globe. Briar said, “It’s a great feeling to see someone wearing your design, especially when it’s on a news channel, on stage at a conference or even on the red carpet – there is really no feeling quite like it.”
Prestidge Group, an Innovative Approach to CEO Branding
Prestidge Group is a personal branding, public relations, and content production agency working with CEOs, HNWIs, tech experts, thought leaders, and celebrities. As one of the world’s leading personal branding agencies, Prestidge Group manages the brands of a range of thought leaders, from CEOs and HNWI, to rally car drivers, to experts in crypto. Their approach to public relations and personal branding is a 360-degree approach – they pitch their leaders for media coverage and interview segments, awards, and keynote opportunities, then they create content, including podcasts and ghostwriting articles, and manage the leader’s personal social media channels, building a following and creating a community.
When asked about personal branding, Briar said, “People often have a misconception that personal branding is purely creating content on social media, but often the content they post actually “waters down” their brand.
At Prestidge Group, we are big believers in leveraging traditional media coverage and keynotes amongst your content plan – because when someone sees a video of you on LinkedIn speaking at an international conference or reads a thought leadership article in a magazine, it’s PR. This provides 3rd party credibility and positions you above the noise on social media since you’ve been invited to share your opinion.
Building a person’s brand is very different from building a company brand – not only do you have to understand the person’s dynamic way of thinking and how they express their opinion, but you also have to consider the audience that you are trying to reach and how the algorithms work on social media.
I’m so proud of how Prestidge Group has evolved over the years, our talented team, and the innovative work that we deliver for incredibly interesting and high-profile people. No two days are the same.”
Overcoming the Covid-19
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Prestidge Group grew their portfolio and expanded their offices to New York. In our interview, Briar shared, “During lockdowns, people were spending more time on social media than ever before and during the crisis, companies started to understand the power of CEO communications online as a way to build trust and speak to their community. When I started Prestidge Group six years ago, I have to say it was a bit before its time – only the more innovative executives could understand what we were doing, and why they should be creating content on social media.
In the beginning, I had to really educate our prospects on why they would use an integrated PR and digital approach to building their reputation and establishing themselves as experts. But these days, people understand the value and they come to us. Companies are even writing CEO personal branding into their marketing budgets.”
Major Difficulties & Their Solutions
Briar is a big advocate for women in business, and she often speaks to publications and at conferences on this topic. Only 2.8% of funding went to women-led startups in 2019, and in 2020 this dropped to 2.3%, the latest figures on Crunchbase show Only about 12% of decision-makers at VCs are female, and most firms still don’t even have a single female partner. According to Boston Consulting, when women-founded businesses receive funding, they are more likely to be successful and deliver higher revenue, more than twice as much as the dollar invested.
The representation of women on boards continues to increase but still remains low globally at 12% with only 4% chairing boards, according to Deloitte. “Diversity matters,” said Briar, “Many studies show that having women on your board is good for your company’s bottom-line as your board will better mirror your client and customer bases – the voices of the board represent the real world.”
While discussing her daily routine, Briar said, “Leading a healthy lifestyle is really important to me and I thrive most when I have a routine and discipline in my life. I wake up around 6.30am if it’s a gym day, where I do high-intensity interval training. I then get ready, grab a coffee, and get stuck into my morning meetings or work. As I run two companies, my days are quite busy and at times I finish calls quite late, depending on the time zone I’m working from. My role is very strategic as we execute our global expansion plans, so I have a lot of meetings with prospective clients or partnership opportunities all over the globe, and of course work alongside the rest of our team advising on our client communications or chatting to my friends in the media. On the other side of things, for our suit label BRIAR PRESTIDGE, I visit our manufacturers once a week or so. We are currently working on more suits and corporate dresses, so at the moment I’m working closely alongside our brand manager and fashion designer, overseeing the designs and manufacturing of our next collection.
I am a huge advocate for lifelong learning, so my evenings are often spent studying or reading. I am big on the latest tech and digital trends and bettering my leadership skills, and I often have a course on the go.” she further added. “Despite the busy life that I enjoy to lead, I also like to prioritize taking time out for self-care.”
A Piece of Advice for Entrepreneurs
Briar said, “Take the first step. Often, in life, it’s the first step that is the hardest. Have a dream that you want to fulfill? Sit down and make a plan of action as to how you can achieve it – what will you need to learn or execute, who will you need to know, and what kind of person will you need to become to get there?
As said by Bill Gates, “People overestimate what they can achieve in one year, but underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years.” Even if every day you just spend 30 minutes doing something, whether it’s reading, learning, or working on a side hustle, this will have a compounding effect over time. As cliché as it may sound, your life is yours to create, and with some hard work, guts, and persistence, you can do anything. Go after it and get it.”