Young CEO brings social media marketing to the forefront

Kris Ruby, a town resident and business owner, is not your average 25-year-old.

While many people her age are struggling to find work, Ms. Ruby is heading Ruby Media Group, a social media marketing and public relations company serving Westchester and Fairfield counties that won 34 Advertising Club of Westchester awards last month.

Ms. Ruby’s rise to success began in 2009 when she graduated from Boston University with 13 separate social media, advertising and public relations internships under her belt. Recognizing the challenges of a severely weakened economy, she said she took on a “now or never” mentality, created her own media company, and never looked back.

Although Ruby Media Group began as an agency focused on social media strategy, three years later Ms. Ruby said it has evolved into “the digital agency of the future for Westchester and Fairfield counties,” combining public relations and social media in equal parts. While many agencies focus on one vehicle or the other, Ruby Media Group has taken a new approach to communications by integrating the two.

“You can’t just do social media for someone if you’re not creating buzz that feeds the social media,” she said.

When Ms. Ruby began her business in 2009, many people were still apprehensive about using social media as a marketing tool. Now, “Whether you love it or hate it, social media has to be a part of your strategy,” she said. “It’s inherently another touch point for the marketing communications strategy for companies today.”

Social media “humanizes a brand,” providing a behind the scenes perspective of a company and opening up a dialogue from “one way to two way conversations,” she explained.

The results of the Advertising Club of Westchester’s 2012 Big W Gala proved Ms. Ruby is on to something. The annual event honors the most creative, innovative and memorable public relations, marketing and advertising campaigns in the region.

Taking home a grand haul of 34 awards, including the coveted People’s Choice Award, Ruby Media Group swept the gala, surpassing agencies that have been established for over 20 years.

“It was sort of our ‘we’ve arrived’ moment,” Ms. Ruby said.

While Ruby Media Group has four of its own employees, strategic alliances and partnerships have contributed plenty to the agency’s success.

“We fill teams with people that are really the best at what they do,” Ms. Ruby explained.

Fortunately, social media has not been around for long, ruling out age discrimination for the young entrepreneur and her company in most cases because it is a communication technique she grew up using.

“Experience is ageless,” Ms. Ruby said. “If the work is good then the work is good” and the ability to produce results is what counts.

Nevertheless, Ms. Ruby said she does not lead the life of a regular 25-year-old. With weekends and evenings chock full of work events, “I have no life,” she admits. “I always make my career my priority.” In fact, while posing for a picture after the gala, holding all of her awards, “I said, ‘These are my boyfriends,’” she recalled with a laugh.

But Ms. Ruby quickly adds that she feels her dedication to her work is “absolutely worth it.”

“It’s about the clients that give us the opportunity to create such amazing creative work for them. I think that’s what keeps me going.”

Although she plans to take Ruby Media Group national, opening offices in Los Angeles, Palm Beach and New York City over the next five years, starting local was crucial to Ms. Ruby’s success.

Greenwich is “a great place to have a business,” Ms. Ruby said. There is “a great quality of life in Greenwich” and the chance to begin a company by working with small to mid-size businesses. “Especially as a young person, you have a lot of opportunities for business expansion … that you don’t necessarily have if you just jump straight into New York City.”

Sharing her tale of success is one of Ms. Ruby’s primary goals, considering the number of people graduating in today’s economy who feel hopeless about finding a career. An important part of founding one’s own company is giving back, Ms Ruby said. Encouraging entrepreneurship and inspiring young people to create their own path will always be part of her mission and she uses herself as an example to others.

“There is hope out there,” she said. “If you’re focused, look where you could be three years from now.”

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