How Total Exposure Evolves with the Times to Remain Competitive

How Total Exposure Evolves with the Times to Remain Competitive


Vital stats

  • Company: Total Exposure
  • Players: Jeremy Briar
  • Est: 1995
  • Contact: +27 (0)11 788 8725
  • Visit:

There are many small PR firms in South Africa. With low barriers to entry, it’s an industry very permeable to new entrants, and one in which companies come and go.

What makes Total Exposure stand out from the rest is its almost two decade history as one of the top lifestyle publicity consultancies in the country.

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When founder and CEO Jeremy Briar launched the business, it serviced the entertainment industry. With much of the consultancy’s work based on referrals, Total Exposure built up a significant reputation and client base, growing at an average of 10% every year. But once it had saturated its sector, it was time to find new markets.

“It was a matter of redefining where we could go hunting,” says Briar. “Over time, that has grown to include allied sectors such as sports, music, fashion and consumer products.”

Growing its digital offering and broadening areas of specialisation has enabled Briar and his team to complete an acceleration strategy for the next three years which aims to grow the business by 20% per year.

Embracing the digital age

Now, Briar says, savvy public relations firms are taking advantage of social networking websites and other technology-focused trends to gain a footing in the new economic climate.

“The market has changed, and digital is impacting everything we do,” says Briar. “To move with the times, we have incorporated a standalone digital division into the business.”

He adds that the ongoing fragmentation of the media has been both exciting and terrifying for the PR industry.

“Some media platforms have been decimated, and those that remain have a real and valuable role to play. But the way you interact with them has changed. The days of mass media campaigns are over – now everything is about niches and segmentation. Unless you are adept at playing in the digital and social space, you will fall by the wayside.”

Know how you can help the customer

Total Exposure initially built up a large client base because Briar refused to cold call without first doing detailed research on the prospective client’s business.

“We would call them only once we had developed a solution for them so that we could show them where we could make a difference to their business. Do that properly, and you can get a foot in the door much more easily.”

Integrity above all

Reputation has always been at the centre of the business. “As an intermediary, a PR firm has to have unimpeachable credibility,” Briar says.

“We have never wavered on that. To survive and prosper in this industry, you have to be sincere, give the various media people what they are looking for and always be professional, especially when it comes to content. You may not always get everything right, but a reputation for excellence will stand you in good stead when you make a mistake.”

Top Tips

  • Expand into other markets when you reach market saturation
  • When your business is referral-based, reputation and quality offering is key
  • Take advantage of online and media developments to grow your business
  • Go niche in your marketing strategy
  • Cold call prospective clients with a solution for something they need.

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Monique Verduyn
Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.