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Dear BAMf Podcast: Episode 31 with Paul Bernardini

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Dear BAMf // Episode 31: Paul Bernardini of Kabbage explains how they became the second-largest lender in the nation.

In the Season two premiere episode of the Dear BAMf podcast, we speak with Paul Bernardini, Head of Portfolio Platform at Kabbage. Paul has been a tech-PR pro for 9+ years with broad experience across consumer tech, digital marketing, and digital media. He's responsible for all corporate communications for Kabbage, which helps small businesses thrive. In this episode, Paul answers some tough marketing and PR questions from our listeners, including this one about a leaked embargo:

Dear BAMf,

My team has been working on a brand revamp for one of our clients who saw a whole lot of negative press right around the same time COVID-19 hit. We just went out with our first announcement and have yet to see any backlash. That said, we received an inbound media opportunity from a reporter who often writes negative stories. We offered to provide responses to her questions, which were about my client's AI technologies via email, so we can control the message. When she sent over the questions we realized she was trying to dig up dirt. Could we decline the interview altogether? Or should we provide high level responses to the questions we feel comfortable answering. What's the best move to help ensure this isn't a terrible piece that we're partaking in.

Listen now to hear how Paul advises this writer to move forward.

Dear BAMf: Episode 31

Episode 31 highlights:

  • (04:30) What are you most proud of? 
    "Within four months, we [Kabbage] put out nearly 300,000 loans to small businesses, roughly around $7 billion. We estimate that helped preserve 945,000 jobs in the economy. We became the second largest lender in the nation." - Paul
  • (05:16) What is your favorite way to tell a story?
    "I've always been fascinated with a data backstory. I'm sure many people say that, but I mean it. If you can tell a strong story and back that up with hard data directly from the small businesses, and the customers that you're working with, it's always going to be more powerful." - Paul
  • (08:22) Should I engage with a journalist who is trying to dig for dirt?
    Paul suggests that participation is the best practice. Disengaging can allow media to assume you are hiding something and make them dig even MORE. Be transparent, honest, and don't over explain, "We always participated. They might've sent over 20 questions and I answered seven of them. It's also your job to protect the company and do what's do what's right," Paul says. Know and practice what you are going to say and lean on the values in your corporate messaging. These key factors, along with staying on the side of legality, is the safest choice while moving forward.

What is Dear BAMf?

We are all BAMfs (badass motherf*ckers) according to us, but sometimes even BAMfs need help. Dear BAMf is an advice column-style podcast that lets you anonymously hit us with your hardest marketing and PR questions hosted by Founder & CEO of BAM Communications, Beck Bamberger.

Have a difficult PR or marketing situation you can't figure out? Drop us a line at Dear BAMf. Your submission will be entirely anonymous. 

 

Catch our next episode on Monday, February 1 and subscribe to Dear BAMf on SpotifyYouTube, and Apple Podcasts.

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