Prior to working in the PR industry, Ashley received her bachelor's degree in psychology, her master's in film production, and certifications as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Asset Protection Specialist, and Forensic Accountant. She then pursued a career making "award-winning art films," which is where she feels she learned the art of publicity.
"I have always approached PR from a guerrilla standpoint, veering toward inexpensive but high-impact strategies rather than traditional models," Ashley said.
Many of Wow! Is Me's clients are "young startups" who do not mind working with Ashley's unique model of PR.
"Originality is what counts, so it's way more than writing news releases and calling producers," said Ashley. "I personally take a holistic approach to my clients' business. I look at how they are presenting themselves from every angle and make sure it reflects how wonderful they really are. If there is something that isn't up to snuff, we fix it."
One of the things Ashley prides herself on is the fact that her agency has a full-service motion picture/television production studio. The studio is intended for clients who have great ideas but have no experience in television.
"We media train them and then produce a show for their media site," Ashley said. "Who wants to book a guest if they can't get them on a show? How are they as a guest? Do they make the host look great? I want my clients to be such great guests they are asked to be back on live TV."
Ashley does not consider herself a CEO or president, but "Chief Idea Bunny." Her job entails taking her clients' materials and helping to brand them as experts in their respective industries.
"I help them redesign their website, implement online and offline marketing strategies to build their list, and [implement] ways to make their website turn more of their visitors into customers. So many brick-and-mortar businesses forget that a great online presence can enhance their bottom line. Most people shop online first, even if they buy in person. So if your site looks tired, they'll move on to another site that will answer the questions and give them the feeling that they can solve their problems," Ashley said.
So, if Ashley's tactic is teaching her clients how to do her job, how does she stay in business? She said that while she could respond to query after query for her clients, she instead coaches them on how to be self-sufficient.
"Really, you'd think I was coaching my way out of a job, but my clients then shoulder much more [of] the work, are happier with the results because they feel like they contributed to them, and I am constantly teaching them new innovations, so they never leave. It's a win-win," Ashley said.
Her tactic is one that she sees the PR industry employing in the future. She said that she sees PR heading toward becoming more and more open, with clients being more involved in their campaigns and shouldering more of the work. While the upfront fee may be higher, clients are happier because they are trained, media ready, and self-sufficient.
"With the current plethora of websites geared toward publicity—and, specifically, getting your own free publicity—it won't be long before every Tom, Dick, and Harry are pitching the big shows," Ashley said. "What remains to be seen is if the training gets so good that they get booked on the big shows."