Alison Brod is an impressive figure – but then, one needs to be in order to succeed in the world of PR. The native New Yorker owns and operates her own PR firm, which serves such high-profile clients as L’Oréal, Burger King, and Old Navy. Her 11,000 square foot office, situated in the same building as BlackBerry’s Manhattan HQ, houses a tiny hair salon, a candy store, and floor-to-ceiling makeup and beauty products.
Like everything else in Alison’s life, it’s a reflection of herself.
“I have a lot of interests,” Alison explains. “That’s why our client mix is everything from real estate like the South Street Seaport to food brands like Sugarfina.”
When she’s not at the office or moving from meeting to meeting, Alison’s hitting concerts and cocktail parties, exploring the night life of New York. She also loves to travel – she can frequently be found down in New Orleans attending late-night warehouse concerts, and every year she tries to visit at least one destination she hasn’t been to before.
This summer, she says, she’s going to Sicily.
Whether she’s networking at a party, exploring a new tourist spot, or even just relaxing at home, she’s never far from her BlackBerry. It’s been a constant fixture in her professional life, and that’s not something she sees changing any time soon.
Nick: What does an average day of work look like for you?
Alison: I’m constantly presenting or sitting in meetings – I usually have about seven to eight appointments a day. I also help produce about a hundred events a year at my offices. But even if I’m in a meeting or at a party, I need to be able to respond to my clients very quickly. I’ve gotten very adept at using my BlackBerry without ever looking at the keyboard, and I love how easy that is to do on the Classic.
Nick: How does the Classic help you in the workplace?
Alison: It offers me exactly what I’ve come to expect of BlackBerry. First, I love the speed at which email comes in, and the Internet use is nothing short of incredible. I’m always doing multiple things at once, so it’s a really valuable tool to have, from a professional context.
The keyboard’s great too, for a few reasons.
First, it makes it easy to use when I’m doing something else – I can type on it underneath a table without having to look at the screen, and nobody knows I’m typing. I can have a conversation with somebody at a party and answer a client email at the same time without batting an eye. That isn’t something you can really do with touchscreens.
I’m also a zero inbox person. I believe in responding to an email immediately after I receive it, even if only to say I’ll reply to it later. If you don’t make a habit of doing it, I’ve found it’s really easy for things to get lost, especially when you receive hundreds of emails a day.
Thanks to the quality of BlackBerry’s keyboard, zero inbox is very easy for me to maintain. The Hub helps too. The fact that it keeps email and text in the same place is pretty useful.
Another thing I think people don’t realize about BlackBerry is that the sound quality of its speakers is actually superior to other phones. I find that to be extremely helpful, especially when I use my phone in the middle of an event or party (which happens often). It’s also really great for music – my firm works with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so that’s another plus.
Nick: How long have you been with BlackBerry?
Alison: Since the beginning. I’ve owned every single phone since the original BlackBerry. I actually have a graveyard somewhere, a drawer filled with phones I kept when I upgraded.
I was one of the first people in New York to actually own one, before many people even had personal computers. It sort of made me into a rock star. I’d be at the beach on a Saturday responding to emails, and people would just be incredibly impressed that I was working through the weekend without sitting at my desk.
Nick: How do people feel about your choice of smartphone?
Alison: Back when I first started using it, it conveyed an air of professionalism to all my clients. Today, a lot of people are amused to see my phone – to which I respond that BlackBerry’s the brand of choice for most of the top-grossing CEOs and executives in the world, not just for their speed, but for their security. Eventually, everyone admits they really miss the keyboard.
Nick: Is there anything else you want to add?
Alison: Just one thing: I’m 100% BlackBerry. I always have been, and I always will be. I consider myself one of BlackBerry’s biggest fans – if not the biggest.