Burch Partners Sees Growth, Shares Storytelling Advice

By Jane Whitttington on November 13th, 2015 / Comments

Public relations is as simple as communicating messages between an organization and its audience, but all that entails isn’t quite so simply expressed. Relationship building has many facets; bringing together the optimal strategies for creating and relaying information from a business or non-profit to its intended audience can be tricky.

Brian Burch, founder of Burch Partners, has been creating, managing and delivering effective public relations strategies for a variety of clients for some 15 years, and the growth of Burch Partners attests to his success.

Born and raised in Rockford, MI, Burch went on to Western Michigan University and received a degree in advertising and public relations. After working for several large PR firms in Chicago, he returned to West Michigan and was hired to manage the public relations function of Meijer Gardens. While there, he worked on a Henry Moore exhibition, an Andy Goldsworthy exhibit in conjunction with the construction of The Arch at the Gardens, and others.

In 2011, he was hired by ArtPrize and worked for them full-time for two years. He was encouraged to strike out on his own, which he did, keeping ArtPrize as a client and adding more over time. Today, he has some 20 clients and has added two employees with another scheduled to come onboard in January. Specifically interested in working with start-ups, the young staff has over 40 years of collective experience which serves them well both with new and emerging businesses as well as those more established organizations that are looking for new ideas.

One of their first accounts was Start Garden in Grand Rapids, an organization designed to fund and develop new and innovative start-ups, and they continue working with them as many of the initial projects continue to grow. Other notable clients include Grand Rapids City Market, Failure Lab, an event-based sharing venue, and SEEQR, a security screening system business based in GR.

According to Burch, “We have offices in Holland and Grand Rapids in shared spaces, and we have also begun working on some projects in Detroit.”

Burch says that one of their Detroit projects is Slow’s BBQ, which has recently opened a branch in the GR City Market in addition to their original restaurant in Detroit.

“We’ve found that new clients are coming to us mostly through word of mouth. Our reputation is strong, and we often receive calls from potential customers who have heard about us from our current clients,” he said. “This is the best kind of marketing!”

Besides his business interests, Burch is active in his community. He lives in Holland and has served on the Holland City Commission for six years.

Three Tips for Telling Your Story

Burch has three general tips for small businesses to consider as they manage public relations. He says, “First of all, it’s important to understand your story. Why are you here? What are you doing? What is significant about your business and what do you want your potential customers to understand and appreciate? You need to communicate with your potential customers and let them know why you can do the job.”

Second, experiment. Refine your ideas, and craft your message for different audiences. Consider different designs and different strategies. Be willing to evolve.

Last, use social media! There are so many different venues for your message to reach audiences. Use all the channels available to you and be ready to shift focus as the media landscape changes. And, needless to say, make sure your messages are well-researched, well-written and accessible to general audiences as well as to your specific market.”

For more information about Burch Partners, visit their website at www.burchpartners.com

About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.