Q+A: Tyler Perry, Bateman Group
The Bateman Group at 45 Main Street might be best known as a technology PR firm that's always hiring and for its wildly ecstatic greeter— a pug named Hudson. Partner and General Manager Tyler Perry and her pup recently opened up their office to us to share a bit about this DUMBO business.
How did you get started?
Bateman Group was started in 2003 in San Francisco by Fred Bateman, our CEO. He wanted to approach PR from a more content-led perspective rather than focusing solely on media relationships. Fred and I had worked together at a previous agency, so when he started Bateman Group I joined him as his second employee. We worked out of his home for a little while in San Francisco, and then I moved to New York in late 2004 and worked remotely. We were focused on building a client base, and suddenly started getting a lot more business here in NY. We formally opened the New York office in 2007 working from an office share in Park Slope, then moved to DUMBO about four years ago.
[Our company is] really using storytelling and the media as a vehicle for delivering stories that will affect change.
Tyler Perry, Partner and General Manager at Bateman Group
What does your company do?
We work with companies that are using technology to change how we live, work, and play. We'll work with them to either amplify the impact that they're having, grow their business, or change perception if their business is moving in a new direction. It's really using storytelling and the media as a vehicle for delivering stories that will affect change. We have different practice areas. Future of Work helps run a business, grow a business, make more impact— LinkedIn and Google are some well-known clients, but we have other less-known clients doing some amazing work as well in fields such as artificial intelligence and citizen developer tools. We also have a Consumer Practice; L’Oreal USA is a client that everyone thinks of as a makeup brand, but they're actually a science and technology company, and we are helping them tell their stories of innovation, like 3D printing skin or a skin sensor wearable that changes color based on the amount of UV that you've absorbed and alerts you to re-apply sunscreen. Our Trust practice focuses on innovative security companies, and we also have a Media and Marketing tech practice, Fintech and Commerce practice, and our Innovation Lab. For that practice, we work with companies that are creating truly new, disruptive technologies. For example, we just started working with a biotech company, Ginkgo Bioworks, that is designing organisms out of manufactured DNA— it’s replacing technology with biology. They’ve created a new rose oil out of DNA and yeast that is being used to make new fragrances. It’s amazing stuff.
What's your office culture like?
Culture is a big thing to us— we really try to make our culture something where people want to stay for a long time. Humor is a must, dogs are obviously welcome, and a team-first mentality is infused in everything we do. This includes leadership training and a robust professional development program. We are always looking to bring the outside in, so we often have guest speakers come in to meet with our teams; we recently had producers from 60 Minutes and CNN come in to talk about how they develop stories. Our Vibe Squad team creates activities, events, and outings that reinforce our established values system and inject some fun. We all look forward to our quarterly offsite adventures, which most recently took us to a Mets day game. One of the biggest things we've been working on is our E3THOS Program where we give away 2% of our profits, 2% of our time, and 2% of our partner equity to various causes that are meaningful to our team. Through this program we took on a pro bono account with a non-profit that's working to increase representation of Blacks and Latinos in tech called Code2040. We have a formal mentor program for our staff, and through E3THOS started a deeper partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC to extend our commitment to mentorship. For the past three months, we built a curriculum for a group of high school students and met with them every two weeks to help them tell their personal stories for job and college interviews. One of the big questions we tackled was "tell me about yourself"— it's literally the hardest question to answer! We worked with them the same way we work with clients to help them become comfortable answering questions and talking about themselves. It's been amazing to see how energizing this program has been for our team, and how it helps us regain perspective. Using communications and the media to make things happen is a very powerful force, and it is great to apply that to a greater good benefit.
Tell us about Hudson the Office Dog!
Everyone loves him and they take care of him. He's so good for morale, and I think he is another forcing function of work-life balance— he needs to go outside, so many of our meetings are walking ones. He also forces you to pause and engage; he's very aggressive with making people give him attention, taking it as far as leaping into your lap to force the matter. Although a dog brush is a necessity, a dog snuggle moment or watching one of his jazzy fits of energy around the office can do wonders for taking you away from what you are doing. He’s quite a force of unconditional love, which is pretty awesome to have in the workplace. Even when he is being naughty my team is really supportive— they find it endearing— so it makes me appreciate my team even more!
It's kind of surreal working here— the water, the carousel, the sculptures, the constant wedding party photo shoots... not something you find in many office environments in the City.
Tyler Perry, Partner and General Manager at Bateman Group
For people that live in Manhattan and for people who live in Brooklyn, DUMBO is close, and it has that startup-y culture that's ingrained in both our DNA and clients. In San Francisco we have an industrial, creative space; we wanted that same sense of creativity while maintaining a cohesive brand and DUMBO offers that. It's also kind of surreal working here— the water, the carousel, the sculptures, the constant wedding party photo shoots... not something you find in many office environments in the City. I think it's super important to be able to go outside, and DUMBO makes that incredibly easy to do. We considered moving to Manhattan, but everyone wanted to stay here for that reason. DUMBO is almost a forcing function to have work/life balance as it makes it so easy and enjoyable to be outside.
What are your favorite places in DUMBO?
I go to Atrium a lot, and Brooklyn Roasters in the West Elm Market. Honestly the carousel is magic, not that we go and ride it— that would be a little weird— but we'll walk around there; really the whole promenade is wonderful! Gran Electrica also has really good food and drinks. We also have some people who are using the new rock wall under the Manhattan Bridge pretty regularly.