The digital age is transforming the marketing and public relations world, and Ashley Teplin of Napa is changing right along with it.
Teplin, who recently launched her own marketing and PR business, Media-Ant, is combining traditional PR staples like creating press releases and developing media contacts with technology-based tools like Twitter to help her clients put their best faces forward. Drawing on her own skills and a team of freelance workers, Teplin said she’s generating web design, photos, videos and writing to keep businesses’ websites and social media venues updated and interesting.
Working mostly for local restaurants, wineries and artists, Teplin said the trick lies in putting both traditional PR techniques and social media to work to help businesses get recognized. Even the staunchest technophobes can’t deny the heady influence of the Internet and social media these days, she said.
“It’s a lot bigger than just traditional public relations,” said Teplin, 32. “It’s a different world today and everybody Googles. My grandmother Googles and she’s 87 years old.”
Teplin’s new business venture is a marriage of her education in the arts and a lifelong love of everything culinary.
“I enjoy that dining table, that experience, that sharing you get after you’ve had a great glass of wine or an unforgettable meal,” she said. “Mom was a scratch cook. I remember her making pasta and hanging it up. And not just eating to eat, but really enjoying it.”
In 2003, Teplin, who studied fine arts at UCLA, started a cooking apprenticeship at Grace Restaurant in Los Angeles before graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., in 2006. Teplin also spent time “producing trailers, TV spots and reels for top networks and film production companies like Fox, HBO and Miramax,” according to her website.
Teplin said she owes much of her current professional success to the late local journalist, businesswoman and philanthropist Pamela Hunter. Hunter, a former Napa Valley Register journalist who launched Pamela Hunter Public Relations and Marketing in the late ’70s and, much later, Studio-707, took Teplin under her wing as her PR and marketing apprentice back in 2006.
“She really opened my eyes to the world of food and wine and public relations,” Teplin said. “She was also a very forward-thinking woman. She was just really always ahead of the game.”
Some of Teplin’s current clients include Jackson Family Wines, Artisan Brands, the ToutSuite Social Club, Mutineer Magazine and Mollydooker Winery. Teplin said she also serves on the di Rosa Preserve’s Onward Committee and on the marketing committee for the Napa Valley Vine Trail.
Because her professional commitments have her roaming the Napa Valley, Teplin takes advantage by taking her own local photos and regularly uploading them to her blog. These photos, she said, are not necessarily client-related, and reflect her love of the area. In fact, Teplin’s photography of local chefs will be featured in the Arts Council Napa Valley’s upcoming photography show in November.
Teplin, whose Media-Ant bears the initials of her name (ANT), grew up in Danville. She said she’s looking forward to building her client base in the Napa area.
“It’s really about forming those natural relationships,” she said. “Knowing your audience and telling your story and building that personal connection.”