Having supervised accounts at two major public relations firms, I learned long ago I needed to work with vendors who understood my business and that my primary goal was to grow the accounts I managed.

That sounds simple, but I found it wasn’t. Most vendors I worked with were solely focused on what interested them: making a sale. Very few cared about what interested me: winning trust so my client would spend more money with my agency. If the vendor made me look good, chances are the client would be more confident in the services we offered. Conversely, the wrong vendor could inflict damage to my credibility.

Shortly after I launched KEF Media in 1986, I was assigned a big corporate video production from a major accounting firm in Chicago. The potential for growing this client’s business was enormous.

After all of the pain staking pre-production, script writing, and multi-camera shooting, the video came down to editing, a project in which I entrusted a friend whom I believed understood the stakes.

On deadline, we edited throughout the night, my client from the accounting firm seated next to me. After many hours, I had what I thought was a completed production. Then I discovered my “friend” made an amateur’s mistake, screwing up the audio throughout the 20-minute production. This was in the days of linear editing, where fixing the video meant starting from scratch. I was exhausted and embarrassed.

The accounting firm client and I went outside for some air. He turned to me and said, “Kevin, that guy made you look really bad.”


My “friend,” by the way, proved to be my worst nightmare when, after giving him a second and even a third chance, he continued to make silly mistakes that hurt my business.

Most vendors concentrate on making a sale. Very few cared about what interested me.


Partner with KEF Media for your next media tour or video production project.


From that point forward, I stopped hiring “vendors” and started hiring partners, people who understood they played an important role in making me look good; in helping me grow my business. They knew if they delivered their very best, their businesses would grow, too. Thirty years later we still work with many partners who helped us get where we are today.

This is the KEF Media approach. When we take on a project, we feel like we have the opportunity to become your trusted partner. We understand we can help you build your client relationships. Sometimes that means telling you what you don’t necessarily want to hear in an effort to avoid the trouble we know through experience lurks up ahead. When we do, we always offer alternative ways to achieve success so your client gains confidence in you and your team.


Kevin Foley is among the pioneers in the field of broadcast publicity services. After a successful career in account management with two public relations industry giants, Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum, Foley founded KEF Media 29 years ago in Chicago. Foley earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Connecticut and has been married to Susan (Howard) Foley for 40 years. They have two grown children. The couple lives in Kennesaw, Georgia near Atlanta. An avid golfer, Foley, 61, is a member of Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw. He is also a published author, writes a weekly column for the Marietta Daily Journal, and is frequently quoted in trade journals on industry issues.


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