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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

DeAnna Spoerl: Winner of the 2024 Great Companies International Women Entrepreneur Award

Name: DeAnna Spoerl

Business Name: Bear Icebox Communications

Location: Chicago, IL , USA

Establishment (Year): 2016

Category: Advertising & Marketing

Profession/ Specialty: Public relations agency

Social Media : LinkedIn

Company Detail:

Bear Icebox is not just an agency; it's a guide for brands navigating the exciting landscapes of hyper-growth, acquisition, early-phase investments, major fundraising rounds, and successful sales and marketing/communications initiatives. Their team, affectionately known as the honey-grabbing Bears, specializes in not only assisting multi-billion dollar enterprises but also guiding mid-size companies and legacy brands toward building awareness that fuels lead generation and revenue growth.


At its core, the company believes in equity and celebrates diversity. As an interracial partnership, Bear Icebox proudly embodies majority Black female ownership, with a team predominantly composed of talented women supporting LGBTQ+ team members. Their journey is fueled by a love for travel, storytelling, and a commitment to creating an inclusive and vibrant community within Bear Icebox.


Unique Selling Proposition or Competitive Advantage:

Bear Icebox specializes in helping brands, organizations, and people position themselves for growth and success. The company's team of experienced professionals works with clients to develop integrated campaigns that drive everything from lead generation to community impact to revenue growth. Each client is a partner, and they customize their approach and framework every time an organization entrusts them with their brand.


Bear Icebox works with clients at the beginning of campaigns—during brand and product launches—all the way through acquisitions and mergers. They understand how to communicate and engage with target audiences during the full lifecycle of a brand.


The agency offers a range of services, including foundational communications support, branding and messaging strategy, and full-service public relations support. They excel in the owned, earned, and shared spaces in marketing, helping organizations craft their respective brand strategy and develop brand materials for executing that vision. They also have strategic alliances with partners who specialize in digital marketing services like paid advertising.


Challenges Faced During the Journey:

One of the biggest challenges Bear Icebox faces as a PR agency is combatting doubts about the need for PR, especially among smaller businesses with tighter budget constraints. There's always a conversation around ROI and how to effectively measure it from an overall marketing and sales perspective. The truth is, nothing in PR is guaranteed, and it's not ethical to make sure promises. This can be difficult for some brands to understand as they want results that will lead directly to sales, more engagement, leads, etc.


At Bear Icebox, they developed a 9-point ROI framework which discusses the ways brands can understand what PR is truly doing from all points of an integrated campaign. They've found this tool to be extremely useful with talking points as well as a grounding tool to redirect the focus of what they do.


Advice for Women Entrepreneurs:

Women entrepreneurs must do two things:


1) Be willing to learn at all times. No one has all the answers—and if they tell you they do, they're lying! It's okay to not know everything. It's even more okay to be a continual learner.

2) Be flexible so you don't break. This means a lot of different things for different people. But for DeAnna Spoerl, it means allowing change, new ideas, other options, and so on to simply happen. Not everything is going to go your way. Even if you plan down to every detail, you've got to be able to pivot when necessary. That's something that rings true in PR too. They express to their clients as well that one has to be ready and willing to pivot and maintain some flexibility—be it your schedule, your ideas, your budget—whatever it might be, in order to keep your cool and stay ahead of what comes next. Doing these two things can make restless nights a lot smoother.



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