BY CAROLINE ABKAR | Red Tree Realty | 11/02/2017
Denise Scatena is a San Diego native who grew up in Clairemont and who spends quite a bit of time in or around Bay Park for work, and at her twin girls’ school also in Bay Park. She is the co-founding partner at award-winning PR firm Scatena Daniels, who believes in true partnerships , collaboration and relationships with clients and influencers. Their list of happy clients is long and Scatena Daniels just won two first place journalism awards from San Diego Press Club! When you work with Scatena Daniels, you get customized strategy paired with more than 50 years of combined experience. Their goal is to give clients an opportunity to distinguish themselves from the noise and competition while making a big impact in their industries and the media. Read on to find out more about Denise and what her PR team could do for you!
Caroline Abkar: Denise, can you tell us a bit about your background, and what led you to PR and co-founding Scatena Daniels?
Denise Scatena: I am a native San Diegan. I grew up in Clairemont, and I remember when Highway 52 opened and as part of a media stunt we were able to ride our bikes across a certain stretch of the newly paved freeway before it was open to cars.
When I was in high school, I worked at the San Diego Zoo in food service. It is a perfect first job for a teenager. The zoo was much smaller then, and I worked in the popcorn cart at the front entrance. These golf carts would drive by, with celebrities and VIPs who were on private tours of the World Famous San Diego Zoo. I asked my supervisor what department provided the tours of the zoo to the celebrities. He told me it was the public relations department, and I thought wow — that would be cool to work with celebrities and show them around.
Well, the world of PR is not all about celebrities and VIPs, although you do get to coordinate a lot of cool events (like riding on Highway 52) and build out campaigns to help further a cause or a point of view. In PR there is a lot of writing, ideation, strategy, and cultivating media and influencer relationships to authentically promote an idea. While celebrities can attract attention in a campaign, it’s not always the best strategy — that really comes down to the human interest angle. Sharing the stories of everyday people who will benefit or have had their lives already changed by your program, product, or service can really build credibility and trust with the people in your target audiences.
I co-founded Scatena Daniels with my business partner in 2009, at the height of the recession. I had been working in PR in San Diego for over a decade at that point in various industries, and decided that having my own business would provide me a bit more flexibility to start a family as well as to choose who I wanted to work with. It was a big risk, but I am glad I took the chance!
Caroline Abkar: Can you expand a little bit on the services you provide?
Denise Scatena: Scatena Daniels is a communications firm that provides strategic counsel to businesses and nonprofit organizations here in San Diego and beyond. We can get eyes on your brand through media outreach, social media promotion, and other types of advertising. However people consume information, we can get in their attention. We tend to work in the areas of health care, real estate, arts and culture, and philanthropy. Our expertise and professional PR service gives clients an opportunity to distinguish themselves from the noise and competition while making a big impact in their industries and the media.
Caroline Abkar: What is unique about your offerings/approach?
Denise Scatena: Our clients have access to a team with more than five decades of experience, who works alongside to ensure the strategy is in line with your vision and goals.
We think like journalists to ensure what we promote is actually newsworthy. We have relationships with both English language and Spanish language media and influencers that have been carefully cultivated over many years.
Because we live in a border region, we have many more residents that need to hear what our clients have to say, and is an important distinction to maximize the awareness of our clients with various audiences, specifically those who prefer to consume their news and information in Spanish.
Caroline Abkar: What are some of your proudest accomplishments/projects?
Denise Scatena: I think one of my favorite media events was facilitating a meet and greet between Make-A-Wish kids and the cast of Disney on Ice. The kids got to be princesses for a day, getting dressed up at a local salon, and then coming down to the Sports Arena for a private tea party and performance. The kids got to go out on the ice with the princes and princesses and had a chance to forget the health challenges they face everyday — even if it was just for a few hours.
Most recently, our team led the media outreach efforts to celebrate the opening of Atmosphere, a community of 205 affordable homes in the heart of downtown San Diego. The $79.3 million high-rise is an example of the “Housing First” model that is proven to stabilize lives by giving people a permanent place to live and access to supportive services. Through our efforts, we were able to coordinate media interviews to share the news of how the community will assist those who are at-risk for homelessness, and how this can be accomplished in our area. San Diegans were introduced to a sweet couple whose life was changed when they got the news they were accepted to move into the development.
And then there was that time that a certain famous water-skiing squirrel escaped during a live TV morning news segment to promote a boat show, and I had to chase it around the convention center to get it back to its owner.
Caroline Abkar: What kind of culture do you promote?
Denise Scatena: We encourage ongoing professional development and involvement in local journalism and communication organizations. Our team members have an intrinsic drive to ensure high quality standards are met with each and every client interaction and media pitch. We work hard, but we can also play hard as well, and we offer a flexible schedule to make sure we have time for our families and loved ones.
Caroline Abkar: Do you give back to the community? If yes, how?
Denise Scatena: Some of our clientele are in the philanthropy space. We work with some of the largest nonprofit brands in Southern California. As part of our give-back program we create a strategic partnership to help them leverage their financial resources to get the best service possible. We have sponsored a number of events and organizations, such as Susan G. Women San Diego Race for the Cure, GI Film Festival San Diego, Braille Institute of America, and the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.
I personally support the Pug Rescue of San Diego County, helping the organization by raising awareness for these adorable little ones who have been neglected and abused so they can find a forever, safe home. I am also a member of the San Diego Press Club and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists San Diego chapter, as I am an advocate for media literacy and the development of media professionals and careers.
Caroline Abkar: I have seen you hanging out in Bay Park quite a bit and your children go to school here. What do you like about Bay Park? What do you think makes it special?
Denise Scatena: We absolutely love the Bay Park neighborhood. When we walked onto the campus of Bay Park Elementary School, we knew it was “home,” and our children would thrive here. It was one of the best decisions we’ve made. The location is centrally located to my office in Old Town and consists of small businesses that I am proud to support. Our family also spends a lot of time (and energy!) at the YMCA on Friars Road. And who doesn’t love a good old fashioned 4th of July street party or a dip in the pool at the tennis club?!
We are so glad to have friends who live in the area, which many people do not realize is one of the oldest neighborhoods in our city. So there is a lot of character and down to earth families who live in Bay Park, and that is why we love the community!
About the owner: Denise Scatena is the proud co-founder of Scatena Daniels located at 2165 San Diego Avenue, Suite 201, San Diego, CA 92110. You can follow Scatena Daniels’ Facebook page and check out their website at http://www.scatenadaniels.com/.
About the author: Caroline Abkar is a Real Estate professional who is absolutely passionate about helping her clients with one of the most important decisions of their lives. She loves to be an advocate for those who place their trust in her and will go above and beyond to serve anyone needing her real estate services. She also loves bringing the community together any way she can. You can contact her anytime at 619-808-4804 or firstname.lastname@example.org.