Publicist, mentor, entrepreneur and founder of Millennium Communication, Cassandra Hili (who was a finalist in the ‘Top 50 CEO 19’ in Small Business Australia’) has been making waves in the media landscape over the last few years. We sat down with Cass and chatted about her vision, her favourite campaigns she’s worked on, and some of the biggest challenges of owning a business:
Q: When did you realise you loved public relations and media? And how did Millennium Communications come about?
Millennium came about out of an opportunity. I was currently half-way through my degree, working full-time in a sales job and brand consulting on the side for a few local agencies (I was an ‘influencer’ at the time and this is where I got most of my experience) and reconnected with a friend after a breakup. She was doing my makeup and telling me about her new business and I gave her some advice on how she can leverage social media and influencers to grow the brand and establish a strong brand presence in the Australian market. We got to talking and she asked me what I wanted to do with my life; at the time I was saying for roughly six months that I wanted to start a PR and social media marketing agency after I finished uni, but at the moment i was content with everything.
She then went on to ask me why I didn't start now and I honestly just thought how can i when I’ve not even finished my degree?. She then offered me an opportunity to start my business earlier than anticipated – she asked me to go home, write up a proposal, come back the next day and present it. Me being me, I fully went in and wrote the proposal, registered the business name, set up a website, did a logo, got business cards and kicked-started what is Millennium today. I then reconnected with friends who owned businesses in my local area and those I had met working in other agencies; and because they all knew me, trusted me and understood what made me different to everyone else, they all came on board as clients.
What made me realise I loved PR and the media industry was back when I was an influencer. I realised that it was an incredible platform for brands and people to share their stories to the world, build a relationship with consumers and use it to build loyalty. For me, they are all elements that I love working with. And for those who know me, loyalty and building relationships with people is important for me in both my personal and professional life. It resonates with me on both levels. Plus; it's so much fun. No day is ever the same and that's what I live for.
Q: What is the main purpose and vision for the business?
The main driver for Millennium Communications is to bring back authenticity to the industry and support brands to build long-lasting relationships with consumers through strategic public relation approaches. We don't like creating fads; and our aim is to create talkability for our clients for the long-term, not short-term. For this year, our main goal is to bounce back stronger after we were hit during Covid – and this is happening at an exciting, rapid pace. We have also shifted our priority to have a higher focus on building the personal brands of entrepreneurs, so they can make themselves known within their industries.
Q: Who or what brands are a part of your client portfolio?
Currently we are working with some incredible brands and people such as Emille Mendoza, founder of Boracay Skin; Jessica Williamson, an award-winning business coach; Cryo Science Australia; Fancee Car; Simple Food Safety App; Cucinetta; and Cat Tyler, owner of Silk Skin Canberra. We have more coming on board in April, so watch this space!
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges of having your own business?
We went from being completely dead to growing fast again after Covid, so at this current time it's working out staffing issues and ensuring that our clients' expectations are being met as we grow. Millennium thrives off our high communication with our clients – that's what we're known for (along with delivery of results) so I would never want to lose that in the process of growth.
Q: What is something you've learned about the industry during Covid–19?
You have to pivot fast and not cap yourself in one sector. However, the main thing for me was that things can change incredibly fast, so it's about how fast you can adapt. That's what keeps you successful.
Q: What are some of your personal favourite campaigns, projects or events you've worked on?
I loved working on the TJ Swim campaign. It was my first large client that I had worked with and it really solidified Millennium within the PR industry. Whilst it was fun to work within the brand, what I really loved was working with Tara to build her personal brand. That’s when I realised that I loved helping and building the brands of entrepreneurs.
If Millennium Communications was a ____ it would be a _____:
A flower: A lotus, because even if your business is at the lowest point, we know how to make it attractive again.
A TV show: Friends, because we'll always be there for you.
An iconic woman: Beyonce, because our clients are strong women.
A colour: Red, because we are passionate about what we do.
A dessert: A lemon meringue pie, because we are sweet but full of zest.
A song: I was here by Beyonce, because we help our clients leave a mark in this world.
A cocktail: A spicy margarita, because we are strong with a hint of spice.