Jaci Russo, P.C.M. is a Brand Strategist with more than 25 years of experience on a national level in a cross-section of industries. Her experience includes strategic planning, brand management, national product launches, and media management for local, regional, and national clients.
Jaci began her career at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Los Angeles, California. There, she worked as a Junior Talent Agent for clients such as Helen Hunt, David Letterman, Blair Underwood, Bonnie Hunt, Janine Turner, Mimi Rogers, Jennifer Grey, and Gwyneth Paltrow – developing projects, negotiating contracts, and creating opportunities. Before returning to her hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, Jaci took on the role of Executive Assistant to Chairman and CEO, Barry Diller. As Diller’s right hand, she coordinated the strategic planning, mergers/acquisitions, and business development of six different Diller-owned companies including Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster, USA Network, Lycos, CitySearch, and Savoy Pictures.
In 2001, Jaci co-founded brandRUSSO, a strategic branding agency in Downtown Lafayette. Only 30 years-old at the time, she was an industry professional to watch.
To fulfill RUSSO’s mission in helping small businesses to build their brand, Jaci launched an online school, Brand State U, in 2021. The school offers four membership levels based on the variety of needs, goals, and budget. This platform provides B2B marketers with real advice and tools from advertising agency professionals that they can implement themselves to make their branding efforts more effective.
Jaci is the co-author of He Said, She Said: Branding alongside her husband and business partner, Michael Russo. Published by Forbes Advantage Media, the book shares what the husband-and-wife duo has learned over their combined decades of working with branding and each other.
Jaci has also published numerous eBooks on branding and is the primary contributor to RUSSO’s Razor Branding blog and podcast. Jaci hosts a weekly regional radio show, Brand Buzz, that has been on the air since 2008 where she reviews the latest trends and strategies in branding, marketing, and advertising. In addition, Jaci is a sought-after speaker and has served as a featured writer for Ad Age’s Small Agency Diary and Talent Zoo.
Jaci has used her expertise to pioneer nonprofit and healthcare organizations’ branding strategies to produce a higher return on investment. She presented at both the Urgent Care Association of America Conference as well as the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference, in addition to giving a number of lectures and seminars on the subject.
Jaci has served on several community boards including Downtown Lafayette Unlimited, the705, Public Relations Association of Louisiana (Acadiana Chapter), Acadiana Ad Fed, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, and Our Lady of Fatima School.
She has dedicated much of her career to continuing her own education and serving as a resource for others. Jaci completed the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) CEO Roundtable Program, LIA’s Leadership Lafayette program, Acadiana CEO Roundtable, Council for a Better Louisiana’s regional program, and Leadership Louisiana. She is also a 2020 graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program.
In 2020, Jaci was selected as a mentor for the Inaugural American Academy of Entrepreneurs Program and Lafayette’s Opportunity Machines Mentor Program. She is also recognized as a 2021 Louisiana Growth Leader by Louisiana Economic Development.
As a female majority owner of brandRUSSO, Jaci is a member of the New Orleans Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization. In 2020, brandRUSSO also became recognized as a Certified Woman Owned Business by the Women’s Business Enterprise Council. She has also given multiple speeches and seminars dedicated to women’s advancement in the workplace.
Jaci and the agency give back to the community through their efforts with local nonprofit organizations including Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation (RCAF), Christian Youth Theater, Lafayette Little League, United Way, Boys & Girls Club, Louisiana HonorAir, Miles Perret Cancer Services, Junior League, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Teurlings Catholic High School, and Healing House.
Jaci is an alumna of the University of Louisiana and a Professional Certified Marketer (P.C.M.) through the American Marketing Association.