Air Date: 8/16/2022   Updated: 3/19/2024

How can you combine PR and personal branding techniques to make your business successful? In this episode, Amber Lambke, co-founder and CEO of Maine Grains, shares her business success story. Amber explains how the topic of grains was missing from conversations, how she helped start Maine Grains, and how she uses speaking engagements to start conversations and inspire others within the industry. In addition, learn who the famous Maine Grains customer is, and how Amber has been on her baking show! 

00:00 Introduction to the PR Maven® Podcast 

01:26 Introducing Guest: Amber Lambke 

03:02 Why Maine Grains Was Started and the Growth of the Company 

06:22 How PR and personal branding techniques helped build the brand 

11:59 Training employees to represent your brand and company 

13:19 How the Kneading Conference inspires others 

20:49 Maine Grains’ 10th anniversary  

28:39 Amber’s Appearance on Martha Stewart’s baking show 

30:13 Advice to entrepreneurs on using PR and personal branding  

33:42 Helpful Resources  


Related Episodes  

Episode 219: Growing Your Passion Into a Brand, With Cherie Scott, Founder and Owner of Mumbai to MAINE 

Episode 201: How To Change Your Leadership Style for the Better, With Kevin Hancock, Chairman and CEO of Hancock Lumber 

Episode 68: What It Is Like To Be An Entrepreneur In Maine, with Julene Gervais, Producer and Host of Greenlight Maine 


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About Amber    

Amber Lambke is co-founder and CEO of Maine Grains, Inc., a gristmill housed in a repurposed jailhouse, which has spurred the revival of grain production in Maine. A driving force behind Maine’s sustainable foods movement, she has been a leader in bringing economic vitality back to Skowhegan, Maine, by reviving the region’s grain growing and processing industry. She was also the founding director of the Maine Grain Alliance, a nonprofit geared toward preserving regional grain traditions from earth to table. 


Bonus Q&A 

1. Amber, Maine Grains has continued to grow and flourish through the pandemic and beyond. How are you managing the growth to ensure quality and consistency of the brand?

We use a SWOT analysis process to continuously assess where our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are.  The goal of course is to use our strengths to create opportunities and reduce threats, while mindfully addressing weaknesses.  We know that our strong brand creates new opportunities for sales channel development in the face of increasing competition in the freshly milled flour category.  We will continue to grow and flourish by creating value-added products and baking mixes that make baking at home and eating delicious and healthy, while grains become even more convenient and accessible.  We are also focused on developing and retaining talented staff and consultants who work with us to be able to implement our growth goals and remain consistent and current with our brand look, feel, and messaging. 


2. How are you staying focused on Maine Grains while also helping the Skowhegan area grow its economy and offer more opportunities to residents and visitors?

Collaboration is critically important both for growing Maine Grains, and helping the surrounding Skowhegan community grow. Collaboration increases the audience for our business while helping to achieve mutually beneficial goals. I have to be careful about over-committing my time, but try to participate on committees, boards, and gatherings where I can learn new connections, stories of impact, or lend my experience and expertise.  The cross-pollination of ideas is critical to maintaining a ‘big picture’ perspective and seeing the impact of our collective hard work on the economy and vibrancy of Skowhegan.


3. How has public relations helped Maine Grains become more well-known statewide, nationally and even internationally?

Public relations in business is really the art of good communication.  I believe that good, clear communication that moves people is at the root of successful businesses, change-making, and movements around the world. For those of us in business, good communication in PR is critical. I’m often asked to speak at conferences and on panels to help inspire people.  We can all do great things in the world if we are inspired and understand why our participation matters.