Amanda Bialek is a veteran in PR, with over 10 years of experience with clients in a variety of industries. A few months ago, she was promoted to Vice President at Konnect Agency, where she will work to fortify the agency’s internal growth and provide support for their corporate offices. This expanded role will allow Bialek to continue leading communication strategies across the client sector, while also developing the leadership of Konnect Agency.
This week I sat down with Amanda and discussed the importance of kindness in building relationships in the industry, being hyper aware of marketing trends, and using your individuality as an organization to drive your marketing strategy.
Congratulations on your new role with Konnect! What are you most excited for in your new position?
The new position is a great testament to the value Konnect places on strengthening its teams and encouraging growth from within. I’m so excited to be able to continue to work closely with our colleagues across the agency’s three offices in order to help coach and mentor our teams to reach their own professional goals. I love strategizing ways to help make the day go more smoothly, or the agency become more efficient, so we can continue to reach beyond the norm and produce stellar results for our clients.
What is the most important PR lesson you have learned throughout your career?
Be nice and take ownership. I hate the idea of the bombastic, brash and pushy publicist. It doesn’t cost extra to be nice, and you’ll get so much further building bridges with clients, colleagues, media, influencers and vendors rather than lighting fires everywhere you go. You don’t need to be a pushover, but there is a way to act with authority without bringing people down around you. And I love when those around me take ownership of their role. From a simple project to a major launch or client event, own your role! It will help you get fully immersed in the task at hand so you can produce your best work.
The PR industry is always evolving, and often at a very quick pace. How can brands keep up? What about PR professionals? How do you stay ahead?
In order to keep up with the pace of the constantly evolving marketing industry, you need to be an active and present participant in it. In addition to reading a wide variety of outlets and industry verticals, look around you. What trends do you see taking shape as you ride the subway or walk the aisles of Target? Being hyperaware of your environment is a great way to help guide brand strategy. What resonates with you and how you react to a moment in pop culture is often a pretty good barometer with which to gauge a wider reaction from a consumer group you are trying to reach. The trick is to be able to recognize a trend or budding movement as it is bubbling up and be able to apply it (where appropriate) to a client strategy so they stay ahead of the curve, and not awkwardly behind it.
What is one thing that most brands are not doing, but should be?
I don’t feel brands are using their inherent unique value proposition to tell their story. So many campaigns or pitch strategies are being created to try to connect a brand to anything that could possibly help them sell one more item or gain one new follower. I feel the brands that market themselves the best know what makes them unique and they let that guide their storytelling. They aren’t looking for a way to connect to every pop culture moment. They are building a genuine story that leads to a more authentic connection between the brand and the consumer. This organic connection will help drive success.
How do you help brands create communication that actually inspires action?
I always ask two questions, “Why?” and “So what?” This helps our teams to inquire deeper as to why we are pitching a certain story at a specific time so we can think critically about goals and set expectations. Asking “so what” ensures we are creating or clearly defining the news value of what we’re doing. If we can’t honestly answer the “so what” question with a compelling argument that would appeal to our target audience, then we need to find a different path forward to help inspire the desired action from our consumer base.
What advice do you have for leveraging paid, owned, and earned media? How do you get them to work together, and which do you find most important?
A key piece of advice for leveraging paid, owned and earned media is to make sure there is a unified tone of voice for any content that is being created. Defining a brand’s tone, look and feel will help to identify who the target consumer is and how best to reach them. Through this unification of a brand’s voice, you’ll be able to more easily make decisions on what a content program should look like in terms of message, target demographic and cadence. While paid media will ensure your message is broadcast when you need it to be, and owned media allows a brand to have control over their content, I feel earned media is the most powerful because consumers are more apt to respond and make purchasing decisions as a result of a third-party endorsement rather than from the brand itself. There are so many ways to engage with consumers in the earned media realm, and while results will never be guaranteed, if a brand is communicating in an authentic and strategic way, it will be more enduring.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in this field?
Ask questions and put in the work! Don’t wait for the perfect project or opportunity to be handed to you. And also understand that you don’t know everything. We can all learn from each other, and the first step to a successful and enduring career is to accept that there is no way you can know it all. Asking questions and experiencing a failure or set back are not signs of weakness or ineptitude. It’s part of growth (as long as you are learning from the misstep and not repeating it) and will help endear you to colleagues and clients. Be the person you’d like to work alongside at 7am or 7pm on a Sunday and let the rest fall into place.
Rapid Fire Round:
- My life philosophy is… worry less; laugh and love more!
- Some items on my bucket list are… spend 6-months traveling the world with my husband and son.
- If I could live forever, I would spend eternity… at the beach, watching my husband surf and playing with my son in the sand.
- My favorite family tradition is… Christmas at my parent’s house; and seeing all of the stockings from our growing family on the mantle.
- My favorite zoo animal is a … lion /lioness.
- The best gift I have ever received is… our son! My husband and I are so proud of our sweet, smart boy.