Suki Mulberg Altamirano is the Founder and CEO of Lexington Public Relations, where she brings more than a decade of experience in public relations and marketing. Her background ranges from executing consumer and press launch events to media trips and appearances with celebrity spokespeople. Prior to launching Lexington PR, she also held a multitude of roles as an in-house PR executive including with Williams- Sonoma, Elizabeth Arden and more. Most recently, Suki was recognized as a leader in the industry and joined the Forbes Agency Council, where she shares expert articles and insights.
This week, Suki and I sat down to discuss how to create a successful agency from the ground up, the importance of social media in the industry, and the importance of identifying your end goal!
How did you discover your passion for communications?
As a kid, I never really had one big group of friends but rather a lot of friends from completely different circles, styles and perspectives. I’ve always been a bit of a chameleon and like meeting people from different walks of life. I also love writing. In college, I combined these areas, honed in on communications as my major, did a few internships in public relations and the rest is history.
As the Founder and CEO of Lexington PR, what motivated you to launch your own PR company? What has it taken to ensure the organization will be a success?
A leap of faith! I was at a point in my career where I felt like I needed an exciting change and had full confidence in my abilities and knowledge of the field. As our organization has grown, this attitude has remained important. It has also been critical to hire and bring on the right team members and partners for our agency. Beyond passion, growing a successful agency takes resilience, adaptability, leadership and tenacity.
How do you envision the future of the communication industry, and how are you working to stay ahead, and to keep your clients on the cutting edge?
Communication trends will always be changing and while it’s important to keep up with the latest channels and methods, what really creates news (whether it’s print, digital, broadcast or social) is something that’s newsworthy. That means it’s thought provoking, original, notable, boundary pushing and new. This may sound basic but in the end, it’s good messaging, a strong story and timely outreach that are going to get the coverage. This is why we not only seek out clients who are doing innovative things but we help them pinpoint what’s so special about their business while developing their story.
How do you strategically utilize paid, owned, and earned media for your clients and how do you determine when to use each?
Earned media is still our bread and butter with paid and owned media playing a complimentary role. Used all together they round out a full campaign.
What role does social media play in your job? How has social media transformed strategic communication?
It’s where we read breaking news, find new influencers, research journalists and see what people are talking about. It’s central to how our clients and we as an agency communicate about our work and share news. Social media has raised the bar more than ever for creating and sharing timely, meaningful and impactful stories.
What are the biggest PR and marketing mistakes brands make, and how can they avoid them?
The worst mistake is kicking off a PR or marketing campaign without understanding who the target audience is and why they should care about what you have to say. That sometimes means looking at your product or service from a harsh perspective as you’re answering these questions. Before any campaign begins it’s essential to have the story, message and direction of your brand in place. Do you know what your unique selling point is? Do you really understand who it is that you want to reach? Without these questions answered efficient communication is impossible.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in PR? What advice do you have for those looking to begin their own PR firm?
Hard work, a positive attitude and persistence will get you far. Working in PR can take a tough skin but it is also an incredibly rewarding profession. It only takes one client to begin your own firm and that first one is likely to come through channels of people you already know. Network often, build positive relationships with colleagues and keep up with your contacts.
1. My favorite subject in school is … a foreign language.
2. The best gift I have ever received is …. someone’s time.
3. The most unusual thing I have ever eaten is … Nashville hot chicken … well, not unusual per say but delicious and highly original (and spicy!).
4. If I could join any music group, it would be … at the moment it’d be joining up with solo artist Elle King, who is way too cool for me but absolutely kills it live.
5. Some items on my bucket list are … next up are to travel to Asia, learn a third language and improve my karaoke game.
6. If I had a billion dollars, I would … be doing exactly what I’m doing now, plus a lot more travel around the world!
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