Behind the Headlines With Greg Mondshein
Greg Mondshein, senior vice president of Hotwire PR, says understanding your brand’s differentiators and how you provide value is key to a successful marketing strategy. In this interview, he discusses the pervasiveness of technology in PR, the necessity of collaboration with others and how to best communicate with customers.
What do you like most about working in PR? What do you dislike most?
PR is a shifty beast. It forces you to stay on the cutting edge of modern marketing strategy and be an expert storyteller. It’s challenging, and I get to work with brilliant people and help solve new problems every day.
It’s always different. We’re digging into many different industries and working with all areas of a business to help solve real world business problems. When it works, I really feel like we’re right alongside our clients helping them build their businesses.
The only major dislikes are dealing with any clients that don’t treat agency partners as strategic partners. I have a very firm ‘no disrespect’ rule. You should too.
What’s the most important lesson about PR you’ve learned in your career?
It takes a village. No matter what I’m doing or what I’ve done, I can always look back and find key people that helped me get it done. If you are a lone wolf, this is probably the wrong industry for you.
You’ve recently joined Hotwire PR as the new senior vice president in their New York office. What are you most excited about?
I’ve joined a truly global organization with an amazing track record. We’re well on our way here in the US, and I’m thrilled to be working with the teams to accelerate that growth.
What are some of the biggest PR challenges technology brands face? How can they combat those challenges?
Customers are a moving target. They are smart to ads and commercial messaging. We need to be able to reach them in an authentic, valuable way through the channels that they’re engaging with. Media is now only one part of that.
We also have to remember that this is a conversation we’re having with customers, and this conversation has to provide value. I think we now have to work on the 90:10 rule and provide value 90 percent of the time. Then you earn the right to soft sell the other 10 percent.
The technology industry is constantly evolving. How can brands keep up?
I don’t even consider technology a separate industry anymore. Technology is ubiquitous. It’s present in every industry. It’s driving businesses forward in truly amazing ways.
I’d urge brands to leverage their appropriate trade organizations to stay on top of the evolution. Where possible, attend adjacent industry events to see if you can get some creative ideas that your competitors haven’t yet thought of.
Good luck – this is the plight of every marketer on the planet!
What advice do you have for companies on creating a successful communication strategy?
Successful communication programs take a customer-centric view of the world. A brand needs to start with a deep understanding of the industry, competitors and consumer trends. From there, you can hopefully develop a strategy to differentiate your brand and show why it offers value above everyone else.
As critical as this is in sales, it’s equally important in PR that we have a unique point of view and product offering. Once you have this solid grasp of the situation, then you can identify the most appropriate approach to reaching the target consumer.
How do you envision the future of PR?
PR as we know it is dead. Clients now want us to help them solve business problems and help drive sales. In order to do this, we have to begin with the end in mind. What is the problem we’re trying to solve?
Once we have a clear understanding of the situation, we all need to be able to develop campaigns and programs that reach the target in a modern, multi-channel environment. Media relations-only solutions will be increasingly less effective.
The agencies that can do this will be the ones that thrive in the future. The rest will need to make sure their ‘affairs are in order.’
Image via Greg Mondshein
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