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NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?


Featured NativeAdVantage:

Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur

 

Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

Paul D'Arcy: SVP of Indeed

Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

Gabriell Weinberg: Founder of DuckDuckGo

Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of LittleThings.com

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of Edmunds.com

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of Reputation.com

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

Caleb Merkl: Co-Founder of Maple

Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

Matt Straz: Founder/CEO of Namely

Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad

Sunday
Feb262017

Peter Himler: Founding Principal, Flatiron Communications LLC

My NativeAdVice:

Bio:

Peter founded Flatiron Communications LLC in 2005 after playing senior media leadership roles at Edelman, Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe and Hill and Knowlton. He started his career in entertainment at NYC PR boutique Zarem Inc. Flatiron is a New York City-based PR and digital media consultancy that helps emerging and established companies capitalize on the latest communications technologies and digital, social and content marketing strategies. In addition to running Flatiron, Peter has written since 2011 for Forbes.com on the intersection of media, technology and marketing. He also founded and edits the “Adventures in Consumer Technology” publication for Medium.com, which has 46,000 followers.  He is solidly engaged in the social graph mostly with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Swarm, LinkedIn, and Snapchat on occasion. Peter serves as president of the Publicity Club of New York, is active with the New York Tech Meetup, and sits on the executive board of the Communications and Media Studies Program at Tufts University from which he holds a B.A. in Political Science and French.

How did you get into the industry?

After graduating Tufts University with a degree in political science and French, I was determined to try to break into the music industry. (At Tufts, I headed the university’s concert board and spent four years on its alternative radio station.) I sent my resume around to scores of record label executives, one of whom (from Warner Bros) kindly forwarded it to a small entertainment PR boutique in Manhattan. I went in for the interview, was asked to go home and write a “pitch letter” about my favorite artist. (What’s a pitch letter? I wondered at the time.) Three months later I was called and told to come in the next day. I was hired. On my first day of work, the firm’s senior account person escorted me to NBC at 30 Rock where she introduced me as “the new publicist” on “America Alive,” a network daytime talk show hosted by Bruce Jenner…but that’s another story.      

Any emerging industry trends?

In the last dozen years or so, I’ve observed five seismic shifts affecting today’s public relations practitioners.

1.    The first was the onset of CGM or consumer generated media (aka blogs, YouTube video…) through which anyone or any company could create and syndicate content directly to key constituents…in effect bypassing the news media filter.  

2.    With the onset of CGM, came the fragmentation of news media and the commensurate loss of influence by legacy news organizations. Consumers now have many more choices from which to get their news and info, and they tend to gravitate toward like-minded sources.

3.    The third seismic shift arrived in the form of social media, and the ability for consumers to share and amplify content to their friends and followers. Today, more people get their news through their Facebook feeds than from any one particular source.

4.    The fourth pivotal change in how PR professionals advance the interests of their clients arrived in the form of “influencer marketing,” and in particular the ability to pay those with large followings on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. to insert branded messages in their editorial output. Event producers also jumped on the influencer bandwagon by paying social stars to attend and post their thoughts from their events (aka “activations.”)

5.    The last, and most recent development affecting PR pros is one that portends considerable danger for our democracy: the ability for nefarious actors to purposely and opaquely disseminate false or misleading information to sway public opinion.  It is no secret that Russian pays thousands of individuals to create false information to advance its political objectives in the U.S., UK, Ukraine and elsewhere. Sadly, this is not a tactic that Russia has the lock on.              

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

The biggest challenges for PR professionals are a bi-product of some of the changes cited above. They include:

•    How best to create a client result, i.e., uptick in sales, stock price, reputation, when the mainstream media has lost much of its influence to truly move the needle in today’s fragmented media environment.

•    Still, “earned” media continues to be a more effective marketing discipline than paid, but with the ratio of five PR pros to every one journalist, the ability to engage has grown much more challenging.

•    The majority of agencies – even those that tout their digital credentials – still rely on, and use as a measure of success, story “placement.”  Most agencies do not train their staffs nor develop the skill sets to take advantage of the distinct advantages offered by influencer, content and social media marketing.       

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

When leaving the big agency world after nearly three decades in the trenches, I soon realized that there are many talented and untethered industry professionals who I could deploy on behalf of my newly formed firm’s growing clientele. I had the advantage of serving as President of the Publicity Club of New York through which I met PR pros of all stripes. Hence, the client-service model for Flatiron Communications revolved around leveraging my network to find and build teams with the most pertinent skill sets and industry experience. Also, having joined networking platform LinkedIn in its nascent days proved a most fortuitous decision.   

What's next for the Business in the near future?

Fans of Ryan Hoover’s Product Hunt are no doubt surprised and amazed by the cool new products his team finds and curates on any given day. The same goes for PR professionals – at least those who are curious. There are a handful of productivity tools available today to help us do our jobs more efficiently and effect9vely. Some of my fave go-to’s include: ToutApp, MuckRack, Cision, Grammarly, Google Docs, Twitter, DropBox, Newton Mail…      

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

The business model Flatiron uses allows the firm to cherry-pick the exact right skills and experience when building a client-service team. By operating this way, we are able to provide best-in-class service at a fraction of the fees that mid-sized or even small agencies charge. We also have achieved considerable success competing for large, global clients against large global agencies…as evidenced by our clients’ renewal rates.  

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

We recently help launch at CES the first wearable backpack that featured a built-in digital display that was programmable with images from one’s iOS or Android smartphone (via Bluetooth).  We were able to break through the CES clutter and secure media coverage from Engadget, The AP, CNET, PopSugar, The Verge, Teen Vogue and many others – all without a formal presence or sponsorship at the giant consumer electronics confab

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

As much as has changed in the practice of PR, the overriding goal remains pretty much the same: how to help clients build a bigger, branded footprint in mainstream, digital and social media – one that accrues to a measurable business result such as more sales, more qualified leads, increase in stock price, or enhanced reputation.   

How do you motivate others?

Years ago at Burson-Marsteller, the agency offered me the opportunity to take an effective management course whose tenets have stuck with me to this day. In essence, it divided one’s direct reports into four categories, each of which required a different approach. Newbies were tasked with specific goals and timetables, and little acknowledgement when they were completed. More senior reports were asked to weigh in on strategy and agree on deliverables. I follow this approach to this day.  Also, FWIW, I also remain by their side in the trenches, editing pitch letters, researching journalists and influencers, and helping clients on messaging and interview technique.   

Career advice to those in your industry?

I frequently jump on calls with soon-to-be-minted college graduates to offer career advice – mostly from Tufts, but elsewhere as well.  It becomes clear very soon into the call whether the PR aspirant did any homework before taking the call. How can one expect to succeed with a client if he or she did not bone up in advance on what keeps a client up at night? That’s a big pet peeve. Also, being conscientious, i.e., responsiveness, is a big plus. I remember a young man in B-M’s DC office who always answered his own phone and returned calls within an hour or two. I would joke with him and say, “you’re going far in this business.” Ten years later, he was head of communications at Bloomberg LP and went on the become president at a major communications firm.         

https://twitter.com/PeterHimler

https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterhimler/