Andrew Joseph on PR

I have the honor of going way back with the amazingly accomplished Andrew Joseph, founder and dynamo-in-charge of Andrew Joseph Public Relations. AJPR is a New York based full-service communications firm specializing in shelter, design, and lifestyle brands. We had a chance to catch up on a recent visit and I couldn’t resist squeezing in a little photo shoot on the sidewalks of Chelsea. When the talent is this good, who can resist?! Andrew graciously accepted my request for a quick interview, and his insights are invaluable!

NR: How did you get into PR?  What was your vision for the firm you wanted to build? What drew you to working with shelter, design, and lifestyle brands?

AB: When I moved to NYC in 1999, I was as prepared as I could be; I thought I had a job lined up being a rep for a perfume company, but as life would have it, that job moved to Baltimore as I was in the process of moving from San Francisco. As one does, I scrambled to find work by networking the heck out of my contacts and landed a job at Vanity Fair, a Conde Nast publication. After Vanity Fair, I moved on to another title: Allure. In the time I was there, as magazines seem to be, there was a constant musical chairs of staff changes and I thought, “well, maybe the magazine world is not for me and I should try this PR thing,” which seemed somewhat more stable.

NR: What’s the secret sauce in PR? Is it industry connections, a finely tuned intuition, timing media cycles, pure style?  When you’re absolutely in your stride, which of your many skills are you using the most?

AB: You hit the nail on the head- it’s a combination of all those skills, but mostly it’s being mindful of who you work with and represent. I spent years working for other firms before I started my own, and my goal at the time was to work for clients that you are excited about. That said, above and beyond, any qualities a good PR person needs to have are honesty, integrity, and the ability to pivot and evolve with your business model as the industry and media landscape change around you.

NR: What are some of the traps in communications strategy?  Are there “empty calorie” efforts that seem appealing on the surface but don’t produce results?  How do you know what strategies really have substance?

AB: Good public relations skills are like a painting- every brush stroke counts, both big and small. There is a quote from Jane Russell that goes, “Publicity is terrible; but only if you don’t have any.” That being said, as I mentioned in my previous answer, you have to pivot in this world of how people disseminate and process information. So I try not to be stuck in “what are you supposed to do.” I think people that stick with what works, which doesn’t always work the day after tomorrow.

NR: How do you feel about paid social media?

AB: Authenticity is the name of the game. From time to time a pay to play strategy pays off, but more often than not that does not always reach your target audience.

NR: Is PR seasonal in a universal way or are the cycles more industry specific?

AB: Totally and fully universal and always a hurry and go strategy. There is never a down time.

NR: In the age of startups it feels like brand identity is constantly evolving and being revamped as companies find what works.  Are PR dollars spent before brand identity is solidified wasted dollars?

AB: Brand identity is the why someone cares and if someone does not have a story to tell that is fine tuned and honed – then what are you telling? Branding first!

NR: How should creative professionals approach PR?  Is there a possibility for results with a less-than-corporate budget?  What’s one solid effort that can yield results without breaking the bank?

AB: We work with solid and established brands as well as those that are up and coming. The first thing you need are assets you can share with the media. In my world, working with architects, interior designers, and luxury home furnishings – photography is where you start to make an investment – without that – what are you sharing with media? it’s a very image driven industry.

NR: Frequency, duration, and intensity are often used as measures for the likelihood of success in exercise; do these translate to the world of PR?

AB: That is so funny ask that question. I frequently speak with another PR professional on best practices and how designers work with public relations firms, and she always quotes me saying that PR is very much like a gym membership. You can pay, but if you don’t put in the work it’s like not going to the gym. Meaning, PR folks are only as good as the clients they work with if they put in the time to do the homework. There is always homework and all those qualities apply. 

NR: You’ve shared your amazing fitness journey, what gives you the best results?  What motivates you on the days when your body says “Screw you; I don’t want to go to the gym!”?

AB: Thanks for noticing. I simply turned a corner about 2.5 years ago at a point that I was 40+ pounds overweight and I was like “No- no more.” And rather like starting my own business, make the choice that giving up was not an option.

NR: What’s for breakfast?

AB: Coffee and exercise.

NR: What are you reading?

AB: I wish I read more; I average 400+ emails a day so when it comes to personal reading, I have to say, I am lacking.

NR: What’s your most recent tattoo?

AB: A Fornasetti inspired tattoo wrapped in a serpent.

NR: What’s your happy place these days?

AB: Happy place is 1000000% my home in upstate New York in the country outside of Saugerties, NY. It is an investment in my sanity. Four acres in the middle of the woods with no neighbors in sight and the sounds of the woods are more healing than I thought possible.

NR: You always look damn good, do you ever have trouble deciding what to wear?

AB: Almost every day I change twice 🙂

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Lifestyle Photography for Startups: Puls

Congratulations are in order! My new client Puls made #11 on the LinkedIn Top Startups list, “…a global ranking of the 50 most sought-after startups where professionals want to work and stay.” Not only that, they were named #1 most promising startup of 2018 by Globes. Things are looking good for Puls, especially after receiving 50 million in Series C funding last year. Puls offers easy to schedule repairs and installations by skilled technicians. They offer phone repair, appliance repair, TV installation, garage door repair, and smart home installation. We had a great shoot recently in San Francisco at one of very few location rentals who has all the appliances we needed to demonstrate the repair servies that Puls offers through their technicians. The talent for this shoot was fabulous; thanks to the whole team for an awesome shoot!!

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Social Media Expert and Author, Alice Myerhoff: Picking the Perfect LinkedIn Photo


Remember Alice Myerhoff, inspiring client and author of Social Media for Salespeople?  You may recall that I blogged about her a few months ago when her book came out.  I’m grateful that she took the time out of her busy schedule to share some tips on the importance of selecting a good LinkedIn profile photo.  Thanks, Alice!!

5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Photo for Your LinkedIn Profile, by Alice Myerhoff

Choosing the right photo for your LinkedIn profile picture may seem like no big deal but it is important. LinkedIn is the largest social channel for business and it is where you represent your professional self. If you are thinking of LinkedIn as just an online resume for job seeking you are seriously underestimating how powerful this channel is.

As a salesperson and social media expert it is one of my most beloved business tools. I use it a number of different ways. For example, whenever I get a new lead or contact, I look them up on LinkedIn. I do this so that I can know more about this person: their work background, where they live, where they went to school, what their interests are and knowing these things prepares me to have more enjoyable and effective conversations with my business contacts. One of my favorite features of LinkedIn is “InMails” which allows me to send “cold” emails through LinkedIn to people who aren’t yet in my LinkedIn network. Part of the beauty of using LinkedIn to to send cold emails is that the email comes with a link to my profile and allows the recipient to see a bit about me before deciding if they are going act on that email or delete it, which takes the email up a level and makes it “warm.” And, of course, LinkedIn is where I put my own best professional foot forward. I do this by highlighting my work experience ranging from employment history to consulting projects and mention of my book “Social Media for Salespeople.” I also have a very carefully chosen profile picture and you should too.

Here are my tips for selecting a the right profile photo for you:

  1. Show your face. I often see photos of people that are full body because the person is trying to highlight a hobby or experience. Because the image on LinkedIn is fairly small, choosing a photo like that means that people cannot easily see your face. Seeing your face is important for a number of reasons. First of all, if you’ve met someone in person already and you’re looking to connect with them on LinkedIn, seeing your face again is likely how they will recognize you. This will help them decide if they want to make that connection online as well. Also, as you continue to interact with that person online, each time they see your photo, your relationship with them grows a little bit. You become more familiar.
  2. Look like yourself. Of course you want to look your best in your profile photo but that should not mean that you look radically different from how you do in real life. Has your hair length changed? Did you grow a beard? Do you normally wear glasses? Is your photo 10 years old? Choose a photo that reflects how you look currently. This is important because you want help people make the connection between your online and offline selves. If you look much different, there can be a disconnect that is not conducive to a productive relationship. And please please please do not use an image that is a cartoon version of yourself or a photo of your baby or a picture of Bart Simpson because you think it’s funny. None of these choices will help you from a business perspective.
  3. Match your photo to your business style. I recently had an enlightening experience at a meeting with a potential consulting client. At the end of the meeting, my contact wanted to add me as a connection on LinkedIn. He pulled up my profile on his phone and said, “You’re much warmer in person than one would guess from your photo.” My personal business style is one that is warm and friendly so my photo didn’t match who I am. Shortly after this conversation, I swapped out the more stern looking photo for one where I have a friendly smile. It’s a much better choice for me. Think about the business image you want to project and consider whether your profile photo supports that image.
  4. Be consistent. Many of us have a variety of social media and other profiles. Typically these require having some sort of image as your “avatar.” I recommend that you use the same image across all of your profiles. This is helpful because when you are connecting with business contacts across these different channels, each time they see your photo it’s a touchpoint which allows your relationship to deepen and solidify. You become more familiar to them every time they see your picture. I like to think of these touch points as branding opportunities.
  5. Use a good quality photo. This last point may seem obvious but do make sure your photo is of good quality and by that I mean that it’s in focus and that it’s cropped well so that your face is centered. Of course, if you’re working with Nancy Rothstein, that’s all a given. 🙂
Business is about relationships. A simple thing like choosing a great profile photo for your online profiles can help enhance your business relationships.

If you are interested in more social media and sales tips, please follow me on Twitter @motodot or look for my posts on the blog.

Alice Myerhoff is author of the e-book “Social Media for Salespeople: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increasing your Leads and Sales” and a business development/sales/marketing/management executive with over 18 years of experience in industries ranging from online games, educational technology and Social business to online news media, real estate & mortgage. She is currently heading up Sales at EdSurge, and has worked at Electronic Arts, Inman News, Pivot Conference, Philips Professional Publishing, Countrywide, Princeton Capital, and the Tomorrow Project. Her party trick is being able to count to 10 in 6 languages and she is fluent in German and French. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter: @motodot

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