EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: KERSTIN HUNT
Account Director, Kerstin Hunt is an exceptional public relations professional, team, and account leader. Always an effective steward of her client's budgets, she ensures projections and goals are met. Coming from the gaming industry, Kerstin is no stranger to product launches, media relations and media events. She leads Brandware's Home and Outdoor category serving brands ranging from home builders to outdoor lawn equipment manufacturers.
Kerstin has been with Brandware since 2017. We recently asked her a few questions about her experience. Here's what she had to say.
What is your typical workday?
I get up around 6:45am and then spend a good 15 minutes trying to get my extremely stubborn morning grouch of a dog to go for a walk. I fail 90% of the time and concede defeat by getting ready for work. At work, I usually spend my first minutes indulging in coffee while reading the newsletters and emails that are already in my inbox. I then scan the morning HARO for any relevant opportunities for our clients. Next, I prepare my daily to do list and make sure I am aware of any meetings for the day, especially those that are offsite and require travel time.
My daily work mainly costs of putting together strategic recommendations for clients, conducting media outreach and helping junior staff achieve their goals.
What is the most surprising thing about your work?
A lot of people outside of PR often think that we spend most of our time talking to media. They often don’t realize that we spend most of our time preparing messaging, strategies and plans to get to the point where we can talk to media. There’s a lot of prep work that goes into PR before you can actually do anything externally.
Other than this, I love listening to PR pros in other industries to get ideas that I can apply to our clients. It’s fascinating to see the tactics and strategies that work in other industries and find ways to make them work for you.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part about the job itself is winning and making the client happy. But outside of that, I really enjoy our company culture. I think we’re a great team and the energy is always palpable in our office.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
My two greatest lessons are:
Be bold but check the news before hitting send on that ballsy press release/pitch etc.
Always double check who the email is going to before hitting send. I think most of us have learned that the hard way at some point in our careers.
Where do you see PR or Research headed?
With the recent directions social media networks are heading in, I think it will become increasingly harder to engage with your audiences in an efficient manner. I think we’re going to have to start looking at how to efficiently produce engagement without the historically available, and often free, avenues and get even more creative with our approaches. We saw the rise of Snapchat – so what’s next? VR/AR are likely candidates as the installed base deepens for those technologies.
In terms of media relations, I think we’ll also find it harder and harder to break through to reporters as the number of PR professionals in the industry grows and people get further inundated with emails. There have been a number of attempts at PR-reporter-focused social networks but I haven’t seen one really take off yet. But I think that’s generally where the relationship will head as email is likely not a sustainable means of communication in the long run.
In all your past experiences, what’s been the greatest influence?
The show SCANDAL #TGIT. Just kidding.
On some level it has been mentor’s advice but it’s actually often not direct advice but rather that I’ve observed what they’re doing and how they’ve reached successes that motivate and empower me to try new things. I have had a few great mentors over the years, though, and I am very thankful for everything I’ve learned from them.
How do you stay on top of this ever-changing industry?
Sometimes all you need is to listen to a peer not on the account or in the same industry about their approach that gives you a whole new set of ideas about how to move forward. I follow several PR groups around the web to see what other industries are doing with PR and how I can leverage that for my clients.
What does it mean to you to be competitive?
There’s nothing like that feeling when you score that win, when a reporter bites and you can go back to the client with the great news. But not all accounts are designed for that type of PR. In general, making the client happy is a real driver for me and I love to hear that from them.
Why/How did you choose this as your career?
I definitely fell into PR. I have an undergraduate degree in English/American Literature and did a few journalism internships with newspapers, TV stations after graduating but didn’t really enjoy it as much. I then enrolled in a graduate program for media studies and literature, frankly, to buy myself more time to decide what to do with my life. Going to school is tuition-free in Germany, so it was a no-brainer. I then met a classmate who did a PR internship in our first year of grad school and it sounded like something I’d enjoy more. I then pursued a PR internship as I was finishing my graduate thesis and ended up becoming a full-time PR team member at the company within a few months. The rest is career history.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
What’s the last thing you watched on TV?
Vice Principals. Just when you think the writers have gone EVERYWHERE they go THERE. Hilarious show.
What was your first and last concert?
My first concert was Prince when I was 12. He played in my small hometown in Germany, which seems really odd looking back. My dad dragged me there and I had no idea who Prince was at the time, so there’s that. My last concert was MUSE this summer. I’ve seen them many times and they always put on a great show.
How do you spend your free time?
I mostly spend my free time with our dog, Lady Brunhilde, who needs a lot of exercise, so there are a lot of weekend walks involved. The rest goes towards garden and house projects, video games and, during the season, watching sports with my husband.
What’s your favorite 90s music?
Anything 90s alternative, really, plus a few German 80s/90s rock bands that I grew up with.
Learn more about Kerstin.