Updated: Dec 20, 2020
We sat down with PR guru Sophie Muir and chatted about all things public relations and how her firm came about.
When did you realise you loved PR and media? And how did Maven PR come about?
I actually studied Clinical Psychology at university and my plan was to be a Clinical Psychologist. I did an internship in PR in London with a lifestyle agency called Palm PR. They had all these cool hospitality and FMCG clients and I fell in love with the industry and knew this is what I wanted to do. Launching my own agency was also something I fell into. After I left the last agency I worked for, my plan was to freelance, whilst I found my dream to be an in-house PR role. Ironically, I got headhunted for that dream job. However, by that point I had started to get my own clients, as people in my network had heard I had gone freelance. So, I politely declined the next round of interviews with that company and decided Sophie Muir PR was going to happen. We rebranded to Maven PR in September 2019 after we were invested in by Bamboo Marketing.
What is the main purpose and vision for the business?
To do good work for our clients. It's that simple. There are a lot of agencies that are full of fluff and I'm always open and honest with our clients and we always seek to under promise and over deliver. Who/what brands are your clients?
We work with a lot of FMCG clients, particularly in the drinks space with Tia Maria, The Botanist Gin, Disaronno, Martin Miller's Gin and Select Aperitivo to name a few. We also work heavily in the lifestyle space with clients like Camplify, Cork and Canvas, Celebrity Cruises, Peaches Pilates and Flotespace. However, 2020 has seen us diversify our client offering with more beauty and fashion clients coming into the fold such as Amici Collective, The Dermal Diary and Nikkia Joy Cosmetics. We work with Australian owned small businesses and startups to global brands and I love that diversity in our work. What are some of the biggest challenges of having your own business?
When I first went out on my own, back when I was a sole trader, if clients paid late, I couldn't pay rent. Any business founder will have a similar story so whilst it's nothing new, it's an important consideration when you are starting a business. The other challenge I would say is the ability to switch off. I haven't had a day off at all in 2020 – it's very hard when it's your business. You get out what you put in, but my 2021 New Year's resolution is to be better at allocating myself some downtime.
What is something you've learned about the industry during COVID–19?
Be nimble. When COVID hit, many of our clients pulled projects and budgets. So I went out to a bunch of small businesses offering a small business package for a quick PR campaign to achieve them 10 pieces of coverage – it didn't matter how I did it or how many hours it would actually take, they paid a set fee that was a heavily discounted rate. Many of those clients are now long term clients on retainer with Maven PR so I think the ability to be quick and nimble when we went into lockdown was key. The other thing I learned is that with the media landscape shrinking, PR needs to be more targeted than ever and we need to be offering media ready to use content to save them as much time as possible.If that means writing an article for them, that's often the difference between your client getting coverage and not.
What are some of your personal campaigns or projects or events you've worked on?
Our current campaign we're doing for Camplify has been one of my favourites. With international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future we're working with Camplify to showcase all the travel trends within Australia domestically, through reports and data. It's been a really newsworthy way of pitching their business to the media across multiple sectors. I'm also a big fan of brand collaborations and we do this very effectively with our clients, whether it's Australia's first dedicated gin caravan – a collaboration between The Botanist Gin and Camplify – or Cork and Canvas teaming up with N2 Gelato to create a gelato inspired art class. These are a couple that I'm most proud of this year.
Any final advice you want to share?
Surround yourself with a great team. I am so grateful to my investors who have been there to lean on during hard times and provide very sound advice. If Maven PR was a ____ it would be a _____: A flower: A Peony, because we're all about the details A TV show: Suits, because we work hard and get stuff done An iconic woman: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because we're trail blazers A colour: Dusty pink – smart, classic and beautiful A dessert: A souffle, because we rise to the occasion A song: Spinning Around, because we're always working and doing it quickly! A cocktail: A bellini, because we have fun doing what we do but we do it well and we deliver
The Botanist Van – Camplify x The Botanist Gin collaboration
Flotespace Summer Launch Party
Tia Maria at Moonlight Cinema (Pictured: Margarita Nazarenko)