Hannah Nieves on the Importance of PR and Marketing in building a brand

January 1, 2021

Hi Hannah! Thanks again for taking the time to do this. I can’t wait to gain some amazing marketing insight—and I’m sure my readers feel the same way! Let’s get started with you telling us a bit about yourself and how you got started as an entrepreneur.

My journey into marketing began as an Investment Sales Broker in the Capital Markets division working for Cushman & Wakefield, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world. During that time I worked to market and sell buildings, land, and air rights in Manhattan. Think Wolf of Wall Street (exactly that). Fast forward a few years and I later became the Director of Marketing of California Closets, managing $4,000,000 marketing budgets and leading a team of passionate marketing professionals. It wasn’t until I landed in the hospital when I realized my life needed to change. Fast forward to now, where the Hannah Nieves brand works with clients globally, employs a team of women (two full timers!) and supports luxury entrepreneurs by elevating their brand, enhancing their reputation, and expanding their income through our signature marketing trio. Growing the Hannah Nieves brand in a pandemic had its own set of challenges, but it was the best decision I ever made.

That’s such an incredible journey—inspiring too! How does working for yourself in marketing compare to working in marketing for large agencies, such as California Closets?

Working for yourself is completely different than working for someone else. You have no one to report to except yourself. There’s a different level of motivation and discipline that you need to have because everyday is different—no two days are the same. However, it’s the best “job” in the world and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. There’s something so gratifying knowing that you’re creating something out of nothing. But I did love my corporate career—I learned so much and have so many transferable skills that help my clients to this day. 

That’s so true and something I can attest to as well—entrepreneurship is incredibly gratifying! And it’s great your corporate career helped set you (and your clients) up for success! What made you stick to the field of marketing / PR when you broke out of corporate? And in what ways do those two industries go hand in hand?

I truly love the work I do and I created this business out of the sheer passion of being able to serve luxury brands and visionaries. What started out as a mentorship program turned agency, consulting, and education platform has allowed me to serve clients in a multitude of industries and creative backgrounds. I chose marketing and PR because that’s my background and I love being able to share my client’s stories through their businesses. Both of those industries go hand in hand as they work to formulate your presence in front of your audience. I teach a very holistic approach—marketing, branding, and PR. When combined, they all work together to create powerful brands that are positioned in a way that attract a business’ ideal customers all while becoming the thought leaders of their industry.

You mention how the combination of marketing, branding, and PR work together to help brands attract their ideal audience while becoming thought leaders in their industry. What is an actionable step our readers can take to start positioning themselves as thought leaders? What makes a thought leader?

To start positioning yourself as a thought leader you need to show up like one. I teach this in my programs, but there’s a combination of authority building strategies that help to mold and build a unique and reputable perception of you and your brand. One that you can leverage today is video. Start by delivering incredible knowledge and value to your audience through mini trainings or workshops on Instagram with no expectation of a return. When I first started my business I would go on stories every single day (not kidding) and teach with no expectation of a sale. 

Over time, that in conjunction with the other methods I teach helped to position my brand in front of the right clientele. What makes a good thought leader is not just the education you put out but how you show up as a leader. Part of being a good thought leader is carrying and embodying your core values from the way you speak, to the way you act, to the way you lead your team. I believe firmly in impact over income and it’s something I teach in all of my programs. 

I love that so much! Educational video is definitely something I want to start incorporating more into Poised Avenue in the new year.

What is your favorite part of your job or your role as CEO in your company?

My favorite part is getting to mentor and grow my relationship with my clients. No matter what they’re looking for I want to provide them with an impact that goes deeper than just business. Some of my clients have now become good friends of mine and it’s so rewarding to not only watch them grow as entrepreneurs in their business but also how they are growing and thriving in all areas of their life. Internally speaking, I love my role as CEO of my brand. We recently hired two full-time employees and are in the process of hiring a third. I’ve led teams before in the corporate world and I still invest in my leadership skills because, hello…we can all learn a thing or two. I love leading my team and cultivating theirleadership skills as well.

You help brand’s (and their owners) strategically position themselves within their industry. What is your opinion on brand visuals? Are they important in the positioning of a brand?

Absolutely! My first piece of advice to anyone looking to develop a brand strategy is to start with your messaging and positioning and combine that with your visuals. Once you know how you want to be perceived and viewed in the market, it’s a lot easier to align on the visuals. I always recommend investing in high quality photography. It’s an easy way to take your brand to the next level or a way to refresh a brand. Depending on your industry, I also recommend establishing your brand presence with a website. I waited to create mine and I recently did a full rebrand. It really helps to create this comprehensive experience for your audience when they find you on social media and land on your website. Visuals are just as important as the messaging.

I totally agree with you! I always recommend my clients start with at least a solid understanding of who and what they want their brand to be, before investing in a visual identity. It’s so important to the success of the visuals. I do help them a lot with strategy before we dive into design regardless… and I even plan on hiring a copywriter within the new year to help with the strategy portion because like you said, messaging is so important!

What else, would you say, creates a solid foundation for successful brand positioning?

My number one tip would be to get clear on your goals. Why are you doing this? Where do you see your brand in the next 1, 3, 5 years? A lot of us are living in the moment or are busy working in our business instead of on our business. Second tip would be to get clear on who you are as a brand and who you’re serving. How does your story help serve another audience? PR is a multifaceted tool in your business and isn’t just pitching the media (although many people think it is).

So, if PR isn’t just pitching the media, what else does it entail?

PR is multifaceted and can include a variety of things, like:

1. Pitching the media

2. Pitching to podcasts

3. Brand Collaborations

4. Self publishing platforms

5. Speaking engagements

6. Internal and external communication

7. Crisis management

8. Government and press relations (more for corporate businesses)

9. Blog writing and content writing (typically social media will fall until the PR team in corporate)

10. Influencer collaborations

…just to name a few.

Wow! You really cover so much within a business and I can definitely see how hiring a PR manager can be crucial to the success of a business!

I know this is a hot topic for a lot of clients / entrepreneurs—so, what is your number one tip for landing press or media coverage as a small business owner?

When you’re ready to start pitching yourself, imagine how your story or expertise can help that audience. For example, if it’s a podcast or a media outlet, how can you help provide value? Going in with that mindset will help you craft an effective pitch. And that brings me to my last tip, which is to understand who you’re pitching. Ask yourself, have you done the research on this person? Have you built a relationship with them? The research and development phase of media pitching is the most labor intensive but most important piece. From there, it starts with putting yourself out there and building those relationships! If you’re looking to figure out which media outlet to pitch, I have a free quiz that gives you a few options and as always come hang out on Instagram. I give a lot of free tools and resources to help small businesses with PR.

That’s such great advice, Hannah! I think the greatest takeaway is this—always have your audience in mind as a business owner. Just like branding, we always start with building an audience profile and like you said, it’s labor intensive but so important.

I am so happy you were able to chat with me on the topic of PR and marketing! Your expertise is incredible and so valued.

If you want to find Hannah on the web, click here. Or, check her out on InstagramLinkedIn, or Facebook.

Hannah is the founder and Principle CEO of Hannah Nieves Consulting. With extensive experience in marketing, branding and PR; Hannah knows what it takes to build, market and promote authentic brands and create results. Her journey into marketing began as an Investment Sales Broker in the Capital Markets division working for Cushman & Wakefield, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world. During that time she worked to market and sell buildings, land and air rights in Manhattan. When she wasn’t underwriting $525,000,000 worth of real estate assets, she was marketing them. Fast forward a few years when she became Director of Marketing of California , managing $4,000,000 marketing budgets and leading a team of passionate marketing professionals. Hannah truly loves the work she does and created this business out of the sheer passion of being able to serve female entrepreneurs and visionaries like yourself. What started out as a mentorship program turned agency, consulting and education platform has allowed Hannah to serve women in a multitude of industries and creative backgrounds. Hannah is the go to resource for marketing, branding and PR for entrepreneurs and brands alike.

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