Interview by Netzwirtschaft.Net
Who is Uwe Schmidt? Please briefly introduce yourself.
I am a communicator. Which means, I communicate across all channels throughout the world and also gladly assist others along the way. The reason for this can maybe be found in my choice of career. Initially, I wanted to be a teacher, then a priest, then a journalist. At the end I landed up in PR. My first and only job application was as a trainee in a PR agency which resulted in my professional career choice. I’ve accomplished all the learning stages from being a trainee through to becoming chairperson. I’ve never regretted my decision. Name of the agency: Industrie-Contact AG in Hamburg, networked globally through the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). I’m presently the Chair of the Advisory Board and before that I was the President, which saw me handing over the reigns to a colleague from the USA in order for me to have more time for my own agency and for myself.
Please share some of your eccentricities with us so we don’t only gain a professional perspective who you are.
I like to solve matters consistently and not just talk about it. ‘Dont talk, just do it’ is my motto. Personally, I love music the most, I play the guitar and from time to time also with my band JaWu (http://www.jawu-music.com). We belong to the musical genre, singer-songwriter and have just recorded an electronic rock album. This isn’t eccentric, right? My band mates claim that I’m a structure freak. By this they mean that instead of just jamming with them during band practice, I like to have well-structured sessions. They are in fact right in saying this about me, because due to time constraints our practice sessions are a rarity.
Elevator Pitch! What does your company do? And especially: what are your specialties, where are your superpowers hidden?
We are globally connected to almost 50 independent and owner-operated agencies through the Public Relations Global Network (www.prgn.com) and advise world-renowned clients locally and abroad. This connection which is paired with a great deal of traditional PR know-how and modern digital communications is key to our current success. This distinguishes us from almost all the other agencies of our size in Germany.
By the way Superpower: Reveal an example of your companies ‘best practice’, where you were exceptionally successful?
We are brilliant in the traditional art of PR and have managed to combine this with digital PR including social media/bloggers as well as with SEO PR. In all this, for the benefit of our clients, lies premium contacts for the target media. We invest a lot of time in these contacts. We don’t have any run-of-the-mill media list.
Recently we hosted 2 blogger events in Hamburg and in Frankfurt for a hair removal device so that men and women no longer have to shave or wax. These were both highly successful because we invested a lot of time in advance in networking and after event activities.
When you consider the overall connected economies of your market, your company, your position; what would be your main challenges in the next months or years?
Challenges for the society, or rather the nation:
The way things are progressing at present, then definitely the handling of the refugee situation, issues about integration and related social and financial challenges.
Challenges for the connected economies in Germany/Europe:
I consider the “two-speed” net neutrality as a big failure, because this will ultimately remove the equality of all internet users. The internet has of now a 1st class and a 2nd class system.
Challenges for our markets:
In Germany, the network development in the rural sectors must be seriously advanced. If I didn’t establish my agency in Hamburg but somewhere in the countryside, then maybe we wouldn’t have even existed, because modern communication technology and in part networks, communicate like a Porsche that has been forced to bump over dirt roads.
Challenges for our company:
We have to better position our integrated offer of traditional PR with modern digital PR for our clients. Many clients have a great need for consultation – often without them even knowing it.
What has annoyed you the most on the internet and over what were you most pleased?
The internet has enabled access to an incomprehensible amount of information from practically every corner of the earth – provided there is a connection. This is unbelievable. The internet has also led me to not be able to distinguish between work and leisure time, because now I am always availabe and this is also expected of me. I have to accept this for the way things have become. There’s no turning back – certainly not if you are in the communications industry.
Give us a recommendation for a blog/ a newsletter/ a business magazine, with who/which you are readily informed:
An article which has recently enthralled you:
A fascinating book that has inspired you:
Claus Kleber: Spielball Erde – Machtkämpfe im Klimawandel
A series of events, where you really learnt something:
Our biannual Public Relations Global Network conference (www.prgn.com)
The most useful tool/ helpful software for your work (besides the mind):
With which experts would you like to work one day with and why?
Every six months I sit down with extreme pleasure together with my colleagues from PRGN for 3 days. I’ve gained a lot and as a result I can continuously refine the direction of my agency.
“Mit welchem Experten würdest Du am liebsten einmal einen ganzen Tag zusammenarbeiten“ was first published in German on IC’s (Industrie-Contact) blog.
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