Pierce Mattie is the CEO of Pierce Mattie PR with offices in  New York, Los Angeles and in Atlanta. In this interview Pierce Mattie talks to Marta Walsh about how he got into the world of Public Relations, his most successful PR campaigns he created for Old Navy,  Ojon Hair Care, and ReVive Skin Care.  How he came up with the Media Oasis concept. His business plans for the future, and even shares some of his personal plans like his engagement to marry his fiancé Skie Ocasio in March 2009. And, you don’t want to miss Pierce Mattie’ s ultimate dinner party because it includes an intriguing mix of personalities, such as: Warren Buffet, Liz Smith, and Hillary Clinton.
How did you end up in the world of Public Relations?
I moved to Manhattan in 1998 to work as a cosmetics manager at Bergdorf Goodman and was doing facials and offering styling tips for beauty and fashion editors. Amy Bratt was working at Mirabella Magazine and ran a feature on me offering tips on doing at-home-peels and wrinkle busting tactics. That was the day my life went into the spotlight you could say. I then moved onto working for a wholesale manufacture of lifestyle products for resorts and hotels and climbed my way to the role of Global Public Relations Director and ran the PR for over a dozen countries. I then took a break in my career to write a beauty text book and it was during that sabbatical that Pierce Mattie the PR firm was conceived.How would you describe your role at Pierce Mattie PR?
As the CEO I head up our new business east of the Mississippi as well as forecast growth, develop our leadership programs for the team and continue to measure our quality of work with our roster. I am also an advisor to our President and two Executive Vice Presidents.

What have been some of your most successful PR campaigns you have created for beauty and fashion companies?
I loved our role with Old Navy in 2007; we really helped them go back to their core of their targeted female consumer while focusing on media stories and angles that fit their profile on Good Morning America, The Oprah Show, etc. but giving them aspirational coverage in Vogue as well.
Our launch of Ojon Hair Care began when they started with one product and no distribution. Four years later they were acquired by Estee Lauder and were selling in most major prestige beauty outlets. We really told the story behind Ojon and not necessarily the products themselves. Anyone can do product placement, we were very specific on the harvesting of the ingredients and the social responsibility of the brand, that in essence are its true DNA.
ReVive Skin Care came to us when their competition, La Prairie and Sisley, were really focusing on just launching pricey creams. We put them on a unique regime focus of problem vs. solution pitching that garnered a very high volume of content rich feature stories.

How are beauty companies changing the ways they communicate with women through new media outlets?
We had Jane Iredale Cosmetics on retainer with us for seven years and we focused largely on not talking about the obvious–mineral makeup. We elected early on to create dialogue about color theory, product application, trends, skin care benefits and compete in consumer media titles like Allure, “W”, Elle, etc. Also because her name was on the label we wanted editors to have a personal relationship with her, so we had several press trips, teas, luncheons, etc. where Jane was the personal focus talking about her life, things that she is passionate about and how she was inspired to create new products. These pitches were then put out on blogs, social media pages, You Tube and other digital magazines that, traditionally, her competitors would not touch. It created a very high online seeding for her brand and caused traditional media to take notice. We communicate today from the bottom up, back door to the front and rather than preach, we try to inspire and give as much “how to” advice as possible.

 

“Professionally, the firm was recently honored by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in America. Our goal right now is to maintain what we have created and continue to do great work for our clients.”

How do new beauty trends, such as organic products, offer challenges and opportunities to beauty companies?
It’s interesting right now with the economy to see where green will really go. We were one of the first firms to focus on green with Kiss My Face, Yonka Paris, Lavera from Germany and many others however, the media today is looking for things that perform as claimed and are reasonably priced. Though the origins of where a brand comes from and how the products are developed are important, there are still plenty of consumers out there who don’t care about green just as there are consumers who exclusively only use green. Brands that are true to this space will continue to thrive and brands that green is not part of their DNA should focus on what makes their brand special rather than cloning ideas that may not be original to who they really are.

Media Oasis

What are some of the best PR strategies for creating a positive buzz around a new beauty and fashion product?  
An ample supply of samples and products for the media to test, use and take home. Well crafted story pitches around the brand, support for the media outlet to get what they need, availability for the consumer to purchase the product and an expert should be available to act as a sound board to the press, specifically one who is not employed by the brand, but is somewhat neutral who can act as an industry guide. Lastly, a realistic projected timeline of one year to get the message delivered into all media channels.

What does it take to start a beauty PR firm?
For me it took being connected to the media, being relative in what our work portrays with the industry, tons of energy as you will put in around 18 hours a day in the beginning, love and support from your family and friends, as they won’t see you for a while during the start-up phase. 

Media Oasis

Media Oasis

You came up with a brilliant concept of ‘Media Oasis’. What is it, and what other innovations in PR would you like to see happen?
The origin of the Media Oasis stemmed from our clients asking us to provide services in a controlled environment where the brand’s integrity would not be compromised with the media present. When I sat down with Edward Thornton, the architect who worked with me on the space, we knew we wanted something special and were onto something quite unique. My vision of the Media Oasis was to have the feel of a very modern day resort, while still maintaining the function of a large corporate office.  Edward and I transformed what would normally be a nicely decorated corporate office into a retreat, not only for the many magazine editors that visit our New York office, but also for the employees of Pierce Mattie Public Relations.  The results of which we are very proud of;  part work, part relaxation, less stress, better living and going home with peace of mind. Our 4, 000 square foot space encompasses a spa treatment room, lobby with an elevated hair and makeup studio, shampoo room and spacious lounge. Guests of the Oasis can receive exclusive facial treatments, body massages, manicures and pedicures, aromatherapy sessions, chemical peels and body treatments in the spa treatment room based on which brand is being pitched at that time. The shampoo room is the perfect fit for scalp treatments and hair processing.  Media professionals have hands-on opportunities to learn avant-garde hair styling trends and makeup application as well as color forecasting in the makeup and hair studio. The lobby transforms into an exercise room and yoga studio where mats lay flat for instructional evening classes and the Media Oasis would not be complete without a lounge where exotic cocktails and specialty drinks are stirred up for happy hour and editor tastings. The ambience created at the Media Oasis is truly an industry first.
Pierce Mattie PR has always been a step ahead; in 2001 we used to have a toll-free 24 hour hotline for the press that was active for about four years before the popularity of the blackberry took over. We have continued to publish trend forecasts in various volumes for the industry to get inspired and stay current with various topics.
Future innovations for us would be global pitching, that means pitching from our Los Angles or New York office to members of the press in India, the Middle East and China. We are working in 2009 on how to master this.

 

What is the best part of your job?
Three things: First, reading a magazine or watching a TV show and seeing our clients featured. Second, when my team busts in my office door with good news and they have a real charge of energy from their work and lastly, knowing that we are doing what our VP in LA, Edy Eliza, refers to as “perception changers.” This is where we help brands evolve, have new voices and vamp up their opportunities for true growth.

My dream is to become a host on television interviewing the who’s who of the fashion, beauty industry, and celebs. What PR strategy would you recommend for me?
I love watching the hosts on QVC as hey have such a polished personality and are able to keep dialogue moving about fashion/beauty topics. I am over the question of “What are you wearing, ” but more importantly hosts should teach their viewers at home how to get that look, overcome obstacles, share stories that may be embarrassing, but have good lessons and most importantly have a high level of transparency with the person they are interviewing. I don’t see that very often in this sector as it’s mostly centered on celebrity usage and price points. I would advise you to stay on point, know your audience and be willing to get real with them. Host it from the inside of your bathroom, etc. Creativity will set you apart from everyone else.

Who would you love to invite to your ultimate dinner party?
I would most likely have an eclectic mix of the newbie’s with the experienced running from gay to straight, socially liberal to conservative and the up-and-coming with the uber wealthy. My list would include: Holly Carter from People Magazine, as we go back a decade; Artist Antonio Pio Saracino, whose work was recently featured at the Europalia Festival in Brussels, Belgium; Christian Cota, his collection this year has been inspiring and quite lovely; Chad Hayduk, creator of Three Custom Color – his views on color theory always make good dinner discussions; Warren Buffett, as he continues to inspire all business owners; Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, to add some liberal religion to the mix; Liz Smith for the good, real and dirty gossip; Muffie Potter Aston for the social perspective; dress designer Peggy Jennings, as her use of fabrics and shapes are most luxurious; Sylvia Weinstock, in hopes that she would bring some desert for that night and Hillary Clinton, though she didn’t get make the ticket for President, we still love hearing her speak and she is an amazing conversationalist.

What’s next for you?
Professionally, the firm was recently honored by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in America. Our goal right now is to maintain what we have created and continue to do great work for our clients. Personally, I am engaged to get married in March 2009 to my fiancé, Skie Ocasio. The wedding planning is almost complete. My groomsmen are hosting my shower for me this month at the Russian Tea Room and we are going to have a great time. I am looking forward to spending my life with Skie and starting a family.

It was a pleasure to interview Pierce, you can find out more about his ever growing agency and some of the specific campaigns they are working on by visiting their corporate site: www.piercemattie.com

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