Amanda McConchie is an award winning communications specialist with a decade of experience within the media and public relations industries. We sat down with the newest member of the BDNZ family to talk about her new venture The Business of Influence.
Tell us about your career history, where did you get your start?
I interned at Showroom 22 under NZ’s fashion PR guru Murray Bevan, before turning my hand to journalism at Fairfax Media. I was editorial assistant on award winning magazine NZ Life & Leisure under the mentorship of one of the best editors in the southern hemisphere (award winning journalist and editor Kate Coughlan). To this day we are such great friends. In 2013, I jumped ship back to PR working among NZ’s most experienced PR mavens. Here I provided PR counsel and developed strategic campaigns for beauty giant, L’Oréal and the golden child of Kiwi start-ups; My Food Bag, among other boutique beauty, health and well-being clients.
Working under both Murray and Kate - both hugely successful entrepreneurs - instilled an eagerness to launch my own business one day. Ever since I have been trying to identify a niche and how I can share my experiences in an untapped market.
What is The Business of Influence’s specialty and point of difference?
Bridging the gap between talent agencies and public relations, I want to focus on delivering strategies that meet objectives for small business clients while also representing influencers on brand partnerships.
Through packaged services and a membership platform, I want to meet the demands of a generation of digital and small business entrepreneurs whose innovation, youth and strategic objectives don’t necessarily mesh with traditional agency methods and lengthy, costly campaigns. Hiring a PR agency is so expensive especially for small businesses. We want to be able to provide the tools and advice allowing them to continue implementing PR independently but more strategically and with more support.
I’ve worked with a start-up and helped build it as a reputable iconic brand. In establishing a start-up myself, I have a genuine love for working with these types of businesses. They might not have the big budgets to commit to long-term strategies but want to generate hype and awareness around their brand - I get such a kick being involved in that whole process!
How has social media shaped your business?
Social media has become a super power for advertising and brand awareness, and given it will continue to grow, better governance of influencer’s followings is becoming more and more important. Right now, there is very little regulation and even less advice or guidance in NZ – although that is changing. When working with influencers I want to be that person who advocates ethical practise while providing guidance and ongoing support. It can be so intimidating approaching or working with brands for the first time and not know when and what to charge for sponsored work.
For any business, social media is such an intrinsic part of the media space and right now this industry is going through a shift, just like magazines and newspapers had to. PR needs to evolve alongside these shifts, to leverage how brands and businesses are telling their stories. Essentially, as a PR we exist to inspire those stories, extend on a client’s advertising messaging and take these further to the masses – and the biggest reach we are seeing is through social.
What advice would you give someone who wants to get into the communications industry?
Every job I have landed has been through a word-of-mouth recommendation and to make these connections in this industry, you must be proactive, work hard and efficiently, believe in your unique skill sets and really put yourself out there. The industry is so competitive and very-brand-centric; remind yourself as a media or PR expert that you are a brand too. You need to be able to sell your services well to show that you can pitch stories to media, pitch content ideas to brands, pitch strategies to clients and so on. Our days are full of pitching! Be creative, have fun, reach out – people are so generous with their time when you want to prove your worth and you may just find yourself landing a dream gig in no time.
(Pictured: A full day of meetings for @amandamcconchie)
How do you stay ahead of the curve?
Lots of reading. The first hour of every morning is spent on current affairs, pop culture and industry updates. Through starting my own business, I have learned so much in the space of four months than I might have in the last year or so!
I sign up to industry-led websites to keep on top of what is trending internationally and what regulations are being put in place for Influencer Marketing. My go-to’s are: The Business of Fashion, PR Daily, Marketing Week, Social Media Today, Activate, PR Couture and Campaign UK. Locally I always keep up to date with StopPress, Beauty Directory, Idealog and M+AD Daily.
Who are three up and coming influencers we should be keeping our eyes on?
Sarah Murray – (@searsmurray). Ever the glamourous lady, she launched her blog Day Dot for the style-conscious mum not long after giving birth to her first son Rafferty. She is the epitome of chic style and with her professional journalism background, she really delves into the issues surrounding new mums who often struggle with losing their identity when priorities of raising a family come before their happiness. It’s a refreshing reminder that we should never feel guilty for pampering ourselves often – we don’t do it enough!
Rebecca Bradley – (@bexxbradley) – Bex is a fellow PR girl and self-taught photographer. Her bio reads ‘adventure lover’ – she tastefully documents her intrepid travels in our backyard or abroad through her blog The Thing Is. She has recently started working with brands on partnerships and is a great example of authentically tying brands into her lifestyle. I never feel like I’m being bombarded with constant consumerism, like a lot of other social influencers.
Samantha Herewini (@samantha_herewini) – Samantha is based in Queenstown and really showcases the uniqueness and beauty of her life in this rugged region. I’m always inspired by how she pulls together her outfits that reflect the greys and neutral tones of the natural backdrops she lives around.
What does your skincare regime consist of?
I turned the big 3-0 this year and to celebrate, I completely overhauled my beauty regime. I suffer from hormonal acne and recently moved to Shanghai therefore exposed to much more pollutants so needed products that ticked all those boxes.
The tried and true Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser has been my go to since I was 14 battling cystic acne. It’s so gentle on my skin. The rest of my regime comprises of Clarins which I have used on and off for years and seems to be the only range that keeps my acne and oiliness in check.
I have quite large pores which is probably a big factor for the acne so I tone using Clarins Lotion Tonique with Iris and then follow with Clarins Double Serum for added nourishment. My skin sucks all that moisture right up! Then I use Clarins’ anti-pollutant range: Multi-Active Jour SPF 20 and Multi-Active Yeux Eye Reviver.
At night I remove makeup using Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water and then repeat the above but switch out the day cream for the Clarins Multi-Active Nuit – it's delicious smelling and really reminds my brain it’s lights-out time.
I exfoliate twice a week using Vanessa Megan Pre-biotic + C Brightening Exfoliator and every Sunday is a DIY spa day which comprises a hot soak in the bath wearing Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask. I flit between Shanghai and NZ for work so this is my must have for on the plane too!