Melanie Marten started the boutique public relations firm The Coup in 2010. The Coup operates from offices in Berlin, Germany, and for two years from Athens, Greece, to create a portfolio of global media coverage for startups, brands, global enterprises, and their thought leaders.
Under the motto ‘Support local, go global’, Melanie spearheads the implementation of social impact activities of brands and companies for a 360° approach in creative campaigns.
Melanie is also the founder of PRontheGO.com, a DIY PR platform startup.
Melanie, can you start off by telling us about yourself and why you chose the marketing profession?
A knack for trends and a high appreciation for creative and innovative entrepreneurship led me into public relations early on, where I could go out as a chief storyteller and tell the stories of founders, all of whom are unique and inspiring. When I was 25 years old, I started The Coup as a boutique public relations firm and knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Now, 12 years later, I have expanded my entrepreneurial ventures, but public relations remains my passion.
Can you tell us what drives you to be successful as a PR / Marketing executive, and entrepreneur?
I consider it an honor when a committed entrepreneur decides to work with me. Public relations must be handled sensitively and often companies entrust me with a large part of their marketing budget as an investment. I understand how important it is to get a return on that investment, and it is my entrepreneurial pride to always deliver the best I can.
At the same time, I am raising my profile as a PR expert, and I simply have the drive to be known as one of the best in my profession. This drive stems from an appreciation of life time, where I choose to become the best version of myself rather than just working for a paycheck.
Tell us about your role and your vision of your company.
I am the owner of The Coup Public Relations, and about to extend the team in Athens, Greece; a hub that I found full of untapped creative talents. We’re (hopefully) in the final stages of pandemic restrictions, and can soon kick-off office and team life again, where we will also exploit on the beautiful location with in-person events, showroom exhibitions and art installations again with a global audience that loves to travel for special reasons that combine business with fun and network extensions. Also, we will launch the mobile app PRontheGO – a DIY PR solution for entrepreneurs in the creative industries.
What’s the one or two accomplishments that you’re proud of?
If you set your mind on success and to make your own luck, you will meet people along the way who will open their network to you or give you good advice. However, I will say that it is an accomplishment to have built a thriving business without ever receiving any funding. People I meet these days assume I come from an affluent background, when the exact opposite is true. I was raised by a teenage mother who struggled to make ends meet, and I had to earn a living and fill the fridge early on.
I built my business independently, and I only ever did exactly what I wanted to do, and only worked with people I wanted to work with, and I am proud of that. Ultimately, entrepreneurship should allow you to do just that: stay true to your own values.
What advice do you have for other up-and-coming young entrepreneurs in Public Relations?
Stay up to date. Read news from different parts of the world every day and follow industry news from your customers’ sectors. This is the only way to identify the trends you need to anticipate early.
Are you active on social media professionally? If so, what platforms work best for engaging your followers?
I’ve only ever been on social media professionally. Otherwise, I despise the distraction. I use MEDIUM as a social media channel for content for PRontheGO. I also use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with journalists. These 3 channels are great for B2B purposes. Of course, if you are in B2C or lifestyle, you can get great interaction from Instagram and TikTok.
What is the major difference between being a Publicist and an Entrepreneur? Any comparison?
A publicist or PR professional is a service-based business that requires less investment compared to entrepreneurs that have their own products. This is the biggest difference. Entrepreneurs with real products have to take care of and finance manufacturing, worldwide shipping, logistics, etc. – a big task. Same for entrepreneurs with software solutions – product development requires a big amount of project management and time. A publicist, on the other hand, can open her or his laptop from anywhere and get results within a day.
Who was your biggest influencer?
I was greatly impressed when I first read “PROPAGANDA” by Edward Bernays, the founding father of the public relations discipline. I am aware that Bernays is not popular with everyone because he used his PR skills in campaigns for ventures with questionable ethics. But just judging from the book, he used the first insights of mass psychology available at the time and developed a script on how to influence people. I would add that it is important to use these tools only for good and for ethical entrepreneurship.
What is the most challenging part of your work as a Founder & CEO?
For me the challenge has always been the work-life-balance. Like many entrepreneurs, I am a workaholic. I thrive under stress. The more I take on, the more I get done, and the more creative ideas I have, the more partnerships I generate, etc. But you can only do this in phases since the body and mind need rest, otherwise there is just collapse.
What do you have your sights set on next?
I am exploring many different business opportunities and am also in the process of becoming a partner in two companies that I have helped succeed through PR. Serial entrepreneurship is the goal.
What is a day in your life like?
At the moment it is still coined by pandemic restrictions with most of my work day done from home. I compose content articles and press releases, review interviews, am on calls with journalists, clients, teams and partners, take my time to call a couple of friends in the afternoon, and, if we are allowed because of the restrictions, finish the day in a Greek taverna. Usually the life of a publicist involves a lot of face-to-face meetings, business travel and event attendances. I can’t wait to get that back!
Do you have any hobbies?
My hobbies change every couple of years, I like to try many different new things. I am German and at the moment I use my free time to improve my Greek language skills.
What makes you smile?
Spending quality time with friends.
What are you never without?
What scares you?
The state of the world. Mass propaganda that still works successfully around the world to manipulate people, even though we should have learned by now that history repeats itself and should be critical thinkers. The destruction of nature with the cannibalization of resources and the extinction of species. We might know better by now. Still, we don’t act on it. One step forward, two steps back is what I am seeing every day. It is absolutely shocking.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
The new office in Athens gives me the opportunity to enjoy the Mediterranean breeze and explore the countless Greek islands without having to spend a lot of time and effort traveling. Each Greek island is absolutely unique and I can just jump on a boat and travel to one of the thousand islands for the weekend.