Welcome to “Her PR Journey,” an illuminating series of interviews spotlighting influential women making waves in the world of public relations. In this edition, we’re thrilled to dive into the captivating career narrative of Oksana Muse, a Global Communication Strategist & Creative Producer.
Join us as we uncover the unique insights and experiences that have shaped her remarkable journey in the realms of media, marketing communications, and creative content production.
A Dialogue with Oksana Muse, Communication Maverick
PRNEWS.IO: Before we dive into the discussion, could you please introduce yourself to our audience and provide a brief overview of your journey in the realms of media, marketing communications, and your current role as a Global Communication Strategist & Creative Producer?
Oksana Muse: Overall, my 15-year career has taken some twists and turns, involving shifts across industries and countries. Always adventurous and passionate about languages, writing, music, events, entrepreneurship, and communications, I managed to obtain a Masters in Management of International Trade and Digital Communications. I’ve worked in TV, creative advertising agencies and productions, and directly with international brands whose missions and ambitions were too exciting not to support. All of this while starting from scratch in three different cities around the world – Kyiv, Dubai, and Prague. Now, I’m a solopreneur and freelancer providing marketing communications services and creative content production. Among my latest projects are a brand photo shoot for The Julius Prague Hotel (Julius Meinl Living) and brand communications for Fairo App (a project of Raiffeisenbank International).
PRNEWS.IO: With your diverse background in journalism, film production, advertising, digital marketing, and PR, how has your education in CIPR and the SEO course from Stanford Continuing Studies contributed to your success in the field of global communication strategy and creative production?
Oksana Muse: I have always believed that the best investment one can make is in oneself. That’s why, alongside expenditures on family, travel, beauty, and health, my annual budget has always included education. English-language institutions with excellent reviews, reputations, and affordable prices have been my go-to. For me, studying is more about gaining knowledge than networking. I enrolled in the SEO course at Stanford Continuing Studies to enhance my SEO skills, which I consider essential for every communicator. The CIPR course has helped me assess and elevate my professional level while gaining a comprehensive understanding of my industry’s landscape. The lectures by PR futurist Stuart Bruce were remarkably topical and insightful. I’m committed to continuing my studies alongside my roles as a wife and mother because it’s my extra superpower, providing motivation and confidence in life and the future.
PRNEWS.IO: Having worked as a PR manager at Euro RSCG Kiev (now Havas Village UkraineKyiv) and later in roles that involved corporate and brand communications at Ensana and Fairo, how would you define the key differences between corporate and brand communications, and how do these distinctions influence your strategic approach?
Oksana Muse: When I first started in PR, it was B2B communications – writing press releases about the agency’s projects, maintaining relationships with niche business media that covered advertising news, submitting ads for awards, organizing corporate events that helped to enhance the agency’s image internally, even birthday gifts for the agency’s clients were on my list of responsibilities. To be honest, after 3 years of the same looping activities, I was convinced I would never go back to PR. I quit and went back to production.
A few years later, my responsibilities expanded to include brand communications, and after working side-by-side with various industry professionals from different countries, I began to enjoy all the tasks related to PR in one way or another. Whether it’s pitching press releases, organising press tours, creating content for socials and the web, working with influencers, writing strategy, and simply finding stories that a brand can tell, the sea of possibilities and vast flights of fancy. This is the main difference with corporate communications.
PRNEWS.IO: Over your 15 years of international experience, you’ve witnessed changes in the Ukrainian PR landscape. Could you share insights into how PR practices in Ukraine have evolved over the past decade, and who were your inspirations in the earlier stages of your career compared to now?
Oksana Muse: In 2010, my PR inspirations were the heads of two PR agencies – Oksana Hoshva and Vladimir Dehtyarov. As strong professionals and proactive entrepreneurs, they were my influencers at that time. However, the PR industry in Ukraine was still far from global standards. Of course, what we are witnessing now with the global development of digital communications is a massive change. Just look at the new generation Z communications specialists emerging from Ukrainian startups like Reface, Headway, or Promova. Also, consider the innovative promotion of United24 campaigns. It’s fascinating to observe the influx of media specialists transitioning into marketing communications and the increasing number of Ukrainian communication specialists obtaining international qualifications. I believe Ukrainian PR specialists are now highly competitive with those in the EU and the UK, a far cry from the situation ten years ago.
PRNEWS.IO: How did your background in TV journalism shape your approach to communication, and what prompted the transition into the field of PR and advertising?
Oksana Muse: TV has given me an incredible knowledge of video content – from interviewing, scripting, creative storytelling, public speaking, nailing my communication skills to the technical part of the production. Now, whenever I need to use video or Q&A formats in my communications, I draw on my journalism experience.
PRNEWS.IO: Given your roles involving video and photo content creation, particularly during your time as a producer for Visit Dubai, how has your ability to create visual content played a role in enhancing your communication strategies throughout your career?
Oksana Muse: Being part of a massive content production and brand-building set-up for Dubai Tourism was an incredible opportunity to contribute my skills and work with amazing professionals around the world. As part of the visual content production, I worked hand in hand with the PR and social media departments, including influencers, social media formats and interactive content ideas to promote Dubai as the best travel destination in the world. Seeing how small contributions from different team players create a complete picture of the brand was incredibly insightful and helpful for my future work as a brand communications manager.
PRNEWS.IO: How has the nature of PR in startups, fintech, and luxury hospitality differed, and what unique challenges do these industries present?
Oksana Muse: What I’ve noticed is that not many start-ups rely on PR because it’s a long-term, big investment and they have to meet investors’ expectations in terms of ROI. Unless there’s a strong leader who is a so-called brand father and is willing to talk about his brand day and night. The hospitality industry is more stable and they know that if they invest in PR now, it will bring them sales sooner or later. Influencer marketing and press tours are some of the basics when it comes to brand communication for hotels.
PRNEWS.IO: You’ve worked in various countries like Ukraine, Czechia, the UAE, and the UK. How do the requirements and expectations for PR professionals differ across these regions, and what advice do you have for someone navigating these diverse markets?
Oksana Muse: In fact, I have worked with a number of communications specialists. The approaches are different. While the British are more about professionally calculated, structured plans with proper storytelling based on selective ideas, in CEE (Central and Eastern European) comms we see a lot of reliance on advertorials and paid articles. The Arab approach is usually based on building friendly personal relationships with influencers or publishers, so it’s usually a long-term commitment. When we had to prepare a promo video for the Dubai Shopping Festival at very short notice, thanks to the PR director’s connections, we managed to get up to 10 influencers to show up at the last minute. In Prague, for example, this would hardly be possible.
PRNEWS.IO: In your current role at Fairo, how do you perceive the significance of personal branding for a PR professional, and how has it impacted your career?
Oksana Muse: Personal branding, to me, centers on showcasing my expertise and accomplishments. I firmly believe that sharing tangible examples from my portfolio and highlighting the successes of the brands I work with builds deeper trust in my professional persona than simply sharing tips on AI tools and attending networking events. Currently, I am striving to establish myself as an autonomous marketing communication specialist and content producer. This endeavor prompts me to contemplate my brand, emphasizing a desire not to be tethered to any specific brand but rather to be recognized for my proficiency and skills. I aim to be the top-of-mind choice for CEOs, founders, or CMOs seeking a seasoned professional in brand communication, spanning the gamut from media relations and social media—the heavyweight champion of PR—to video content production, the most potent format in this domain. I’m also a mentor for Femme Palette, a global mentoring platform and community that helps individuals and businesses thrive through mentorship. It allows me to meet like-minded women, attend professional events, and offer my expertise to those who need it.
PRNEWS.IO: How do you view the role and representation of women in the PR industry, and what insights can you share regarding the challenges and opportunities for women in this field?
Oksana Muse: Aș per Enterie, a global network of independent PR firms, between 60% to 75% of PR specialists are women. They compete, they support each other, they inspire. Every year I see more and more communities for women in marketing and communications. To name a few: Girls in Marketing, Women in PR. But as another report states, only 30% of CEOs of leading PR firms are actually female.
So here’s the question: Do we really want to be in CEO positions, or are we happy doing what we do? 🙂 I love this blog article by Stuart Bruce, written 8 years ago but still relevant today: Seven things PR professionals can do to empower women on International Women’s Day. Closing the gender gap and creating a safe, family-friendly workplace is still a challenge for all of us, including those working in PR.
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