Nicola Amos, Associate Director, M18PR
New York City
Interview by Laura Piety
Can you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about what you do?
Sure. My name is Nicola Amos. I am currently the associate director at M18 PR, which is a hospitality and real estate PR firm. We also have a couple of design clients too, but hospitality and real estate is our main specialty. I work on the hospitality side.
What does your job entail on a day to day basis?
My job is to manage everybody underneath me in terms of the account coordinators, the account executives. My job is to manage my team on the accounts that I specifically work on, which include the NoMad, citizenM, the Line Hotel in Los Angeles, et cetera.
All the best accounts?
All the best accounts!
If you could describe what PR is in a couple of sentences, what would you say?
PR is about positively promoting a brand, product, or company to the general public by touching base with the client and understanding what message they want to translate to the public. For example, the NoMad is obviously a beautiful hotel. It's a top tier hotel. It has a certain price point and it's our responsibility to make sure that people understand the messaging in terms of that, the design, and the lifestyle that it promotes.
That's what my job in a nutshell. What it is not is partying all day and socializing, which I think is a misconception of my industry that really does it a disservice. There's a lot of work involved behind the scenes to make the things that you see and read about, and the clients that we work with, seem seamless.
How long have you been in PR? Obviously you're from London originally and moved to New York, can you talk a little bit about that and how you got here?
Absolutely. I had become a little disenchanted with London in the sense that I felt that there wasn't anything left in terms of my career that was either exciting or challenging me.
I actually started off in fashion PR in the UK. I was working for companies like Miss Sixty UK. That was one of my first real jobs in London, but it wasn't something that I felt best reflected my skill set. Ever since I was 18 years old, I'd always wanted to move to New York and specifically work in the city; not just be in New York for the sake of being in New York, but work here and live here. So I packed up one day - I'm 32 now - at around 24 or 25 and I traveled out.
I got a job within the first 3 months working for a fashion PR firm, before moving to a really well known company called Nadine Johnson. At the time she was repping Andre Balazs hotels, which included the Chateau Marmont, the Standard et cetera.
I really learnt, I guess, the bones of specifically PR in the US, which really is, to be clear, a money-making real job here! It's not some fluffy social thing - I think the positioning in the UK is a little different! Here, people really make money from PR and they really need it to filter through to the masses whatever it is that they want to say about their brand.
Nadine was a great gateway into this world. My clients at that time were Andre's LA account. It was the Chateau Marmont, the Standard Downtown, the Standard Hollywood. It was a great foot in the door of learning the business.
The thing that I really enjoyed about hospitality is that there are so many facets to it. There's the event side of things, whether it's a hotel opening, or collaborations that properties might do. The Standard, for example, did a collaboration with Quiksilver which I got to work on. They had a vending machine at the hotel that did board shorts and bikinis for guests. It was so fun. They ended up rolling it out to all of the other hotels throughout the US. Things like that were really fun.
In addition to that, it's a lot of location shoot requests where you get people that want to film or take photos at the hotel. There's just a lot to do, a lot of day-to-day that's involved with hospitality specifically. I found that really resonated well. Not only did I get to meet interesting people, but I was able to come up with collaboration ideas, bring people into the space, really share the experience of what it's like to stay at the hotel. I enjoy that for sure.
You touched on this briefly, but what drives you to do what you do?
For me it is an instinctual thing. I love speaking to people, as you probably know. Also I like reading. A massive part of what we do is reading; finding out what's going on in terms of current affairs, staying on top of that, looking to see what the next big thing is going to be. Whether it's a brand, whether it's a publication, or even just socially speaking, who are the ones to watch? Who's doing something new or different and how does that relate to projects that we can work on? For me that was very instinctual and I enjoyed doing it. Like, “Oh, great. I get to walk in and there's loads of magazines on the desk that I would read anyway and I have to read the papers? Great.” I do all that anyway.
Getting paid to do what you love.
Yes, I’m getting paid to do what I love. That was a big thing. It was really important to me that I did it in New York because I feel like PR started here and then went everywhere else. I wanted to go to the source and really learn what the skill set would involve doing it here.
When you moved from London, what were some of the biggest differences between the cities?
Writing styles, first off. Americans are a lot less wordy. Their writing style is a lot more precise and specific, whereas the UK is a lot more not flowery and we tend to say a lot to get to something that's very specific. It's beautifully written but it might be a page versus something that over here would only be like a handful of sentences. The writing style was probably one of the biggest things that I had to get over.
Even just how you write press releases here is very different to how you would write a release back home.
That's a really good point. So, obviously we're in New York at the NoMad. From here, what is your perfect day at the city?
At work and at play.
I definitely enjoy things like this. I love being able to meet with a journalist at one of our establishments, getting to know that person and again just figuring out ways in which we can collaborate and work together. You meet so many different people and they all have their own unique perspectives on things that there's always something for you to learn day to day.
If I'm not at work I like to chill. For example, I recently went to do a really basic New York activity- the Botanical Gardens. It was a beautiful day. I'm doing the Philharmonic on Wednesday. New York has so many wonderful free events that you can frequent. There's always an opening of some kind.
Give me 3 of your favorite New York hot spots, in addition to the hotels that you work with.
I have been frequenting the EDITION hotel which isn’t far from here. That's been really fun. I love visiting Omar's, which used to be a client of ours. Another reason why I like it is that Omar himself is an incredible host. It's almost like it's a Cheers bar where everybody knows your name, there's always a space for you and you're surrounded by your friends all the time. There's another restaurant called Il Buco Alimentari that's based right off of Bowery which I adore. I often do dinners there with friends. Anyone who I feel is amazing, I'm always like, "You've got to come and check out Il Buco.” It's one of my loves, one of my go-tos.
Now, the last question before we jump into lunch, how do you define great hospitality?
I think the key is always to be personal. It's so much easier to interact with people when you yourself are approachable, you listen and, again, you're open to whatever they have to tell you. Manners are also everything. That's what I always look for. I'm always going to frequent somewhere where I experience incredible customer service over and over again. I think that if you are in the hospitality industry that should always be your jumping off point: how you make other people feel.
For more information visit: http://m18pr.com
All images courtesy of https://www.thenomadhotel.com