Meet Jessica Merz, Global Director of Corporate Communications at Bacardi-Martini. Jessica is a senior communicator who is passionate about helping organisations stand for something authentic. She has been working in communications for over 20 years, most recently at privately owned spirits firm Bacardi Limited.
Which websites do you visit daily for the scoop?
Since I’m in PR, I consume loads of media every day and I can’t say I have a preference necessarily, as they all give me something different, and are important to my role. Some of my morning inbox reads always include CMO Today from WSJ, The Broadsheet by Fortune, NY Times, AdWeek, AdAge Wake-Up Call, and of course industry and local news. I am Hispanic and was raised in Ecuador, so I also consume Spanish-language media to catch up on events back home and in my Latinx community.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A “no” sometimes just means “not that way”.
There have been projects I am passionate about that didn’t get the OK on the first round. It’s taught me to step back, rethink the approach, budget, timing and work on how to sell it in differently.
It’s a good lesson in knowing your audience’s needs and wants.
Give us your career story.
I feel very fortunate to have had a diverse upbringing with a mom from Ecuador, a dad from Germany, and an education at an international school. I learned very early on that across the globe we all have different ways to communicate and points of view. Being able to create connections with people from different backgrounds and to take time to understand and learn from their stories always fascinated me. So, a career in global communications was, in some respects, inevitable for me.
Those lessons helped me build a career across regions and industries - tech, logistics, security and spirits - all while advocating for sustainability and creating change.
What trend in our industry most excites you?
Consumers have shifted their focus more toward information than commercialism. This has been a trend for the past few years that has amplified because of the moment we are living in.
Now more than ever, people want to see how companies rise to the occasion to share what they are doing to help communities and create change.
PR has an influential role in helping organisations stand for something that is an authentic part of who they are.
What’s the secret to telling a good story?
Have a purpose and intention, whether it’s a call to action or to create emotion. Go into it knowing what you want your audience to get out of it. And a joke here and there can put everyone (including yourself!) at ease.