Aaron Berstler is every bit the hard-nosed B2B PR expert, and has the scars to show for it. Over his more than 17 years at Kohnstamm, he has pulled off every conceivable major media tour, product launch, food safety recall, and withstood untimely client-side re-organizations and staff changes — all without missing a beat.
His hair and wry smile have remained remarkably intact through it all. It’s not like Aaron looks for things to go south — he just knows that when you’re managing company reputations on multilayered, sensitive topics, twists and turns are the norm. And yet, they cannot be at the expense of executing the core plan, and meeting the client CEO’s abiding expectations. There are a lot of excuses to be had in this business, yet Aaron buys into none of the CYA attitude that is so insidious in the earned media world — particularly when we’re talking about business and industry communications programs.
Clients are drawn to Aaron because he is a total student of their technology, their regulations, their subject-matter. So, despite his mild-mannered appearance, there always seems to be that moment when we’re first getting to know a new client and the conference room goes quiet after Aaron has made one of his signature observations, and the client confirms that we just put our finger on the heart of their problem. It takes total immersion into the client’s world, but that is where success in B2B PR truly begins. That comprehensive understanding of the salient details is also where earned trust and partnership with clients originates, and one universal truth around Aaron Berstler is that his clients totally trust his management and stewardship of their PR programs.
From his earliest base of PR providing stellar business media relations coverage, Aaron’s leadership has layered on for his group a robust arsenal of capabilities including: the creation of client advisory boards, sophisticated surveys, regulatory affairs analysis, moderated webinars, videos, infographics, technical bulletins, white-papers, advanced measurement tools, multimedia newsrooms, global media capabilities, and much more. These additional capabilities have addressed the needs of a growing list of clients who must reach a global footprint, such as 3M, First Advantage and Red Wing Shoes. It has also seen Aaron increasingly play an invaluable role in the C-Suite, providing message mapping, media training, speaker training and placement, which are all necessary to equip our clients to perform effectively as thought leaders in the cutthroat marketplace of ideas.
Aaron’s biggest impact, perhaps, is defined by his compassion. The parent of three in a wildly kinetic multicultural family, the Berstlers somehow fit it all in — hosting off-the-plane New American refugees from Congo, Somalia and Iraq, coaching pee-wee basketball, involvement in the adoption community, social justice through their church and somehow more. You can quickly see why Aaron holds the ethical bar quite high: because making our world and our work a fairer place is largely within our grasp. It just takes a bit of work and a commitment to dig in and truly understand to make that happen. The story is ours to write, Aaron would say, so let’s make it happen!