Marcin Gruszka returns. To Allegro. However, he will not be the head of PR

In June 2019, he spectacularly left Play . Then he worked for a while to promote Booksy - a startup tapped to be the first Polish unicorn (editor's note of a company valued at at least $ 1 billion) - but due to COVID-19 he quickly left. In the meantime, he co-created the Techlove podcast.

He's back today. To Allegro. However, he will not be the head of PR. We talk to Marcin Gruszka about what he will be doing there and how PR has changed since his departure from Play.

Przemysław Pająk, Spider's Web: So you come back.

Marcin Gruszka: One headhunter once told me that I am ideally suited to a dynamic, innovative, ambitious, courageous company that grows and likes challenges. It sounds a bit abstract and not very realistic, and then Paweł from Allegro called and it turned out that such a company exists. And I am one of the 500 people that Allegro will employ this year.

Allegro? Does this mean that Paweł Klimiuk (editor's note, Allegro Communication Director) is leaving?

Paweł is my boss and nothing has changed in this position. Responsible for all PR and CSR. The intention is to further strengthen the role of product PR in Allegro. There is so much interesting going on in this company that we could basically send out a press release every day. At Allegro, communication plays a very important role in business processes, and PR employees are an immanent part of the business. Example? Some people who have worked in PR since spring are getting ready to move to other departments in the company. But this shows that Allegro is not a company like the others, but a very dynamic, action-focused company, where employees really develop, regardless of the department in which they are. For Paweł and for me, it is a challenge because you have to build a dream team from the beginning. Fortunately, a lot of good people are interested in working for Allegro.

Well, but how? Marcin Gruszka will be a regular employee of the PR department of Allegro?

I like your expressive questions. I don't approach it that way. Paweł knew perfectly well why he was choosing me and we have a very specific plan for it. Maybe I will not cut my fingers off like a dozen or so years ago, but I will be very visible in the brand's interest in various roles at the interface between traditional advocacy and being a brand hero in social media. Allegro is a brand that attracts ultra-talented people. Here you will find people who used to be on boards and are now in managerial positions like mine. Many people do not realize the potential of Allegro until it is here. I hope to help change this perception, which will be helped by the super strong team that I am creating. As they say in Allegro - it's good to be private Gruszka here.

What exactly will you be responsible for at Allegro?

Exactly for product PR - that is, for telling about what Allegro has to offer to customers and sellers - and this is an extremely important broad area at Allegro. Here you can buy everything, in addition, you have a lot of tools that make these purchases easier. And this is only one side of the transaction - the other is 100,000 companies that sell through the site. When I recruit someone, I say that I am looking for a universal and independent PR person who will be able to handle an audiobook, Allegro Pay, fashion, moto or promotion during Smart Week. For example, every day there are several thousand links with product recommendations on Allegro. Recommenders can make money on it, and we'll help them find out how to do it. The potential is huge and it turns me on a lot.

Did you miss PR?

I was actually doing something interesting in PR all the time. I read a few inspiring books on communication, met a lot of inspiring people related to PR, I am again a juror of the PR Golden Paper Clips. Most importantly, I did some really interesting PR projects for domestic startups. There are a lot of interesting projects on the market that accelerated in these specific times. I will only mention the Polish company Retail Robotics, which sets off to conquer the world with its robotic parcel machines. It sounds enigmatic, but you will see it will change the way we shop for groceries. A startup adventure is a very valuable experience and I learned a lot there. There is a lot of energy and passion in startups, and I feel it at Allegro as well, although here strategic thinking dominates, you have ambitious goals, but also strong structured support.

What about other projects you have been involved in? Techlove podcast, Polish unicorn Booksy?

Podcast is my hobby. I don't think this is the end of Techlove, but I can only be a guest there for obvious reasons. I believe the podcast will do well and I will be happy to listen to it. Interestingly, the podcast was developing very well, but PR people didn't notice it, which is a pity, because I believe that it is a very effective channel for precise and qualitative communication. Booksy will be 100% unicorn. The company is doing great and is implementing its plan. The crisis has strengthened the whole team a lot and now nothing will stop them. I am always willing to help Stefan (ed. Batory, Booksy's boss) and the team.

How was it with Booksy exactly? The cooperation failed, or are the circumstances just wrong?

The collaboration was perfect, but none of us foresaw the COVID-19 effect. I felt it painfully on my skin, but we didn't give up and Booksy's return to the game also in terms of communication was a great success. I am thinking about submitting this story to the competition, because it is worth showing to other PR people. Today, the loss-up situation is changing positively every day, Booksy is accelerating and signing new contracts, but Allegro is not being refused.

Heard you applied for other prominent PR jobs in this country. Is it true?

Yes, I was in exactly one, very interesting international trial, but for mysterious reasons it failed. But now, from the perspective, I think it was a very good thing, because I would not go to Allegro, and this is definitely a more interesting professional challenge, more interesting organizational culture and greater opportunities.

You didn't part with Play in super friendly circumstances, why?

Please let's not talk about it anymore. It was so long ago that I don't remember anymore. I keep my fingers crossed for the company because I am its small but faithful shareholder. I'm just transferring the number on business and somewhere deep at the bottom of my heart there was a pang. This topic should definitely be closed. My career is in a different place, the operator is a completely different player. It's nice that you ask about it, but I prefer to talk about the e-commerce future.

Is PR today different than when you left your previous company?

Evolution continues, but is it different? The foundations remain unchanged, there are new tools that work better, and some that work less well. Media changes, PR changes, it is a completely natural relationship.
There is a lot of talk about projects with influencers and you can argue whether it's still PR or marketing. Today, PR is a very broad category and you have to adapt to it and not restrict yourself to the orthodox scheme. I often hear that a project has great PR, because, for example, there are a lot of photos about it on Instagram. Examples can be multiplied and there is no need to deny it. I like such modern PR and I would like to be such a brand hero for Allegro brand.

Now it is not even on Instagram, but on Linkedin that communication is made.

Yes, my discovery is definitely Linkedin's potential. In the past, I saw them only as a tool for looking for a job, meanwhile, it is a great tool for building a brand image, which is still a bit neglected in Poland. For example, you are not there and a lot of people link to your texts there.

Is it possible to distinguish between PR and marketing today, or is it impossible anymore?

Everyone has an answer to that. At Allegro, we strongly focus on synergy and efficiency. Of course, there are spaces that are very sterile, like corporate PR, but in my product PR area, these spaces complement each other. Allegro is very active in communication and my task in the first weeks will focus on how to efficiently enter this process with PR activities.

On the other hand, you are very close to many journalists, you meet them on a social level. Do you think this is a good practice?

Relationships are very important and I will defend them to the end. Even commercial collaborations without good relationships may not be effective. It's a compromise and smart people know how to use it. We PR people manage and model information, and this is often a very subtle profession. Marketing is full automation. I would very much not want Spidersweb, which I read a lot, to change the automatic generator of press releases, so I really support your Spidersweb + initiative and there is room for substantial PR.

What kind of Marcin Gruszka will we see on Allegro? This crazy Playa from the beginning, or a serious gentleman in a tie serving a public company?

Active and effective At Allegro we have a lot of interesting information to convey to customers through the media and I'm going to not waste any opportunity. I have tailor-made suits, but so far I got 3 T-shirts with the Allegro logo, so I will not hesitate to use them.

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Marcin Gruszka returns. To Allegro. However, he will not be the head of PR

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