Maxim Behar for “Totalprestige” Magazine: There is no elevator to success, you should take the stairs
The Best PR Professional in Europe (according to the international competition PRWeek Global Awards 2020) for 2020 Maxim Behar appears on the cover of the prominent "Totalprestige" magazine. In an interview for the media he shares priceless lessons about his professional development before and after launching M3 Communications, about the changes in the industry, and about the achievements and knowledge that transformed him into a respected “communications guru” for over three decades.
Maxim, M3 Communications Group, Inc. provides a full range of communications services. Before we get into the company, however, let’s look at your past in the communications industry. What led you into the communications sector?
I was a journalist for many years and suddenly one day got a quote by Winston Churchill saying “You can achieve a lot of things with journalism, but you should know when to quit…” So, I did, but also, I was considering this change as an upgrade of my media career, as something which is more sophisticated, as the next peak to climb in my life. And I must admit that I was right.
In 1981, you began a career in journalism in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. What was it like to be a journalist in those countries during the 1980s and what did you learn from the experience to help you in the future as a communications expert?
It was a completely different world. On the one hand, there were so many emotions and hopes in Eastern Europe. In the whole of human history, no government or personality had made even an attempt to transfer the centralized economy into market one. So, Poland was the first back in 1989 and I had the great chance to be a journalist there and to be a witness of dramatic historical changes. Then it was Hungary, Czech, East Germany collapsed, Bulgaria… Each country with its specifics, achievements and disappointments.
Back in Bulgaria, I founded together with a group of Friends one of the first private independent daily newspapers – Standard. It was, in fact, the first media in the country which stood steady behind free market values and was even slightly conservative. I spent almost three years in the position of managing editor responsible both for the editorial content, but also for the business development and sales departments. It was really a great school for me, the first one in the environment of free competition, an environment in which I have spent all my life since then.
Answering straight to your questions – the most important lesson I’ve learned spending almost 15 years in journalism is that freedom of speech is the “mother” of all freedoms and the absolute base of each democracy. Of course these days “freedom of speech” has an absolutely different meaning, keeping in mind the “tsunami” of social media, but let me tell you, whatever changes could happen in the global media landscape, freedom, integrity, transparency and ethics always will be the very base of every communication (and not only) business.
You have been labeled as a “communications guru” by clients and others in the industry. How did you receive this label and when did you realize communications was something you excel at?
All my life related to communications. It is widely known that when I was 13-years old “publishing” a neighborhood newspaper called – I don’t remember why in English – Daily News. It was just in five copies typed on a typing machine with indigo paper. Since then, everything I do is dedicated to learning and innovating in the field of communications and management. For all those 25 years in business, I received global awards, but the latest one I got at the end of May this year really flattered me. The global edition of PRWeek announced me as “The Best PR Professional in Europe” for 2020.
If you happen to come to our main office in Sofia, it will be easy to see the sign on each stair from the ground to the first floor where our offices are: “There is no elevator to success, you should take the stairs”. This is the main understanding of how people must develop their business. And then it is learning, learning, learning. Every day. That’s what we do in M3Communications Group, Inc. and the result is not only receiving tens of very high level international and local awards but mainly happy clients and amazing teams.
You can read the whole interview here: https://bit.ly/3hdfBrF