May 12th 2022

Behind the scenes of a growing industry.

As part of the MCI Alumni & Friends lecture series, MCI | Entrepreneurial School® was pleased to welcome Johanna Rief, Director Public Relations at WOW Tech Group/Lovehoney Group.



MCI alumna Johanna Rief first entered the PR industry as part of an internship during her bachelor's degree in Management & Law. She later moved into the adult industry, a market estimated 35 billion US dollars of worth, where she has now been working for eight years. Rief is currently Director of Public Relations and the face of the Lovehoney Group, which is now one of the largest companies in the global market with over 800 employees in seven countries.

According to Rief, PR and marketing are particularly challenging in this industry. On the one hand, the topic of sexuality is often inherits the same taboo-level as cigarettes, alcohol and gambling addiction in the media, which is why advertising is restricted, blocked or even banned in some cases. For this reason, business partners or sponsors are often reluctant to cooperate, as well. On the other hand, the cultural factor plays a major role on an international level, as the marketing of products in rather conservative countries has to be particularly careful - in contrast to countries like Austria and Germany, which Rief counts among the most open countries. The classic way of marketing is not always possible in this industry, which is why personal recommendations are considered particularly important. Since the taboo still exists despite society's growing openness in this area, "anonymous" e- commerce works best, which also increases the use of influencer marketing.

Finally, Rief shares her experiences and tips she has been able to take away from her career path so far. First, she stresses how important it is for her to listen to her gut when making decisions and take any learning opportunities that come her way. Secondly, the fun of working in a well-functioning team and the passion for the topic enable her to enjoy going to work every day. And finally, she tells young people to be courageous, honest and persistent and to always communicate their goals and wishes openly, whether with customers, colleagues or superiors.