Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with the queen of content creation, Xenia Muntean, co-founder and CEO of Planable:

Carlota Pico 0:13
Hi everyone, I’m Carlota Pico from The Content Mix, and I’m excited to be here today with Xenia Muntean, who is CEO and co-founder of Planable, which is a TechStars London accelerated marketing startup that she’ll tell us more about very soon. And on top of that, she also has over seven years of experience in marketing, and communications. Welcome, Xenia, and thank you so much for joining us today on The Content Mix.

Xenia Muntean 0:39
Hello, everyone. Thank you so much, Carlota, for having me on the show.

Carlota Pico 0:43
The pleasure is ours, Xenia. Well, I cannot wait to start picking your brains on the ins and outs of what it’s like to be a female founder within the marketing space. But before we get to that, could you tell me a little bit about your background experience and how you got to where you are today?

Xenia Muntean 0:59
Yeah, definitely happy to do that. So before Planable, I actually had a Social Media Marketing Agency. So I was in the world of social media marketing and advertising, since my second year of university. I always, I actually studied PR and communication. And I started my first business on the benches of my university. I was building lots of content for clients back home, lots of social media management, campaigns, branding, websites—all of that everything digital, everything digital marketing and content. And that’s when I discovered one of the challenges that we’re currently solving at Planable, which is the entire process of collaboration on content. I really did not enjoy working in spreadsheets and the entire back and forth of emails when you’re trying to communicate around content when you’re trying to plan content and when you’re trying to coordinate the entire process of building and aligning yourself as a team around content. And that was a challenge that I discovered when I was working together with my team to produce content for my clients, but also when I was working with clients to get approvals on feedback from them. So I really, I really didn’t enjoyed the process, I thought that we as marketers deserve, deserve a more pleasant way of working. And that’s kinda how Planable got born, from this entire struggle that I had and just trying to solve my own problem, we developed Planable to help other marketers like myself to have a more productive way of working on content.

Carlota Pico 2:36
Okay, excellent. So what is Planable? Would you be able to give me your thirty second elevator pitch?

Xenia Muntean 2:41
Yes, very TechStars style. So Planable is a collaboration tool for social media teams to work together on posts that they’re planning for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. So they have a very neat and very visual content calendar where they plan content, they can discuss, leave feedback on content, coordinate the content, and there’s also an approval system. So it’s an entire end-to-end workflow to help social media teams get from an idea to publish.

Carlota Pico 3:16
Okay, excellent. Well, I can obviously tell that you’re very passionate about marketing and social media in particular. And on top of that, you were also named as Forbes 30 Under 30. So could you tell me what makes you passionate about marketing and in particular, about social media? Why is it so exciting?

Xenia Muntean 3:36
Yeah, that’s, that’s actually a very, very good question. It takes me back to my teenage years. I think I’m passionate about advertising long, long before I knew what advertising was. I was just, you know, reading billboards on the street and my mind was wandering on how could I improve them? How could I make them better? And I didn’t know you know anything about marketing and advertising. I was not labeling it so. But I remember that I always was attracted of, like this part of commercial communication. And I was also super passionate with design. I learned Photoshop and I think my seventh grade, and I really loved designing and the visual, the aesthetics of everything. The websites, the apps, I always was super attracted on how things look. And I think combined with the fact that I really enjoyed writing when I was very young, I think this combination of visual and writing may be a perfect candidate for the advertising world. And that’s how my passion for this industry started.

Carlota Pico 4:42
Wow. Okay. Your parents must be extremely proud as a seventh grader learning already how to design. Wow.

Xenia Muntean 4:48
Yeah, well, I don’t think you know too much about it. I wasn’t designing anything, you know, award winning. I was just tinkering with it, but I really enjoyed it. Yeah, it was really fun. A good way to spend your summer.

Carlota Pico 5:02
Beautiful, beautifully put. I recently came across one of your past interviews in which you define success as effectively transforming the marketing industry. So could you elaborate more on that comment? How would you define the marketing industry today? And what would you like the future of marketing to look like?

Xenia Muntean 5:23
Wow, that’s that’s an important question, I think, first of all, and, quite a tough one. You got me there. I think the way I would define the marketing industry right now is transformative a bit, we’re going through this revolution as a marketing industry. And especially I think this was especially highlighted now, during Coronavirus, and this entire pandemic that we’re going through. People, marketers have started reevaluating everything they’ve been doing so this is a very revolutionary time for us. Of course, it’s one we didn’t choose to do this revolution for ourselves, but we are asking lots and lots of questions about what should what should we do as marketers, what should success look like? What are the things that you know—the ROI? What should we prioritize as marketers with this, you know, big…with this pause on paid media, with this rise in content production. I think many of us—and many brands out there— have wished that they started producing content earlier than right now. So I think this is definitely a very, very— it’s a it’s a milestone for us, for the industry. And, you know, in a few years time, we’re going to look back and we’re going to realize how monumental and historical this moment was for everyone. I hope I hope that’s going to be the change. I hope that things are actually going to make an impact for us. I think I can already feel that in the in industry. I can already see how much more content is being prioritized, the production of content and how much more marketers and brands are willing to jump into producing content at a very low level, very authentic just with, you know, maybe with their iPhone and stuff like that— content that looks very human and user-made. I think that’s, that’s something that we’re seeing more and more, and I’m actually very excited about what this is going to bring new to the industry.

Carlota Pico 7:31
Okay, so then my next big questions and yeah, how do you foresee Planable playing a role in that transformation?

Xenia Muntean 7:39
Yeah. I love the question. I love that you’re asking me that, too. With more and more content. With this new demand of producing more content, you need a very solid way to work as a team so your operations need to be bulletproof. Because if things get stuck, and your processes, you’re not going to have the ability to move fast. And especially now, during this entire Coronavirus pandemic that we’re going through, you need to move super super fast, you need to release content very fast. And if your operations are not solid, you’re not going to be able to do that you’re going to be stuck in approvals, you’re going to be stuck in finding files and some lost Drive folder. So everything needs to be super, super organized, and you need to spend as little time as possible. Because time is so much more of an essence right now. You need to be spending as little time as possible on tedious tasks that could be automatized. So here’s this is where plantable comes into the equation. Because we do offer this very smooth and seamless workflow where teams can produce content…can produce posts for social with ease, and the experience is very streamlined, so that really saves a lot of time in the process and allows you to build more and more content in the future.

Carlota Pico 9:09
Okay, and now looking at the role specifically as an entrepreneur, what have you learned during these very unstable and difficult times due to the health pandemic?

Xenia Muntean 9:21
Yeah, I think just the lesson that is top of mind is always be prepared. It’s just so important to expect the unexpected and not get comfortable. I feel like you always need as an entrepreneur to be in this state of, I don’t know, alert almost. Because you never know what can happen and you might feel like things are going well, and then you know—a pandemic—the most unexpected thing can happen and it just flips your world, and you know, it’s totally changes the way you operate. So you need to be prepared. And obviously, you can’t prepare for everything, but you can prepare yourself internally to be able to react to unexpected things with ease. So that’s what I’m, you know, talking when I, when I’m saying, you know, always be prepared, always be prepared for unexpected things to happen. I guess that’s the lesson I took from all of this.

Carlota Pico 10:28
As a former entrepreneur myself, as I mentioned, while we were off the record, I know how hard it is to think about anything else, but work, but your project. That was a column that I used to face every single day. It would be a Saturday, a Sunday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and I still be thinking about my projects, and about what I was doing. So looking back on your experience, what did you do to burn out to choose me to combat burnout, isolation or anxiety?

Xenia Muntean 10:57
Yeah, that’s such a crucial, an important thing in entrepreneurship. You need to find hobbies and alternative things to do with your life. And that was really hard for me actually, that was one of my challenges. And to just disconnect from the work that I’m doing, and also super hard to find anything else to excite me as much as Planable and what we’re doing here, so had to force myself into finding something to do that I loved. Recently, I go hiking quite a lot. We have beautiful mountains here in Romania, where I’m currently based, and it’s just, it’s lovely. It really takes your mind off everything and it really gives you a perspective, you know, being isolated and being you know, on top of the world. It just really gives you a different perspective on things. And everyone you know, needs to find have their own thing. But it’s just so so crucial to find something to help you just clear up your mind from time to time.

Carlota Pico 12:08
Yeah, no, definitely. And it’s not only good for mental health, I think it’s also good for creativity, because that’s my experience when I was able to disconnect and the project that I was working on at that time, it was normally my most creative moments. So like that moment in time where I wasn’t able, or where I wasn’t supposed to be thinking about the project was actually the moments where I was the most creative that later on, yielded the best pivoting strategies, especially when I was going through challenges.

Xenia Muntean 12:38
Yeah, and that’s because when you’re at work you are in the moment, you are in the details, you’re in the project. So you’re very, very extremely focused and that’s good. But when you disconnect, your mind just wanders, and it goes to unexpected places that you wouldn’t go normally on a on a work day, and that’s, you know, where creativity is actually hidden, in those type of moments. So it totally makes sense to me.

Carlota Pico 13:04
Mm hmm. Well, as I mentioned, as well off the record, I used to work in Ukraine. I was based in Kiev for a while, and I was running a PR campaign for the former government. And I want to ask you about former Soviet Union states. So you’re originally from Moldova? As a female founder from a former Soviet Union state like Moldova, what career advice would you give to other women from a patriarchal society?

Xenia Muntean 13:33
God, that’s that’s a tough one as well. I think…just don’t think about it—just don’t listen. Don’t think about it. Don’t internalize it, just…resistance basically. I kind of managed to build some kind of resistance to things like that since I was very young. I don’t know why. But I just couldn’t—You know, I heard all the things, all the you know…everything that you hear in society is like that…what you know a woman is supposed to be doing, but it never stuck to me, lucky enough. It never stuck to me I, you know, I never took it in. So I think that’s extremely crucial to just resist to those things and you know, not let them make an impact in where you are and what you can do. And build up your confidence, like find ways, small wins, celebrate them all the time. I think confidence is extremely, extremely important and that’s, you know, societies that are very patriarchal, they do impact your confidence as a woman. So you know, just focus on finding ways to build that up. And just never, never let go of what you want to do and the passions that you want to do. Don’t listen to anybody, basically!

Carlota Pico 15:03
No, I love that advice. Always keep your purpose in mind and why you’re doing something and just go for it. I mean, they’re…you know, sky’s the limit or the stars or the moon or wherever you want to put the limit, that’s your limit, regardless of what sex you are or where you’re from. Okay…

Xenia Muntean 15:20

Carlota Pico 15:21
Moving into a lighter subject, which we’ve already talked about, obviously, because this is what Planable does. But as someone who lives and breathes social media every day, which social media campaigns have you admired lately? And why and obviously, feel free to zoom into one of your own campaigns.

Xenia Muntean 15:40
Oh, that’s a good question. So something that we built at Planable recently—and not necessarily a social media campaign—but, we we recently had a series of webinars where we talked…where we brought together marketers, and we talked about what is happening in the industry. And I feel that the best campaigns out there are the ones that actually bring a lot of value to your, to your, to your audience, to your users, to the ones that are following you. And I think that’s something that we’ve seen across the aisle during this entire period, during this entire pandemic, that the brands that people actually looked up to, were the ones that provided very meaningful and very useful content that actually helps. That’s the thing that people were looking after, you know, information, something helpful, something reassuring inspiration, as well, of course, but utility that was something that I noticed, was most attracting to people right now. And I think that’s something to keep in mind that the best campaigns are the ones like any product, right? A campaign is like a product. It needs to be meaningful, it needs to speak to your audience, but more than anything, it just needs to provide value to your audience.

Carlota Pico 17:00
Xenia, what you’re saying is music to my ears. For those of us watching our interview, they can just see me constantly nodding my head up and down, because I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying. Okay, we are moving into the last section of our interview, which will be your recommendations for audience. We call it our rapid-fire questions. So to get this section started off, I’d like to ask you about your source of inspiration. So an influencer or professional role model that you admire?

Xenia Muntean 17:30
That’s a good question. Let me think a bit… So a source of inspiration for myself… So I don’t usually follow personalities, I look at companies—maybe that’s because we’re in the b2b industry, and I really look up at companies and what they’re doing. And one company that is really, really inspiring for me today is InVision—that’s a company in the design graphics space. They’re building a collaboration app for designers. So that’s very obvious why I love what they’re doing. So I really look up to them. And they also built an entire remote teams with their huge company. But they’re all remote—like 2000 employees or how many they have. So that’s extremely—they’re in a lucky spot right now. And it really inspires me, the culture and what they built, the product, right? Yeah, that’s the one I would go with.

Carlota Pico 18:26
Absolutely. It actually reminds me of my days as an entrepreneur again, I was fortunate to attend SXSW. I was one of the pitch finalists—well my project one of the pitch finalists, so I had to pitch in front of judges. Well anyways, you of course, can definitely relate to that. And during that experience, I had the…I was able to meet a Guy Kawasaki, who is, who is behind Canva which is also a design platform.

Xenia Muntean 18:54
Yeah, another company I love a lot. It’s just extremely inspiring, and it’s also inspiring because, yeah, a woman CEO, Melanie Perkins, I think, super inspiring as well.

Carlota Pico 19:06
Definitely. Okay, and what about a book, a publication, or an event that you’d like to recommend?

Xenia Muntean 19:14
So books or publications, I am going to be 100% honest with you, I don’t really read business books. Here, I said! It’s out there now. I do not do that. I think that my life is so full of business. Just you know, the articles that I read and and just the work that I feel like when I read something, just needs to be something else, science fiction and stuff like that. But in terms of events that I would recommend, one of my favorite ones, is Cannes, which is not happening as you know, this year, but it’s just at first time I attended Cannes Lions, it was mind blowing for me, just the vastness of the event and how big it was and the type of people that were attending it. So yeah, if you can, if you can afford to attend it, sometime in the future when you know things get back some kind of normal, that’s the one I would recommend.

Carlota Pico 20:12
And you were on their innovation stage, right? At Cannes Lions 2018?

Xenia Muntean 20:18
Yes. That’s the first one when I when I attended it, I was very nervous.

Carlota Pico 20:22
You not only attended it, but you were part of it!

Xenia Muntean 20:25
Yeah, yeah. In a way. Yeah. So it was it was really an amazing experience for us.

Carlota Pico 20:31
Well, we’ll have to link this podcast up to a video of you on stage as well, so that our audience is able to see you in action, which is always very fun.

Xenia Muntean 20:42
Sounds good.

Carlota Pico 20:43
Okay, and today’s last question will be what’s your favorite app at the moment and why?

Xenia Muntean 20:50
Favorite app at the moment? I love that. I think…I think it’s Notion. I love Notion, quite a lot. I discovered it about, I don’t know, a year ago, and we recently started using it at Planable. And I love it because I use it for work. But I also use it for personal life, which is really great. It kind of just combines those two things together very nicely. And it’s just, it’s great. It’s color coded. It’s super organized. So yeah, I totally recommend Notion if you’re a big, you know, organizing and list fan.

Carlota Pico 21:32
So what is Notion?

Xenia Muntean 21:34
So it’s…it’s so hard to describe! It’s like a, it’s like a document but at the same time it has…it’s for taking notes, but it has so much more than taking notes. We use it as a company Wiki. You can build pages and a bunch of other things. It’s really great.

Carlota Pico 21:51
Very cool. So it can like serve as documentation as well especially now, during Corona times where everybody needs like a company Bible.

Xenia Muntean 21:59
Yes. And everyone, yeah…like our engineers use it for documenting the product as well. We use it for onboarding. We use it for a lot of things. So it’s really great.

Carlota Pico 22:10
Amazing. Well, Xenia, thank you so much for joining us in The Content Mix. Those were great tips and insights. I loved meeting you. And I look forward to follow the next steps of Planable.

Xenia Muntean 22:21
Sounds great. Thank you so much for having me on the show. This was so fun!

Carlota Pico 22:25
The pleasure has been ours. And to everyone listening in, thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out The Content Mix. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one, so keep on tuning in. Thanks again. See you next time and have a fabulous day. Bye!

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