What Yossi Gestetner Does When He's not in the Spotlight
By: Yitzy Fried
Yossi Gestetner has become a household name in our community, being that he’s a fierce champion in the public square for the rights of Orthodox Jews and a familiar face on media outlets.
Less-known is the fact that he is the owner of Axle PR which specializes in business strategy, data analysis, messaging, and public affairs. “When someone thinks about opening a new business; creating a business partnership; expanding to a new line of service or another location, it is vital for there to be a strategy and perspective. This is primarily what I provide,” Gestetner tells Rockland Daily. “Usually, after a session or two, businesspeople have a much better picture of what to do and what not to do,” Yossi explains. “The strategy session is in fact the core service; although some people need add-on services such as help with messaging or Public Affairs.”
A natural communicator, Yossi started as a writer for various publications. He moved on to ad writing, ad production, and video production. “I began to see—from the inside— how people respond to information,” he says, “and this formed the foundation for my work in media relations and public relations.”
Asked about the early days of his business and the struggles of that time, Yossi says, “in a business—especially in this industry—the ‘beginning’ can be the first six-seven years. It takes a very long time to get your name out and even longer for people to trust your judgment and advice because so much of what I do is analysis, perspective, and guidance. When owners see a printed ad, they either like it or they don’t. This isn’t the case when it comes to strategy. As our name suggests, an Axle is where your entire business rests. In a car or truck, the axle is key. People rely on our expertise to move them forward. There is a process until that trust is earned. At this point, I Baruch Hashem don’t have this challenge, but I did face it earlier on,” Yossi says.
He notes yet another challenge of this industry—one that doesn’t go away with time; the public’s lack of clarity on the differences between a business strategist, a consultant, and a coach— and the difference between marketing, branding, and advertising. “A business strategist that helps you map out the path forward across the business is not the same as a consultant that would provide a specific business service for a specific amount of time, such as Public Affairs, IT or HR restructuring, and neither of those two is a personal coach who helps you through your struggles,” explains Yossi.
“A marketer, in real terms, helps you chart your place in the market; the target demographics, the target geographics, the price, the specialty of your service, which are all figured out in a few meetings. This informs the branding and advertising and so many other things in the business, but doing branding and ads does not mean you do marketing in the real sense. Is all this confusing or simply new to you? Well, that’s exactly the struggle.”
Yossi has taken his knack for public relations and data to the communal sphere. “In my side job as a news commentator in addition to being the Director of OJPAC (Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council), I am in the arena of shaping the way people think about things, whether the news, Orthodox Jews, or people’s businesses,” he says. “I live and breathe public opinion driven by data and message clarity, and I, baruch Hashem, also have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management with a Marketing Concentration.”
Gestetner says that because his communal and commentary work are so public, “people are surprised to learn that my main work of the day is consumed with business clients—people whose business is on the way up, the way down, or moving sideways—and helping them shape their path forward.”
So what would Yossi most like the public to know about business strategy, potentially changing the course of their business? “People are often eager to expand to new product lines before they have maximized the potential of their existing products; too fast to open a new location before their existing location has met its full potential; jump into or out of business partnerships before fully understanding all the options, and people often plunge boatloads of money into ad campaigns that frankly make no sense. This is where we come in, and I try to evaluate the situation and give perspective on how to move forward.
“If people can walk out of my office with clarity, thinking of their business in ways they have not before, I would call that a good day,” Yossi says.