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PRmoment Podcast

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The PRmoment Podcast is a series of life story style interviews with some of the leading lights of UK PR.
131 Episodes
On the PRmoment Podcast this week we’re talking to Charlotte Mair, Founder and Managing Director, The Fitting RoomThe Fitting Room was originally called PR and Everything in Between in 2012. It was rebranded as The Fitting Room in 2017.The Fitting Room specialises in Food & Drink, Fashion, Music and Hospitality work. It has revenues of circa £1.2 m and employs 7 people. Clients include Cafe Rouge, Sony, Green King and Putt shack.Charlotte welcome to the show1.30 mins How Charlotte started her business when she had £17.22 in her account!2.20 mins How Charlotte, without an agency background, or much PR experience decided to start her own PR firm because “she’d always had a burning desire to work in PR.”3.30 mins Whether calling their parents is the first thing most entrepreneurs do when they decide to launch their business!4.30 mins How the fitting Room has really gained momentum in the last couple of years.5.20 mins How giving away a couple of Cliff Richard tickets lead to Charlotte winning her first big non-celebrity client!5.40 mins How before her first pitch Charlotte had to Google “How to pitch!”10.50 mins Why Charlotte takes her inspiration from the US agency market, rather than the UK PR agencies market14.30 mins Why The Fitting Room’s vibe is so important to Charlotte.19.20 mins How, almost 10 years after founding the business, Charlotte only got a website in May this year!20.25 mins How Charlotte self-taught herself how to run an agency business.25.30 mins As a black woman running her own firm, does Charlotte feel the pressure to become a role model?31.40 mins How Charlotte wants to be: “who she needed when she was younger.” 35.30 mins Why Charlotte doesn’t like the term BAME. 40.50 mins Why doesn't Charlotte like the word urban?41.50 mins Charlotte tells us about her plans for The Fitting Room?43.30 mins Why Charlotte has launched a podcast called 1722.
On the PRmoment Podcast this week is Adam Clyne, founder of Coolr.For Adam it’s been a pretty varied career, first of all he worked in PR, then he made the move into advertising with JWT. He launched his own digital agency called The Lab in 2002 which he then sold to the agency that is now Kindred. Spells at TVC and Weber Shandwick followed.Then he had a spell at LadBible before launching his own social media agency Coolr in 2017.Coolr is a social media agency with about 20 employees. Clients include Burger King and Deliveroo.Here’s a summary of what Adam and I discussed:02.00 mins Why Adam moved from PR to advertising early in his career.03.00 mins How that early crossover between PR and advertising defined the rest of Adam’s career04.30 mins Why job roles in PR have become more specialist.05.30 mins How Adam founded the integrated agency The Lab aged 26 and sold it by the time he was 30 to the agency that is now known as Kindred.09.00 mins Having worked buy side and sell side on acquisitions, Adam gives us his top tips on how to either sell or buy an agency business?18.30 mins Why Adam believes “every stage of his career has given him something different.”25 mins Adam moved to TVC, which was bought by The Economist. Adam gives his perspective on why the acquisition of TVC by The Economist didn’t, in the end, work out.31 mins Adam talks about his time as Head of Digital at Weber and what the role involved.32 mins How did Adam’s move to The Lad Bible move come about?35 mins Why Adam’s combined social experience of Weber and Lad Bible influenced the proposition of Coolr.37 mins When an agency says “it's really good at social”-  what does it mean?42 mins Why Coolr has a CTO within the business for its Facebook Workspace work   
On the PRmoment Podcast this week we’re talking to Richard Rawlins, CEO and founder of Finn.Finn was founded in 2005, it has a turnover of approximately £3 million and 35 employees. It is based in Leeds and focuses exclusively on the FMCG sector.Here’s a flavour of what Richard and PRmoment founder Ben Smith discussed:01.40 mins Why as a 21-year-old Richard enrolled in The British Army.04.10 mins Why Richard left the army.05.35 mins Is it surprising more ex-service personnel don’t work in PR?07.10 mins Why PR’s lack of visibility as a career option for people leaving the army, for graduates, for those leaving school is a big problem for the sector.08.45 mins Richard talks about Finn's “Next of Kin” scheme that goes out to local schools, academies and youth trusts to tell them about a career in public relations.10.30 mins Why originally Richard wanted to be an ad man.12 mins How Richard had become “a bit institutionalised” in the army and it took him a couple of years to adapt to a career in PR.13 mins How a spell at Cohn & Wolfe in 1995 defined his approach to PR.15 mins Why Richard believes the sector is too focussed “on being good at PR and not (being) good at client”16 mins  “Good PR thinking is the foundation of great communications but too often it's restricted to the earned channel”.18 mins Why in the FMCG sector, the PR agency is now “very often the lead agency” says Richard.20 mins Why Richard sees Finn as an FMCG specialist agency, not a regional agency.23 mins How the virtual way of working has changed the game for agencies outside of London; they always struggled to recruit enough talent. Remote working means that is no longer an issue.25 mins In September 2005 Richard founded Finn. Why did he decide to set up his own business?30 mins “Why the sweet spot is the intersection between corporate and creative.”30 mins Finn is very much focused on FMCG brands. Why did Richard decide to retain such a specific sector focus?30 mins Why “generalism isn’t a strategy”.32 mins How Finn took a hit at the start of lockdown but has repaired since then. 
Welcome to the latest PRmoment Podcast. This week we’re turning the tables and PRmoment founder Ben Smith is interviewed by Third City’s Chris Blackwood.Just a reminder that PRmoment Podcast listeners can get 20% off the first month off Propel Software here.Here’s a summary of what Chris and I discussed:3.30 mins How Ben’s career has been split over two phases8.30 mins Why empathy is a crucial skill in publishing9.30 mins How PRmoment was started in the midst of the financial crisis in 2008.10.40 mins Chris and I reminisce about Hacked Off Flack16.30 mins How the lockdown has been a tough period for B2B publishers24 mins PR buzzwords that should be banned26 mins Does the public relations sector waste too much time critiquing itself?26.45 mins “Other than Bell Pottinger is there much evidence that there are a huge number of unethical PR people around?... Compare it (PR) to the accountancy scandals or the banking scandals.”27.30 mins Why the "Is PR a profession debate” frustrates Ben29 mins What’s the most annoying thing PR agency CEOs do?33 mins “If you’ve lost your job recently, in the near or medium-term, you’ve got a much better chance of getting a new one if you work in PR than in a lot of other sectors.”33.15 mins Why Ben never wants to set up his own PR agency!34 mins Ben identifies his interview with Lord Bell, post the Bell Pottinger, OakBay Capital Scandal as the most difficult interview he’s done.36 mins Ben’s attempts to identify his top 3 PR dinner party guests38 mins If Ben could choose one job in PR - what would it be?41 mins Why Ben doesn’t see PRmoment as a challenger brand44 mins Ben and Chris have a chat about the number of PR awards53 mins “Lockdown is one word but it’s a journey...all of us will have different periods of crisis. It’s up and down, pretty relentless and the vast majority of it has to be done in isolation”56 mins Why Ben is Zoomed out: “You can have a far more engaging telephone call than a Zoom Call, all this stuff about video (calls being) brilliant, I don’t get can even make yourself a cup of coffee on a phone call. The technology works, it’s been around a long time!”  
Welcome to the latest PRmoment Podcast. This week I’m talking to ex Golin CEO Jon Hughes. These days Jon describes himself as a Senior advisor specialising in technology and corporate communications.Jon’s been looking at how technology is likely to change the shape of PR and communications businesses over the medium term and he’s giving us an insight into these ideas today.Here is the link where PRmoment Podcast sponsors can get the reader off of 20% off the first month off Propel Software.2.00 mins What Jon has been up to since he left Golin?3.20 mins Why does Jon believe PR firms are behind their marcomms peers in their use of technology?4.00 mins Why the PR sector has now got a hunger for speed.4.56 mins How the pandemic has brought an explosion of data that is available for marketers - ”every digital breadcrumb is available for analysis.”6.40 mins “Marketing is way ahead of PR in terms of using technology and automation” 8.25 mins “There are 2 big buckets for technology (use in PR) integration and agility.”10 mins CMOs role within businesses are changing and that will have implications for PR people10.45 mins Large brands have invested heavily in CRM systems and they are using these for paid and owned media - Jon predicts they will need to use these expensive pieces of marcoms software for earned media as well.11.17 mins According to Gartner 26% of marketing budgets are now spent on martech and 58% of the martech stack is left unused.12.20 mins To what extent is martech technology useful for automating large amounts of PR practice?13.41 mins Why data and insight is “creating a growing rift between clients and brands and some agencies where clients feel their agencies are no longer keeping pace with them.”15.40 mins Post pandemic agencies need to “re-look at what they do, there’s no point trying to automate what you did in the offline world - it’s a new environment now.”20 mins Why the media database business model has been blown apart.22.45 mins More integration is coming both for agencies and in-house teams - CMOs are increasingly going to want a “single view.”24 mins How Jon sees the PR tech market developing25 mins There are around 8000 martech solutions, and less than 1% of which relate to public relations26.41 mins Why prediction of media trends tech is an interesting area for PR, “because that has always been public relations’ achilles heel.” 28.10 mins Why the visualisation of data is an important area for PR tech.29 mins Why a lot of the best technology for PR is not PR tech.32 mins “There is no one software vendor that does it all, they may do part of it really well and you then supplement with..point solutions” to build your PR Stack.33 mins “Your PR stack needs to automate and integrate everything you so”, whether your agency or client side.34 mins “What you do with the data, how you bring the data together, how you cross reference it... that is the magic, that is the opportunity, that is the value.”35 mins A warning from Jon for agencies thinking of developing their own tools “The fact of the matter is that agencies are usually pretty awful at developing their own technology”38 mins Agencies need to think about how they can integrate their PR software into martech like marketo and Hubspot.
This week on the PRmoment Podcast I’m talking to James Kelliher, chief executive officer at Whiteoaks International.Whiteoaks is a 40 person tech PR agency based in Hook, Hampshire. It has a fee income of approximately £4m.Here’s a flavour of what James and I discussed:1.30 mins  How James has spent pretty much his whole career at Whiteoaks - he joined as an account exec and he’s now the CEO and majority shareholder.4.46 mins Did James ever get close to leaving Whiteoaks?7.00 mins How the buy out of Whiteoaks from the founders Bill Nichols and Jill Craig was a two stage process.12.05 mins Why PR firms can grow too quickly, controlled low double digit growth is James’ recommendation!14.05 mins James became the MD of Whiteoaks aged only 29. Did that create any challenges?15.45 mins Why Whiteoaks doesn’t believe retainers offer good value for clients.16.15 mins How Whiteoaks links its project fees to performance targets through a service level agreement - and sometimes refunds fees to clients!21.30 mins James says that If PR wants access to bigger budgets, “to have a seat at the top table it must be more accountable.”24.30 mins Does the payment by results model change the behavior of Whiteoaks as a business and the type of people it employees?26 mins What is it about Bracknell, Reading, Basingstoke - the Thames Valley Corridor that attracts so many tech businesses?28.20 mins Does James think Whitoaks would be a bigger business today if it was based in London?30 mins James talks us through how Whiteoaks’ international group of independent agencies works.34 mins James talks about how challenging the Covid period has been for Whiteoaks and its people. James predicts that the business will be down 15%-20% this year.Please note this interview was conducted before the UK Government’s announcement encouraging businesses to revert to working from home.
In the latest PRmoment Podcast I catch up with Effie Kanyua, director of PR & Comms, Hearst UK. Effie is currently director of PR & Comms at Hearst UK having previously worked at Clarity, H&K, Splendid and Bauer Media.Here are some of the themes that Effie and I discussed:2 mins How Effie retained a broad range of PR sector experience and why that's been really beneficial now she has moved to a senior in-house role.4.40 mins Why Effie deliberately avoided becoming known as a vertical specialist to retain a rounded skill set9.50 mins Effie talks about how leadership is so important in creating a culture within a business, both in-house and agency side.11 mins How Effie enjoyed very different cultures through her career – she argues trust and leadership are more important.12.05 mins What makes a good monitoring scheme and why having a mentor in PR is really important.16 mins How structured does a mentor relationship need to be?21.30 mins Effie talks about the BME PR pros mentoring scheme that she's involved with.30 mins Effie talks about how Hearst as a publishing company has had a pretty good lockdown - including how some magazine subscriptions have increased by 200%!37.15 mins Effie talks about the differences working in-house compared to agency side.   
This week on the PRmoment Podcast we talk to Jo-ann Robertson, Partner and CEO of Ketchum London in the latest of our PR Rest series of podcasts - that look at the state of public relations post the COVID-19 lockdown.Here’s a summary of what Jo-ann and I discussed:1.55 mins What does the outlook for the next six months for PR firms? 7.40 mins Bearing in mind how many agency: client relationships have changed during the lockdown we discuss the longer-term prospects for UK public relations. 8.30 mins Jo-ann argues that improving the standard of analytics and increasing the diversity and inclusion of PR teams are vital parts of PR’s future prosperity.11.06 mins and 14 mins: Jo-ann discusses the benefits of being part of a large, publicly owned group during the pandemic.12.15 mins Jo-ann compares the performances of independent and group owned PR firms during the lockdown.16.06 mins Jo-ann discusses why PR tends to fare better in times of crisis than other areas of the marcomms mix, such as advertising.18 mins As a relatively new leader, what has Jo-ann learnt about herself during the pandemic?19 mins Jo-ann talks about how she’s had to use her “Glaswegian negotiating skills” during the crisis - but also how it’s important to understand that you “can’t win every battle.”20 mins Jo-ann talks about the type of business Ketchum UK will be coming out of the lockdown.21.30 mins How the lockdown has seen more a more entrepreneurial spirit within Ketchum UK.22 mins Jo-ann hopes that Ketchum’s Bankside offices will be open from Sept 1st.  
Today on the PRmoment podcast, I’m talking to Matt Peacock, partner at Blurred, about something that I suspect six months ago few of us had heard of – no not Covid, but ESG! Environmental, Social, and Governance refers to the three central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an organisation. Matt is a partner at Blurred, an ex-corporate affairs director at Vodafone, and visiting professor at Henley Business School. Here’s a summary of what Matt and I discussed:2.03 mins Why is ESG the most important development for public relations and business in the last 50 years? 2.13 mins How ESG is a way to assess the environment and governance risk of business. 3.33 mins Why ESG is a mindset change for business risk management – it forces companies to think about the risk of a company to the outside world.  6.20 mins Purpose is about how a company proves it does good. 7.55 mins How ESG now forms part of any standards assessment of any institutional investor framework. 08.17 mins How, to be an ESG leader, as a business, you have to have mature ESG governance processes. 08.35 mins Why companies that have a strong ESG performance have a significant cost of borrowing advantage. 11 mins For example, in the US, the cost of capital is 1% cheaper and the cost of debt 0.8% cheaper if you have a high ESG rating. So that adds up if you have $40bn of debt. 13.30 mins There is a lot of evidence that companies with a high ESG raring are more resilient. 14 mins Where within a company do you need to make progress to increase your ESG rating? 14.30 mins How ESG is an amalgamation of things – so you can’t sort it all out at once. And Matt explains how the Sustainability Accounting Standards  Board (SASB) has become the standard way to assess and measure ESG performance. 18.54 mins Matt predicts that ESG will become the pre-eminent disciple for the corporate affairs profession, worldwide. 19 mins Why the corporate affairs department is central to ESG. 19.20 mins Why ESG has no one owner within a business. 21.50 mins Why the assessment of ESG scores is the wild west! 24 mins How the subjectivity of many of ESG’s KPIs is still a challenge. 24 mins The scramble within the advisory world to be seen as the ESG experts: law firms, accountancy firms, management consultants and communication advisors are all targeting this space. 25.30 mins Why the importance of the communications of ESG means PR firms are well-positioned to lead ESG consultancy. 28 mins Where do you go to learn more about ESG? 29.20 mins What ESG consultancy looks like.   
In the latest of our 'career stories' themed interviews, we talk to Frank co-founder Andrew Bloch.To those of you that are surprised that Andrew hasn't been on the show before, we can confirm that he hasn't, and he's definitely in the category of one of those guests that we've been saving up!As many of you will know, Andrew co-founded Frank PR in 2000 and it has become one of the UK's largest consumer shops with a fee income of approximately £8m in 2019.Here are some of the themes Andrew and PRmoment Podcast host Ben Smith discuss on the show:02.30 mins Why did Andrew decide to leave Frank?04.04 mins How did Andrew tell Frank’s Chairman, Graham Goodkind, who he had worked with for 20 years, that he wanted to leave.04.05 mins Andrew outlines his plan, post-Frank.06.38 mins Why Andrew doesn’t want to set up another PR firm.07.00 mins Andrew tell us how he came to write, perhaps, The Worlds Most Expensive Press Release!07.44 mins On how he started his career in PR, Andrew says he “ended up at Lynne Franks PR” essentially because he was frustrated that he hadn’t been able to get into advertising.08.40 mins How it was “pure luck” that he met Graham Goodkind at Lynne Franks PR. Andrew says he owes Graham “everything” in terms how his career has developed since.09.25 mins Andrew talks us through how many of the class of '95 at Lynne Franks PR have gone on to do amazing things in their careers.10.37 mins Does Andrew regret not moving to a senior in-house role?13.31 mins Why Andrew turned Graham Goodkind down 3 times before agreeing to join him in setting up Frank.16.52 mins Andrew gives us his highlights of the Frank story.18.14 mins Andrew says building a strong brand for Frank was the most important element in building the business.21.33 mins Andrew tells us why he and Graham sold Frank after only 7 years.22.36 mins Andrew talks us through what purchasers of agencies are looking for and what a realistic valuation, in terms of a ratio to profit, is for a PR firm currently.25.08 mins Why now is a very good time for PR mergers and acquisitions.26.00 mins Andrew talks about his new role as an advisor to PCB Partners, advising them on PR acquisitions.37.00 mins Franks growth plateaued 11/12 years in. In hindsight, Andrew discusses why that happened and how they got the business’s momentum back.38.30 mins Andrew talks about why Frank didn’t scale internationally to the extent some other PR firms have done.42.40 mins Andrew talks about his relationship with Graham Goodkind.47.00 mins Andrew defines the type of PR person he is - and how he hopes PR will remember him!
This week, in the latest of our PR Reset series about how the PR world and the wider economy might reset post the Covid-19 lockdown, I’m talking to PRCA director general Francis Ingham. It’s explosive stuff, the highlights are below, but Ingham believes approximately 5,000 UK PR people are likely to be made redundant and claims “The majority of people on furlough within our industry have no idea what’s coming their way”.Ingham also reveals the PRCA will come out of the Covid lockdown about 25% down in revenue year on year.Here’s a summary of what Francis and I discussed:1.15 mins “The PR sector has taken a hit (from Covid-19) and there are further hits coming”.1.54 mins The PR industry is currently in a recovery stage2.03 mins “The majority of people who on furlough are going to be made redundant”.3.55 mins “The majority of people within furlough within our industry have no idea what’s coming their way”.4.35 mins “The industry is going to be hit hard and it’s not through the worst of it yet”.5.25 mins Ingham predicts that of the 100,0000 people who work in UK public relations, 10-20,000 of those were furloughed and roughly half of those will be made redundant. So approximately 5,000 people.6.00 mins The sector, in terms of the number of people it employs, is going to return to the levels of three years ago.6.20 mins The medium-term prospects for the sector are good but there is “a great deal of pain to come.”7.20 mins Many agency heads either don’t realise the end of the year is going to be tougher than the start of the year, or they are putting out unreasonably optimistic messaging”.9.30 mins On redundancies: “In the next week or so many PR firms will begin the consultation process with a view to losing people at the beginning of August.”11.20 mins How in-house PR teams are “busier than ever, but are certainly spending less money.”14.40 mins Why the healthcare, corporate and public affairs sectors are bullish about business currently.16.20 mins Ingham says: “The recovery we’re seeing in Asia can give us a degree of optimism.”18.53 mins “When we look back in five years’ time at this period and its impact on public relations, the greatest problem coming out of Covid may be the further decline of the media”.23.15 mins “The problem now is the accrued debt that has got to be repaid, that is the key issue affecting our industry”.24.10 mins The PRCA “is going to come out of the crisis smaller... we’ll end this financial year about a quarter smaller than we began it. And that will be sad for me... It was a pretty dramatic drop off a cliff.” 26.40 mins When asked for a prediction on the prospects for the UK economy, Ingham says “He has no idea! And anyone who says they have is making it up as they go along. But you can prosper during recessions.” 
This week, we're starting a new series called PR Reset, where I'm catching up with the CEOs of some of the UK's most prominent PR firms to talk about how they see their business, the PR world and the wider economy resetting post the Covid-19 lockdown. First up, we've got the founder of W Communications Warren Johnson. Frankly, Warren’s on even more punchy form than ever! Here’s a summary of what we discussed: 2.12 mins How Warren has managed the coronavirus lockdown crisis for W. 2.50 mins Warren describes the first week of lockdown as “the worst of his professional career.” 2.52 mins How Warren and his FD had to renegotiate “something like 42 client contracts in the first two or three weeks” of lockdown. 3.20 mins How he saw his “job as trying to make sure money didn’t leave (W Communications) for good.” 3.40 mins How W took an “aggressively commercial approach to its cost base” during the lockdown. 3.52 mins How W’s “EBIT didn’t take much of a hit during the lockdown, but revenues were 8-10% down.” 4.16 mins Warren denies that W was spending £4K a month on cereal, beer and flowers pre-Covid. And how not being in the office actually “saves a vast amount of money”. 07.05 mins Why being independent and being able to make quick decisions helped W during this period – for example getting out of the office before lockdown started reduced a lot of costs. 07.48 mins Why W has not reduced any of W’s staff salaries during lockdown, but instead took this as an “opportunity to trim the herd a little bit from some underperforming staff.” 08.10 mins W has brought in new CEO inn Rachel Friend (she started 1 July). Why did Warren decide that now was right the time was right to bring in an outsider into that position? 08.46 mins Warren explains he wants “W to be an agency as big as Weber, I don’t know what that looks like, so I need someone who does.” 08.59 mins Warren says: “There are very few people that we can work in partnership with. but when I put that list together, Rachel (Friend) was number one on that list.” 09.35 mins Warren says independents have had a better lockdown than the group owned forms because of their agility. 10.15 mins Warren predicts a two-speed recovery for the PR sector: “the better operators are already back on their A-game” 10.45 mins Warren says: “There is a slight nanny state evolving where people believe they need to be as far away from the office as possible.” 10.58 mins  Why after three months of working from home people need to come back into the office to collaborate. 11.04 mins “Zoom is not the right format to be creative.”  12.11 mins Many PR firms are looking to return the office in Sept – but W returned to the office from 1 July in a “beta” phase.  13.51 mins Warren’s “fog of lockdown has already lifted” and why he’s “keen more people experience that.” 14.09 mins How W’s employees were about “a third, a third, a third” when it came to their keenness to return to the office. 14.34 mins Most of the employees who were concerned about returning to the office were worried about the travel. 15.17 mins Some of W’s younger employees have given up flats in London and have moved back to their parents’ homes. 16.55 mins Warren says he’s “not sure whether we (W) can be in a position where we can have people working remotely permanently...s o that is going to present a few problems.” 17.05 mins PR people, especially junior PR “people have become overconfident in their sense of job security”. 18.05 mins This should be a 
Today, on the PRmoment Podcast, I'm talking to Julian Obubo, brand strategy director at Manifest London about "How to be an anti-racist company."Julian is a member of the leadership team at Manifest and, I know, has been a vital part of the agency's impressive growth in recent years.As has long been discussed, the diversity stats in PR are embarrassing with approximately 92% of the sector describing themselves as British White.If you’d like to understand more about the diversity challenges and the solutions to PR’s diversity problem, here are a whole bunch of diversity articles, podcasts, and videos where we've discussed the topic.Here are a few highlights of what Julian and I discussed:04.53 mins Why Julian believes the typical approach to improving diversity and inclusion is broken.06.55 mins Why one of the fundamental problems with the slow progress in the area of diversity is the lack of understanding of how interconnected the various issues are.09.30 mins As individuals, as companies and as a society we need to start thinking, educating, and acting differently.12.06 mins Why, as a society, our definition of racism is too narrow.16.05 mins Why racism is usually about how our all of our subconscious behaviours make BAME people feel - rather than far-right uneducated skinheads18.44 mins How did the term “not the right fit” ever become an accepted term within the interview process?21.00 mins A recognition that it’s difficult to hire BAME PR people at the moment - because there are not enough of them! But also a recognition that an effective PR team needs to mirror the society it communicates to. 25.10 mins Julian talks about Manifest’s reasons for signing up to the Blueprint process.27.20 mins Why Julian likens the attempts to increase the diversity of the PR sector to "mopping up and drying the floor without ever trying to fix the leak." 29.10 mins Why, when CVs of black people turn up in your inbox, you know you’re making some progress.31.35 mins If you’re at the start of your journey to increase the diversity of your PR firm - where do you begin?32.00 mins Why we all need to educate ourselves by understanding the sources of racism and lack of diversity in our society.37.02 mins Julian explains why he believes PR’s diversity has gone backwards in recent years.42.55 mins How our narrow definition of racism means that we fail to socialise with diverse groups. This means we are not able to recognise our own microaggressions and subtle racist behaviour within ourselves and our society.44.40 mins The difference between anti-racism and non-racism.45.52 mins How does PR start to increase its diversity? And realistically, what impact is likely in the short term (12-18 months), medium-term (2-5 years) and long term (5 years +?).   
This week on the PRmoment podcast, we've got Phil Hall, chairman of The PHA Group.For those of you that are not aware, Phil was the editor of the News of the World from 1995 to 2000. His old bosses included Piers Morgan and Rupert Murdoch – he was at the pinnacle of British tabloid journalism before he left it all behind in 2005 and founded Phil Hall Associates (Now The PHA Group).He started the business in his front room and his first client was none other than Paul McCartney.He went on to represent Heather Mills McCartney in the infamous divorce and has since built The PHA Group to have revenues of well north of £9m in the pre-Covid-19 world that we all used to enjoy.The PHA Group employs around 100 people.Here’s a flavour of what Phil and I discuss:How the Covid 19 crisis has impacted PHA Media.How making people redundant is the hardest part of running a business.       How PHA Media has won 20 new clients in the past few months.Phil talks us through the story of how he stared PHA Media including how his first client was Heather Mills McCartney, to now being a multi-sector PR firm with nearly 100 employees and outside investors.       Why Phil’s wife Marie gave up her job as a corporate lawyer to run the business side of things, which gave the business proper structure. This in turn, meant they kept their best people and could  grow the business.       A rollercoaster: How PHA media lost 40% of its fee income at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and has replaced 20% of that already.What Paul McCartney said to Phil when he told him he was going to represent his wife in their divorce case.Phil tells us how he ended up in Ecuador at a presidential palace in the middle of a coup, surrounded by machine guns.Phil tells us the story of how he got to know Piers Morgan, because of Piers Morgan’s grandad who was a pen friend of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady.Phil tells us why Rupert Murdoch was the best boss he ever had.Phil tells us why his time as editor of the News of the World was such a hard time of his career.Phil talks about why he lost his job over the Jeffrey Archer story, where, in effect, Rupert Murdoch’s best-selling editor had exposed his best-selling author.Phil tells us why he thinks the closing of the News of the World was “such a shame.”Why Phil took the gamble soon after he’d left his role as editor of the News of the World set up his own PR firm in his front room…Does Phil regret leaving journalism?Phil talks about how the growth of PHA didn’t really follow a strategy, it was more about how “we kept winning business.”Phil tells us about a couple of big exclusives early on in his journalism career.Phil gives his perspective of the phone-hacking scandal. Why Phil is a big believer in “jumping in with both feet and going for it” an approach that has stood him in good stead, like the time he ended up on the phone to Colonel Gaddafi.Why Phil has no problem working for the like of Qatar and Fred the Shred.Phill tells us about a time Princess Diana tipped him off about the James Gilbey story. What does Phil make of the challenges facing the media today?
Today we’re talking to Ruth Kieran, CEO of Cirkle, about how an independent firm like Cirkle has coped and responded to the Covid-19 crisis so far.Here’s a summary of what Ruth and I discussed:How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the business?     How the crisis has been very specific in the way it has impacted firms. For example, Cirkle has a lot of food and drink clients including Morrisons and Cafe Nero. Morrisons is extremely busy and Cafe Nero obviously had to shut all of its stores.      Ruth talks about the pressures of constantly having to review and re-scope work.     How many in-house comms teams are run off their feet at the moment.     How Cirkle has on-boarded clients since the lockdown began.     How Ruth and her senior colleagues prepared Cirkle for the lockdown in the days and weeks beforehand.     Why all firms need a good IT expert.      What Cirkle is doing to look after its employees in this working-from-home environment era.     Why do we all turn up to a Zoom call on time, but not to a physical meeting?     Whether Cirkle has furloughed any staff?     Why long-term planning and a rigid approach doesn’t work in this environment.     How client KPIs and objectives have changed since the lockdown started.     How has Ruth adapted and changed her own leadership style since the Covid-19 crisis kicked off?       The importance of empathy and kindness in business currently.     How Cirkle is preparing for the return of its employees to the office.     How working remotely can impact the culture of a business.      
This week, we welcome Tariq Ahmed, ex-group head of corporate communications at Liquid Telecom, to the PRmoment podcast. Here’s a summary of what Tariq and I discussed: In the context of the George Floyd racism protests in the US and throughout the world, including here in the UK, Tariq and I talk about his decision to change his name from Tariq Ahmed to Daniel Jacobs back in 2002 – when Tariq found he was unable to get a job in public relations as a Muslim man in the UK. How Tariq set up an experiment where he applied for the same job both as Tariq Ahmed and as Daniel Jacobs. He was invited for an interview as Daniel but not as Tariq. How until 9/11 Tariq had never experienced racism before. How Tariq got through that period of his life by trying to take the emotion out of it – he saw it as a personal re-branding exercise. He believed once you allow the emotion to stick, you start to become a victim, which he didn’t want. How the story had a happy ending when HP re-recruited Tariq, as Tariq Ahmed not as Daniel Jacobs. How statistics show that Muslim men are 72% less likely to be employed (when they apply for a job) than their white Christian counterparts. How the death of George Floyd was the result, not of Islamic fundamentalism, but of the fundamentalism of racist police officer. How racism in society has got worse, not better in most of our lifetimes. Why all organisations and employees must always call prejudice out. Ideally, to begin with, in a non-threatening way – but you must let people know how it makes you feel. How being Daniel Jacobs made Tariq feel like as a person. Why Tariq regrets, in many ways, changing his name back to Tariq Ahmed. Does Tariq believe he’d have a bigger job and be earning more money if his name had remained Daniel Jacobs? Tariq tells us how it’s easy to change your name in the UK. How as a society, we’ve taken a huge step backwards since 9/11. The terrorists won. Tariq talks us through some lessons around personal behaviour and personal choice from his 20 years of observing discrimination and being discriminated against. The prevalence of unconscious bias in our global society. Tariq talks about his time he’s spent in-house – all within the tech sector. Tariq talks about his passion for technology and how it can change people’s lives. Tariq talks about the challenges for tech firms coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown. 
This week we’re going to return to our roots - by going back to our regular career stories theme.We’ve pretty much covered the Covid-19 angle of PR and agency management if you want more info on that then have a listen to the past 5/6 episodes of the podcast, or have a look at the 25 plus Covid-19 articles on - I think you’ll find all you need to know. It’s quite a body of work.This week on the PRmoment podcast, our guest is Alec Samways, CEO & head of creative strategy at Splendid Communications.Splendid was co-founded by Alec in 2004. It’s a creative consumer PR shop with approximately 40 employees and a fee income of £3.5m in 2019.Here’s a summary of what Alec and I discuss: Alec talks about how Splendid, as a consumer PR firm, has been impacted by Covid-19? How this period of lockdown is proving to be a reflection point for a lot of us about how we live our lives and our work-life balance.  How Alec is envisaging a hybrid office/working from home arrangement might work? Alec talks us through the story of Splendid - and the ups and downs along the way! Why Alec left his job as a management consultant for Datamonitor and ended up working in PR. Why Alec joined Slice PR because of his passion for music. Why Alec left Slice PR to set up Splendid in 2004. Why Alec describes Splendid as “being on the edge of the PR scene.” Whether Alec believes the PR sector still places too greater emphasis on media relations? Why the hierarchical approach to creativity that ad agencies tend to have, doesn’t work in PR. Alec talk us through what type of business is Splendid today, in terms of the breadth of work?  Alec glances towards the future and talks about what agency businesses might look like post lockdown and into 2021/22
On the PRmoment podcast this week, we’ve got Adrian Talbot who is the FD of Hotwire PR. He’s one of the most experienced FDs in public relations, having been at Hotwire for over four years, before that he was at BBH, College Hill (now Instinctif) and Burson Marsteller. As quick plug from me, if you haven’t booked already, then you don’t have long to book your tickets to our series of Lite events: We’re running online seminars on PR Analytics, The Intersection of PR and SEO and The Influence of Influence. Here’s a summary of what Adrian and I discussed: Whether the FD is currently the most important person in an agency business. What do agency owners/FDs need to do to manage their agency businesses through the Covid-19 lockdown and the 18 months that follow it. Whether most client budgets are in turmoil at the moment. In such uncertain times, communication is currently so much more important with your agency employees – beyond group Zoom calls how do you make sure everyone is OK? Whether clients are taking longer to pay since Covid-19 kicked off. How to judge which clients to show greater flexibility towards when it comes to payment. The importance of retaining working capital in all agency businesses currently. Whether Hotwire has taken advantage of the government’s furlough scheme. How one of the great challenges with the Covid-19 financial crash is that no one knows how long it is going to go on for. How can you possibly forecast that financially? Re-scoping work into digital is the current plan of PR agencies everywhere – how successful can that be as a strategy? Wasn’t most work digital already? As the FD of a global PR firm, what global trends do you see client-side? 
On today’s show, we’ve got Chris Talago, VP PR and communications JAPAC and EMEA at Oracle. Chris is going to be giving us an in-house communicator’s perspective on the Covid-19 lockdown. Here’s a flavour of what Chris and I discuss: How have the comms team at Oracle coped with the Covid-19 crisis so far? What message is the comms team trying to get across at the moment?      Why Covid-19 requires a fundamental rethink of communications, not merely a pause on the status quo.      Whether the technology sector is insulated more than most to the financial meltdown we’re seeing in the economy.      Has the way Oracle is working with its agency partners changed since the Covid-19 lockdown kicked off? Has it reduced budgets or just rescoped work?      Why the fast-paced changed we’ve seen over the last five years in communications just got a lot quicker.      What’s it like as an in-house communicator during the Covid-19 lockdown?      How should in-house communicators manage their companies’ reputations through the Covid-19 crisis?      Some agencies, particularly those working in the tech sector, are faring better, but in travel and hospitality I’ve heard of agencies being 70% down, many consumer agencies are down between 30% and 50%. Chris and I discuss how this is the beginning of a long, hard road.
This week I’m interviewing Amanda Coleman, Ex-head of Corporate Communications at Greater Manchester Police and author of the book Crisis Communication Strategies.Amanda has recently founded her own agency, Amanda Coleman Communications.Amanda and I are going to be looking at the UK governments’ communications performance since the Covid-19 crisis began.To emphasise, we are not attempting to assess the UK governments overall response to Covid-19 because neither Amanda nor I are scientists! We’re purely looking at the communications response.Here’s a flavour of what we discuss:Whether the speed that the virus took hold meant that the government’s communications response was likely to be too slow? How effectively central government has communicated its message to the public How central government has effectively retained control of its messaging - but this meant that it was less able to use the resources of local government and police communicators How the lockdown messaging is about to become more complex and why this may mean central government has to disperse some control of its communications Why the daily briefing worked well to start with but has lost momentum What the UK government has communicated well during this crisis. Amanda rates how well the government ministers have communicated through the Covid-19 crisis including Boris, Micheal Gove, Dominic Raab, Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock.  Amanda reveals why she decided to write her book “Crisis Communication Strategies: How to Prepare in Advance, Respond Effectively and Recover in Full!”   
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