Archive for the 'Profile' Category

The greasy pole; episode 7

June 21, 2007

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With the most ridiculous photo yet, Tom Pearson from Firefly Communications is next for the high jump. He might not like ‘despicable journalists and clients’ but if he wasn’t in PR, he’d be

doing ‘something’ with food.

  • What made you want to work in PR?

The one question I’ve never been able to give a convincing answer to!  All sorts of things

day to day variety, putting my writing skills to good use, researching exciting markets for new biz, that feeling when you get your client in the FT and so much more

  • Background? [Home, education, exciting activities] –

I was born in Germany and had lived in Spain and Bulgaria by the time I was 13.  I
spent most of my formative years in the West Country at school in Bath
and then studying Classics at Bristol University.

  • Coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR? –

hosting journalists at big sporting events – England at the football World Cup and rugby at Twickenham so far.

  • Least favourite part of job?

Admin, I’m shocking at it!

  • When I’m 40 I’d like to be…?

Taking early retirement

·         Top tip for those who want to get into industry?

There’s no substitute for work experience.  It will give you a feel for the industry and shows potential employers that you’re keen to work in PR. Personally, I did stints at consumer, tech and financial PR agencies, as well as spending time working in-house, before deciding on B2B tech.

  • Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Own your own time

  • If I wasn’t in PR I’d be….?

Doing something with food, getting shouted at by some Gordon Ramsay-type I’d imagine!

  • What do you find most challenging in PR?

Having to be nice to despicable journalists and clients

  • PR hero?

Matthew Freud

  • Is there an area of PR you never want to work in, if so which?

I wouldn’t discount anything in either agency or in-house but I was crap at consumer PR…

  • How often do you read blogs? Which social networks?

Probably not as much as I should, but I’m a self-confessed Facebook addict

  • Best way to get hold of you?  [mobile, landline, email, Facebook, Myspace, text, letter, message in a bottle etc]

Facebook, email or mobile (in that order)

  • FT or Heat?

FT

  • Grazia or Country Life?

Country Life I guess

  • Cameron or Brown?

Cameron for PM!

  • Running or the gym?

Neither, I play hockey

  • G & T or JD & Coke?

G&T

  • Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

Hagen Daz

  • Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

Me and coffee don’t work first thing in the morning…

  • GAP or Portobello Rd?

GAP, I’ve got no imagination

  • North or South?

South of the river of course

  • If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?

Will Ferrell, genius

 

 

The greasy pole; episode 6

June 15, 2007

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PR is anything but ‘humdrum’ according to Alexa Ryan-Mills from Burson-Marsteller. Working in the Corporate and Technology practice at BM since September 2006, Alexa tells all below.

 

 ·         What made you want to work in PR?

When I was at university I worked on the student magazine and absolutely loved it. I got a taste for the media, but realised I’d rather work in a business environment and be creative at the same time. I also wanted variety – I could never have a humdrum job.

 ·         Background? [Home, education, exciting activities]

I was born and brought up in sleepy Cambridge, the eldest of four. When I hit 18, I was keen to get out and explore the world so spent six months travelling around South Africa with a tattered backpack. I then moved to Nottingham to study for a degree in French and English, spending a year as an ERASMUS ‘student’ drinking cheap local wine and not doing very much work. After my final year at university, where I dabbled in a bit of waitressing and freelance writing, I decided it was about time I got a proper job, so moved down to London and joined Burson-Marsteller as a graduate. I’ve been working in the Corporate and Technology practice there since September 2006.

 

 ·         Coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?

Getting my client, HP into the FT was pretty cool. Now I sound like a real geek! Getting to travel around Europe for events is cool too.

 ·         Least favourite part of job?

Putting together quarterly coverage books. I’m currently trying to promote myself so I don’t have to do that!

·         When I’m 40 I’d like to be…?

Sunning myself by the pool of my luxury villa in the South of France. A girl can dream…

 

·         Top tip for those who want to get into industry?

Too many… Make your CV stand out from the crowd. While you’re at uni, there’s so much that you can get involved in other than dirty kebabs at four in the morning. Organise events, write or edit your student magazine, promote some lesser known student union society… Whatever, doing these kinds of things will teach you skills that you can show off in your CV as well as use when you actually get the job you’re after. Show that you’re interested in the media. You will be asked about it at interview. Also, get some experience in an agency or in-house, even if it’s a small local company for one week. It will prove you’ve got some idea of the job you’re applying for. Finally, be creative about where you apply. Don’t just go for the grad jobs that everyone else is trying to bag.

 

·         Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Think before you speak. I do my best to bite my tongue now, but before I hit my twenties I was terrible.

 

·         If I wasn’t in PR I’d be….?

A journalist… yeh, I know…over to the other side.

 

·         What do you find most challenging in PR?

Juggling clients and journalists – but it’s also one of the things I love best.

 

·         PR hero?

My line manger at Burson-Marsteller, the wonderful Ms Charlotte Greaves!

 

·         Is there an area of PR you never want to work in, if so which?

Financial. I just don’t understand stocks and shares and numbers have always scared me.

 

·         How often do you read blogs? Which social networks?

I read lots of tech blogs for work. I’ve also been using Facebook for over a year now but it’s starting to scare me a bit with all its weird stalking applications. I’m a member of the group, ‘Bring back the old Facebook!’

 

·         Best way to get hold of you? [mobile, landline, email, Facebook, Myspace, text, letter, message in a bottle etc]

All of the above.

 

·         FT or Heat?

C-list celebs drive me insane. Definitely the FT, just not the last half of Companies & Markets. Stocks and shares again.

 

·         Grazia or Country Life?

I’d rather have a bar of Dairy Milk…

 

·         Cameron or Brown?

Brown, but only if I had to!

 

·         Running or the gym?

Gym.

 

·         G & T or JD & Coke?

G&T. Make mine a double.

 

·         Hagen Daaz or Ben & Jerry’s?

A tough one… Green & Blacks is my favourite. Can I have that instead?

 

·         Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

Caffe Nero.

 

·         GAP or Portobello Rd?

I’ve become a lazy shopper since I moved to London – GAP.

 

·         North or South?

South England, North London.

 

·         If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?

Naomi Watts. We don’t look very similar, but she’s such a good actress I think she’d do me justice.

 

The greasy pole; episode 5

June 6, 2007

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Hailing from Feltham and born into a famous PR lineage, James is the latest Gilheany to enter the world of PR. After 6 months in financial PR, James has now changed jobs and is the fresh faced new boy at Biss Lancaster. He tells all for the latest PR and Comms profile:

What made you want to work in PR?

I have a brother and a sister who work in PR and, given we are quite a competitive clan, I always wanted to prove I could do it better than them. I also like to think I’m pretty good at talking my way out of most situations which, as I’ve found out on one or more occasions, is a vital asset in this business.

Background? [Home, education, exciting activities]

I grew up in South West London in a grim little town called Feltham – best known for its prison, which tells you everything you need to know about the area. I survived that and went to university at Nottingham Trent where I studied Politics. Outside of work I did, up until recently (points to broken leg), play football and cricket. Unfortunately, at the moment, my sporting activities begin and end with Sky Sports. I also try to do a little bit of volunteering when I can. I once guided an under 12s football team to their highest ever finish.

Coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?

My first piece of coverage. Nothing better than seeing the fruit of your labours in black and white.

Least favourite part of job?

Can I say clients? No, I really dislike the admin side of the job. I always feel I could be doing something far more productive.

When I’m 40 I’d like to be…?

Running my own agency with my siblings – we’ve already registered the name “Close Relations”……….that is a joke, I promise.

Top tip for those who want to get into industry?

Read as much of the daily press as you can. Knowledge is power and people will notice you if you can make legitimate comments on topical issues.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

If you’re not learning, you’re not earning.

If I wasn’t in PR I’d be….?

A teacher. I love children and was lucky enough to have worked some summer schools over the last few years.

What do you find most challenging in PR?

Can I say clients again? Journos? Time management can be difficult because you are constantly having to juggle the work, the demands of your colleagues and the whims of your client.

PR hero?

As sickening as it sounds, I’m going to have to say my brother and sister. Without them I doubt I’d be in the industry.

Is there an area of PR you never want to work in, if so which?

Ha ha ha, having spent six months in Financial PR I can honestly say Hell holds no fear for me. Avoid like the plague!

How often do you read blogs? Which social networks?

I probably spend too much time on Facebook. I’ve tried to claim it’s an attempt to keep up to speed with cutting edge new media – but even I won’t swallow that bull sh**t.

Best way to get hold of you? [mobile, landline, email, Facebook, Myspace, text, letter, message in a bottle etc]

All of the above, I am a communications professional after all……

FT or Heat?

I’m loathed to say the FT but let’s face it; it is an invaluable source of information and the clients love being in it.

Grazia or Country Life?

I live with three women, so it has to be Grazia.

Cameron or Brown?

Hhhhmmmmm, getting hit by a car or being in a plane crash? Both disasters.

Running or the gym?

I will refer you to me previous Sky Sports joke.

G & T or JD & Coke?

Guinness.

Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

Guinness.

Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

Starbucks – I don’t care how evil they’re supposed to be.

GAP or Portobello Rd?

Primark.

North or South?

London.

If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?

Pinocchio.

The greasy pole; episode 4

May 30, 2007

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A PR profile on the PR and Comms network can make or break your career they say… Sophie Hughes, a Senior Account Executive from Fleishman-Hillard tells all about days spent herding the Egyptian cabinet around London and her love for peach and raspberry muffins. 

What made you want to work in PR?

I started in PR – having just finished on Omnicom’s Graduate Scheme – Accelerate. A 15 month rotation programme which let me work in a variety of agencies – understanding how corporate reputation management works in its totality (PR, Investor Relations, Branding, EU Public Affairs, Employer Branding/Relations).I was lucky enough to work with Fleishman-Hillard in London and Brussels and so knew the agency was the right fit for me. I loved the excitement of all the issues based work, especially how what you are doing on a day to day level continually changes with the news agenda.

Background?

A bit of an international mongrel – I grew up in the US and have endless foreign family the Aussies, Italians and Austrians descend upon London regularly. After I settled back into London, I decided to head off and study History/History of Art at University at Nottingham and then a postgrad at Edinburgh.

Coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?

Shepherding around half of the Egyptian cabinet at a big event in the City.

Least favourite part of job?

If your story gets spiked because of a bigger breaking news piece.

When I’m 40 I’d like to be…?

An after dinner speaker, looking back on the days when I was but an SAE.

Top tip for those who want to get into industry?

Really try to develop a full awareness of the British media environment- too many students we interview are only aware of the Guardian and its agenda.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Never mass email journalists – think about what you want you want the story to be and research the journalists who have shown an interest in the topic. It helps save you time, irritated journalists and guarantees hits.

If I wasn’t in PR I’d be….?

Hmm….good question….

What do you find most challenging in PR?

Getting clients to buy in to the strengths and promise of evolving media channels like blogging, podcasts and social networks.

PR hero?

Richard Branson

Is there an area of PR you never want to work in, if so which?

Never say never.

How often do you read blogs? Which social networks?

Um – The Guardian, Three Minds, Navigate Communications, Open House, Micro Persuasion, Gawker, Neville Hobson the list goes on …Social Networks: Facebook and LinkedIn.

Best way to get hold of you? [mobile, landline, email, Facebook, Myspace, text,letter, message in a bottle etc]

All of the above – I am pretty communications dextrous. Although Facebook has become

my latest obsession.

FT or Heat?

FT in the morning, Heat at lunchtime.

Grazia or Country Life?

Grazia – it’s a long way off to countryside retirement.

Running or the gym?

I am terrible cheater left my own devices – it has to be the gym.

G & T or JD & Coke?

G&T

Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia any day.

Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

I am not that fussy – but Starbucks peach and raspberry muffins have to
swing it.    

GAP or Portobello Rd?

Portobello – dare to be different!

North or South?

Always the south – it’s sunnier.

If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?

For comedy value – Eddie Izzard in drag.

Greasy Pole 3-Extra

May 26, 2007

The other night after work we interviewed Gareth after work at 77PR, and being the true pros that we are, here is unedited, slightly shaky footage of Gareth expanding on a few of the points raised in the written responses.

Yes, we know you can produce better edited and shot video than this, but it was a spur of the moment decision, filmed on a phone [albeit a very swish new one]. Enjoy!

The greasy pole; episode 3

May 23, 2007

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 The next instalment of our tour around the PR industry takes us to 77 and to PR consultant, Gareth Streeter. Looking trim after his 26 mile dash around London, Gareth tells all about life in consumer PR….

What made you want to work in PR?  

  • Good question.  As I was finishing my studies a few people told me they thought it might be something I’d be quite good at.  I didn’t really have a clue what it was but looked into it and thought it sounded good.  After I graduated I ended up doing a short journalism course which I thought was great but put me off journalism a little bit.  We had a little look at PR during the course and once again, I thought it was something I could see myself doing.

Background? [Home, education, exciting activities]  

  • I think I have quite a different background to most people in the industry.  Grew up in
    Plymouth and ended up studying theology in North London with a view to going into full time Church work.  As you can tell, that didn’t quite happen….

Coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?

  • Probably looking after Jack Osbourne at a climbing event in Manchester, and trying to stop all his climbing buddies from base jumping off tall buildings. 

Least favourite part of job?

  • I think that if you have a positive frame of mind, most things in PR can be quite enjoyable.  Although I love the ‘jack of all trades’ element of the job, I do sometimes find it frustrating that you can’t commit yourself to one thing and run with it.

When I’m 40 I’d like to be…?

  • A lad what lunches.  No idea really…hopefully something cause related.

Top tip for those who want to get into industry?

  • Obsess about the media.  Read all the newspapers and take note of interesting PR ideas.  Write as much as you can and get as many things published as possible – even if it’s just on silly little PR blogs.

 Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

  • In life or PR?  In PR it’s probably ‘keep everything as simples as possible.’  In life, it’s probably ‘keep everything as simple as possible.’

If I wasn’t in PR I’d be….?

  • A campaigner of some sort.

What do you find most challenging in PR?

  • Keeping lots of balls in the air at the same time.

PR hero?

  • I’m not a massive follower of any of the big names.  Probably Isabel Shirley of 77pr

Is there an area of PR you never want to work in, if so which?

  • No, I’ll try anything once.

How often do you read blogs? Which social networks?

  • Massive facebook fan but never got into MySpace.  I don’t 100% buy the ‘power of the social media’ arguments.

Best way to get hold of you? [mobile, landline, email, Facebook, Myspace, text, letter, message in a bottle etc]

  • Mobile I think.

FT or Heat?

  • Heat.

Grazia or Country Life?

  • Grazia

Cameron or Brown?

  • Thatcher.

Running or the gym?

  • Both.

G & T or JD & Coke?

  • JD and coke

Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

  • Ben and Jerry’s

Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

  • Still can’t really tell the difference

GAP or Portobello Rd?

  • GAP

North or South?

  • South

If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?

  • Jude Law – apparently we look alike!

 

The greasy pole; episode 2

May 16, 2007

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So, following on from last week’s debutante to our profiles of young PR types, we are pleased to present Ms Miriam Laverick, star of Grazia magazine and Geronimo AE. So without further delay…

Hey Miriam-what made you want to get into PR?

I started out determined to become a journalist, but, during my Journalism MA, I did PR for the university and a local drama initiative and started to warm to the idea of PR. Public sector, charity and CSR PR seemed a perfect fit for what I wanted to do because you’re raising awareness of issues that could benefit people. You get to work on some influential accounts so I feel like I’m making a bigger difference than I would on a small regional newspaper.

In the immortal words of Cotton Eye-Joe ‘where did you come from…’?

 

I grew up in Co. Durham and did English and German at Durham University. I worked for a media monitoring company in Newcastle for a year before doing an MA in Journalism. In 2006 I received the NUJ University Journalist of the Year Award and an Academy prize. I’m interested in creative writing and am a qualified aerobics and Pilates instructor.

 

 Coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?

Being in Public Sector PR the perks are few and far between. I do own a School Food Trust jumper however, which comes in handy sitting next to the air con. Perhaps one of the coolest things I’ve done to date was a radio day with Dr Raj Persaud for our Every Lesson Counts school attendance campaign. (You might recognise his name if you ever ditched lectures to watch daytime TV) He kept incorporating song titles into his interviews. I did get a bit worried when he started to talk about the Boom Town Rats I don’t like Monday’s in connection to school attendance.

Least favourite part of the job?

 I’m not a fan of having to endlessly follow-up press releases with journalists who clearly don’t appreciate being coaxed into covering stories.

When I’m 40 I’d like to be….?

A rich smug married MD and the author of a book or two

 Top tip for those lookign to get into the industry?

With Public, Charity and Voluntary Sector PR I’d recommend doing some voluntary work with an organisation that matches your interests. Because competition is fierce and everyone in PR is over-qualified you need to demonstrate that you’re self-motivated and act upon your convictions

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Be sympathetic to bullies – they actually need it.

 PR hero?

It might sounds sycophantic but it has to be the CEO of Geronimo, Karen Harris. In 1999 she founded Geronimo Communications. It became the UK’s fastest growing PR company by 2002. She sold it to Tribal in 2003 and is now a squillionaire – fab!

Any area of PR you hope never to have to work in?

Financial PR because I’d be rubbish at it. As soon as people mention numbers I glaze over. It’s an involuntary side-effect left over from Secondary School maths lessons.

Blogging & social networking-which ones are for you?

You can tell a lot about the public perception of your campaign by reading the reader comments on newspaper websites. I’m a relative newbie to blogs and online networks but I am Facebook convert – it’s dangerously distracting. Besides the PR and Comms network, obviously, I’m also a member of groups like the ‘excessive consumption of tea society’ and ‘I made a fool of myself in Klute nightclub’.

Best way to get hold of you? [mobile, landline, email, facebook, Myspace, text, letter, message in a bottle etc]

Any of the above, but you would grab my attention particularly well if you sent a message in a bottle or a carrier pigeon.

And now the hot stuff, Miriam Laverick-your life in questions;

FT or Heat?

    • FT or Heat?

The good thing about my job is you get to read both under the umbrella of ‘research’. If there were an FT ‘ring of shame’ I’d read it more readily however.

    • Grazia or Country Life?

Grazia – silly question!

    • Cameron or Brown?

I’d be stoned by irate Geordies the moment I stepped off the train at central Station if I said anything other than Brown.

    • Running or the gym?

Both. It depends what the weather’s like.

    • G & T or JD & Coke?

G & T

    • Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

Ben & Jerry’s

Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

This is a contentious issue in our office as grad coffee drinking habits clash.  Starbucks for quantity and choice, Nero for quality as long as you don’t mind waiting a year for your drink

    • GAP or Portobello Rd?

Both

    • North or South?

South for the moment because I’m enjoying London right now and most of my friends are here. When I’m old and bored of life in fast lane (or can’t hack the daily stampede just to get on a bus any more) I’d like to retreat back up north and live the good life somewhere in Northumberland

    • If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?
      Audrey Tautou for no other reason than she’s gorgeous

 

The greasy pole; episode 1

May 9, 2007

 

As promised, here is the first of our planned series of profiles of young PR professionals. Mr Tom Merrifield, Account Exec at Edelman, is the first to step into the [rather dim] limelight, and bare his soul to you all…

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  • So Tom, What made you want to work in PR?

Because I’m shallow and place excess value in the consumption of Champagne and celebrity spotting. Just kidding, I decided to move into the heady world of PR having questioned my decision to practice law following a rigorous three year degree. I wanted to try something which would allow my creativity and analytical skills to be used concurrently, whilst also being involved in contentious current issues (feel free to paste that into your application form…)

  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve done so far in PR?     

In terms of professional cool, I guess that working for the GLA and presenting to the board of directors at the top of City Hall as Ken walked past was pretty good, as was working for the National Aids Trust on World Aids Day 2006. In terms of pure, arbitrary, cool; the kind of cool that were I Vince Vaughan chatting to one of his compadres in Swingers, I would describe as being “money”…I reckon gate-crashing Gordon Ramsey’s wife’s book launch at the Century Club, landing myself free Space NK freebies, chin-wagging briefly with Messrs Ramsey and Clarkson (Jeremy) and topping it off with a quick “hello” to Neil ‘Doctor’ Fox, all whilst sipping free Champagne and Pomegranate cocktails (Yes, I really am that masculine!) comes quite high up the list.

  • Least favourite part of the job?

Media monitoring. This really needs no explanation or justification.

  • When I’m 40, I’d like to be…

Happy. Preferably with more money than my wife (I’m making another assumption there) knows what to do with…*reconsiders his career trajectory*  

  • Top tips for those wanting to get into the industry?

Do research the job and agency. Don’t apply to agencies just because they look ‘cool’. Do be certain that PR is for you – try and get work experience. Don’t’ place too much value in working in a ‘cool’ office. Do be honest with yourself and your interviewers. Don’t try and use buzzwords/phrases like “blue-sky thinking”(though depending on the agency and interviewer, this may or may not help – judge this by how skinny their jeans are and if they’re wearing square rimmed spectacles and a cultivated look of Shoreditch ‘cool’). Don’t apply if you think Nathan Barley is actually ‘cool’ and not just an amusing parody of someone in media. Don’t overuse the word ‘cool’. Don’t take yourself too seriously (hence the photo)

  • Best advice received so far?

When worrying without reason: “nobody’s dead and no one’s pregnant – so what’s the problem!?”

  • And now for the important bit…Merrifield, this is your life:
  • FT or Heat?

Both

  • Grazia or Country Life?

Neither

  • Cameron or Brown?

Neither

  • Running or the gym?

Both

  • G & T or JD & Coke?

JD & Coke

  • Hagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s?

Baskin Robbins

  • Caffe Nero or Starbucks?

Nero

  • North or South?

South

  • If I were to have a film star play me in the film of my life, it’d be…?

Edward Norton