Where are you based?
St Albans in Hertfordshire
What job do you do?
I run a virtual PR consultancy business from my home office
How did you get into marketing/communications?
I was one of the first cohort of students in the UK who was able to study a degree which included public relations. I graduated from Leeds Trinity University in 1990 with a degree in English and Public Media and was offered my first job within the press office of Britannia Airways based at London Luton Airport. Working for a major airline was an incredible learning opportunity as it taught me the fundamentals of PR and how reputation has a huge bearing on a company’s business. During this period of almost 7 years I almost changed careers to become an airline pilot but decided that I really wanted to progress within PR, which is when I moved into agency.
What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
Starting my own PR business in 2009 remains my proudest career highlight, plus the fact that I’m still in charge of my own destiny more than 10 years later. Navigating turbulent economic times successfully and coming out stronger is also something I’m thankful for.
How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
I founded Blackbird with a mission to help businesses harness the power of PR as part of their marketing strategy, to help deliver tangible commercial value. Our work enables clients to generate a positive return on investment through cost-effective PR programmes encompassing media relations brand building, content generation, social media management, sponsorship activation, thought leadership profiling, white papers, blog articles etc. Our team has particular affinity, experience and sound knowledge of industry sectors, including: aerospace; automotive; construction; engineering; and manufacturing. We have a number of case studies of how Blackbird has added value to client partnerships.
What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
Like any business, we have needed to tackle both incredibly busy periods but also leaner times, as part of the economic cycle. On our journey, we’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing businesses but we’ve also had to contend with clients who have been less than scrupulous. Learning how to deal with these situations professionally and effectively, whilst remaining positive and forward-looking can be very challenging but it’s all part of running one’s own business. I have become much more resilient as a result.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
My personal motto is “You will always miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
Communications is something that will always endure but the way in which we go about it will undoubtedly evolve. Always be mindful of reputation and consider how actions may be perceived. Think before responding. Whilst many companies still struggle with the concept of PR as a business tool, everyone knows what bad PR looks like.
Where can we find you online?
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