Georgie Cameron is managing director of Newcastle-based Admiral PR, which prides itself on providing a ‘global service with a local touch’. Here she discusses pitching to the media, crisis management and the agency’s recent work for Newcastle University.
About the agency
What industry sectors does Admiral PR specialise in?
Admiral has expertise across the science and technology, education and enterprise, healthcare, natural and built environment, tourism and professional services. We prefer to specialise in these areas rather than take a ‘jack of all trades’ approach to PR services.
What is special about the agency’s approach to PR?
Delivering a PR service to our clients that they would expect from a London-based agency, yet at the price point of a regional agency is one of our key strengths. Our staff has worked with some of the biggest agencies and leading brands before moving to the North East, and our clients love the ‘global service with a local touch’ offering we deliver.
How do you ensure your clients get the right coverage in the press?
Our first port of call with new clients is working with them strategically to define their messaging, including key areas for thought leadership. This sounds simple but is something often overlooked by some agencies. From there, we believe having close relationships with national and trade journalists, in addition to taking a targeted approach to pitching stories is the best approach to getting the right coverage. Increasingly, we are using social media channels to pitch to media.
What do you look for in new recruits?
A keen knowledge in everything media and current affairs related is important, as well as a confident and can-do attitude. Enthusiasm and a willingness to understand our clients and their businesses is absolutely key. If a PR can’t get excited about their client, then what chance does a journalist have?
Can you list some of your most well-known, or respected clients?
Thorn Lighting, Newcastle University, Onyx, ADAS Devon County Council, Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Sungard HE to name a few.
Tell us about one of your clients you are working with at the moment. What campaign do you have planned?
Our work with Newcastle University on the ‘Changing Age’ and ‘Enough, for all, Forever’ campaigns has received widespread acclaim and won national awards. Admiral has supported the University, raising the profile of key societal themes, encouraging the participation of stakeholders and the general public through media coverage and a public affairs campaign. The ‘Enough, for all, Forever’ campaign involves 10 national press trips, plus a general media relations, the preparation of a map of sustainability for the North East, advertising at key travel hubs in the North East and an event at the House of Lords.
What is the agency’s approach to crisis management? How has it effectively dealt with a crisis?
For clients, we often deal with issues and crisis and they range hugely from patient deaths to near bankruptcy to large-scale strike action. The principles are the same, keep calm, prepare as much as you can, ensure you get your facts straight and communicate as quickly and efficiently with your stakeholders regularly and appropriately.
I often find that the most important part of crisis management is supporting those in the front line and making sure they are ready for difficult questions. Media training is key, as is taking a view on whether in fact they are the right people to represent the company as its spokesperson. Honesty is always the best policy, even if you need to say things that they don’t want to hear.
What has been the biggest challenge for the agency?
Finding the right people and keeping them.
What can you offer to journalists seeking a story on one of your clients?
We work closely with journalists to get the best angle for our client and to make a piece newsworthy. We aim to get information to them as soon as we can, understanding the tight deadlines that they are sometimes under, and keep them updated on the progress of this. Admiral prides itself on building journalist relationships so we know what they are looking for. We are not afraid of going to the extra mile to get what a journalist wants.
How do you build and maintain strong relationships with journalists?
We like to get to know journalists and know what they want so that when we have a story, we know who is going to be interested in it rather than wasting time. The team are encouraged to travel across the country to meet with journalists and build up their face to face relationships which really helps to maintain the relations.
Are you involved in any other projects?
Yes I have a couple of other projects on the go, small businesses in their infancy.
How useful do you find social media?
Great for making connections and selling in stories. We have also had some great successes for clients through creative social media campaigns.
Do you attend networking events? If so, which are you attending soon?
Yes, I attend the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Institute of Directors and a number of sector specialist events.
What is the best bit of business advice you’ve ever been given?
Two bits of advice have stayed with me: ‘Inspect don’t expect’ and ‘cash is king’.
[img|jpg|Georgie Cameron, MD]