PR Interview with Matt Webster, Director of Media Bounty

About the agency

What services does Media Bounty provide?

Media (coverage across press, radio and online), digital and social (creating and managing platforms) and video/film (full production services).

What’s been happening recently at the agency? 

We’re involved in our first two full animation projects at the moment and moved office on 1 October to accommodate our growing team. We’ve recently hired a digital production manager and are currently interviewing for our latest addition to the account management team, so there is a lot happening. This year, we’ve broadened our existing client portfolio by adding Olympus, Mornflake, Lilly, Luxardo, Sanex, TOTAL Greek Yoghurt, Churchill Insurance and Spotner to the list.

Media Bounty was set up in November 2008, in the height of the economic downturn. How hard was it to get the business off the ground?

It wasn’t easy but we quickly knuckled down and built up relationships with clients and the media. We told anyone who’d listen about what we believed in, which was our great team and a results-based culture. Add a bit of sheer determination and some British ‘Dunkirk’ spirit into the mix and we managed to make a profit in our first year of trading!

What is special about the agency’s approach to PR?

We’ve always believed in a results-based approach to coverage and we maintain that as one of our USPs. We also look to add value to any coverage we achieve by making the content truly engaging. With that in mind, we see ourselves as a ‘Consumer Engagement Agency’. One client recently told us that we are their ‘Consumer Activation Agency’, which I think fits well too.

What future plans do you have for the agency?

We have lots of ideas, which is a major reason why clients want to work with us. Creating novel offline to online interactions and digital campaigns that push consumer engagement in new ways will be some of the things to look out for from us. We’ve also got to settle into our new office! Generally, it will be to keep up the level of service we’ve always offered across media, digital and film.

How do you ensure your clients get the right coverage in the press?

A lot of that rests with our experienced media planning team who have excellent relationships with all areas of the media, including press. They never give up, and will be flexible and creative negotiators to ensure the right coverage is achieved. But mainly it comes down to the relationships they have forged.

About clients

Can you list some of your most well-known, or respected clients?

Colgate-Palmolive, E.T. Browne, Panasonic, L’Oreal, Admiral Group, Bosch, Pfizer, SCA Hygiene, The Daily Mirror, Direct Line Group, Denplan, Fage UK, Lee Kum Kee (Europe), Olympus, Cellar Trends, Spotless Punch.

Tell us about one of your clients you recently worked with.  What was the company’s brief, your approach and the result?

We recently worked with Bosch – Powertools. They wanted to communicate to the ‘soft’ DIYer and encourage engagement with their Facebook page and video content we’d recently produced for them.

We designed a Facebook app called ‘Bosch Tool School’ that was built around the video. Consumers were encouraged to watch two out of a grid of four videos. After playing, the video screen revealed a product image. If two of the same product images appeared you could win the product and related prizes. We placed online media coverage in websites such as The Sun and this ensured awareness and traffic were driven to the app.

Bosch – Powertools’ Facebook page likes have been driven up to over 20,000 in a matter of weeks and there’s been a lot of sharing and discussion on other social platforms as a result.

How do you harness social media for your clients?

Apart from the example mentioned above, we also manage full Facebook platforms for clients. The most interesting work to date has been tying up media and digital campaigns with Facebook by encouraging further engagement. If content is king then image is queen when it comes to sharing photos on social platforms, whether that’s of recipes or nights out with friends.

What has been your most outlandish campaign?

Filming a Hummer Limousine reverse parking between cones on a blustery Donington Park race track was a lot of fun, and different from anything the client had done before. The video ‘Parking like a Pro’ for was a great success and continues to generate views.

What advice would you give to recent business start-ups on their PR strategy?

Harness your relationships as that’s what business is built on. Think of ways to get across your messages in a simple, effective and engaging way. Most of all, be creative and confident in your ideas.

About journalists

Which areas of the press do you communicate with the most and which media outlets or journalists do you find you work with the most often?

We communicate with consumer mainly: national and regional newspapers, magazines, radio (BBC, commercial and community) and online, which includes all types of websites and a myriad of blogs. Our frequency of work with website journalists, particularly consumer magazines, continues to increase.

What can you offer to journalists seeking a story on one of your clients?

Great copy, competitions, free for every reader, coupons, product reviews, road shows, samples, video content and ISDN radio interviews.

How do you build and maintain strong relationships with journalists?

By being prompt and responsive with communications. Also by providing content and material that is relevant to their readership.

How do you think the PR/journalist dynamic will change in the future?

Providing content that can span across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and future social platforms will become increasingly relevant for journalists. Agencies that can provide this and adapt with the changing digital media environment will do well.

If you could ask a journalist one question out of the ordinary, what would it be?

If I gave you Rupert Murdoch’s voicemail messages, would you have a listen?

About you

How did you get into PR?

A good friend of mine, and now business partner, told me I’d enjoy it. I believed him!

What media do you seek out first thing in the morning?

Twitter and BBC News.

Name three guests you’d invite to a dinner party and why.

Buzz Aldrin, Bill Hicks and Stephen Hawking, because it would be a raucous evening of positive discussions about the future of human civilisation.

What’s the first rule of good PR?

Does it pass the ‘so what?’ factor?

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