What got me into marketing: PR & Social Director
From a young age, I loved writing and storytelling and was constantly designing my own front covers for glossy magazines, back then it was all about Shout magazine and a subscription to Animal Action (RSPCA)!! I would cut and stick an eclectic mix of the two.
When at university in Manchester, studying English Literature and Social Policy, I was lucky enough to bag work experience in the BBC Press office. The BBC’s building was on the same street as my uni and I asked if I could help out. They said no. I rang again a few weeks later and then again… Eventually they gave in and said yes. And what started off as one day a week unpaid placement, soon turned into a part time paid job. After finishing uni, they offered me a permanent role, but I had my sights set on travelling so politely declined.
Whilst on my global travels, I found myself one evening sitting around a campfire, next to a girl who worked for Weber Shandwick in London. She’d joined the graduate scheme and painted such an exciting picture of this fast-paced, fun, London PR agency that when I next called home, it was the first thing I told my mum about. My mum turned into a recruitment consultant and immediately got researching it. She told me all about Hill and Knowlton, a rival to Weber Shandwick who also offered a graduate scheme and were taking applications at a similar time to me arriving home.
I spent the summer in a gruelling graduate process with Hill and Knowlton, one of the questions they asked that has engrained itself in my brain was “If you were a brand, how would you market yourself?”. After several trips to London to stand and present in forced creative situations, I was offered a place and left my northern roots for the bright lights of the ‘Big City’.
The training and support at Hill and Knowlton was phenomenal. Based in Soho Square, next to the FA Head Quarters (those were the days of Sven) I quickly fell into the bustling London life. I was thrown into big brands like Volvo Cars, Hardys wine and B&Q. Although safe and secure at H&K, I had the urge to progress quicker and accepted a manager role at another WPP agency, Clarion. Based at the top of Leather Lane (I bought a lot of gloves!) I was given the opportunity to work on lots of interesting FMCG brands like Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.
After running the London rat race for over six years, I decided to swim back upstream to the north and to Leeds. I quickly got to know the Yorkshire landscape, having the opportunity to work on some really strong Yorkshire-based brands including Arla Foods, Symingtons and GO Outdoors. After various positions, including setting up my own PR consultancy which I ran for five years, I met HOME. What attracted me the most to HOME was that it wasn’t just PR. In fact, PR & Social at the time equated for a very small part of the agency. I loved the entire marketing mix that was on offer – to actually make truly integrated campaigns all under one roof, what a dream!
After leaving my last PR agency so many years ago, I vowed to myself that I’d never go back into agency life, yet here I am, in an agency. But this is different, it’s not like a typical PR agency because it offers everything across the entire brand experience and I have the privilege of dipping my toe in it all.
Written by:Janie Readman PR & Social Director
Category:What we're doing
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