After my first month of working as a PR Account Executive at one of the most respected out-of-London agencies in this neck of the woods, I’ve been given the opportunity to write up some of my observations and reflections.
I may still be on probation, but I’m going for it. If you’re looking for some honest insight into starting out in a junior position at an agency, or just keen to read an update of some of our recent PR activity, then read on.
It all started with a LinkedIn notification...
If you’re looking for a career opportunity at any agency, then follow them on LinkedIn and be sure to set up alert notifications! That’s what I did with Mobas, and it paid off. As soon as the bell chimed with the vacancy for a PR Account Executive on the ‘Jobs’ page, I was onto that application straight away.
To be honest, the recruitment process was unexpectedly challenging. Multiple interviews and a timed written task later (so stressful, I had to write a press release based on an imaginary client in 20 minutes yuck)...I got the job!
The PR team and our clients
“You can't buy a good reputation; you must earn it.”
There is a lot of work that goes into managing a reputation, and Mackay is right, you have to earn respect. Building a “good” reputation means investing money and time (sometimes years) into getting the right buzz going.
The PR team at Mobas is coordinated by Jay Evans (Head of PR). Whilst this isn’t my very first rodeo in the world of PR, I’m still green and Mobas is certainly the largest and most established agency I’ve worked for. It’s safe to say that I’m learning a LOT everyday. Jay and I work together on the media relations and reputation management of clients including Saffron Building Society, ChickenGuard, The Orator and Kingsway Golf Centre. We produce both consumer and B2B campaigns and I’m learning first-hand how to determine the best channels and angles for each story we ‘sell in’ (PR term, it never costs anything) to the media.
In fact, very excitingly, I’ve been entrusted to take ownership of some community stories and have already been able to secure coverage for Saffron Building Society on a regional and national level! My daily tasks include writing press releases, creating media lists and compiling coverage reports — the kinds of daily deliverables you could employ from any press team. BUT at Mobas, we also have some very special PR offerings.
Jay has many years of invaluable broadcast PR experience and I’m learning how he uses this knowledge to build webinar and podcast series — the most effective thought leadership channels. As part of our collaboration with Saffron Building Society, he’s been instrumental in creating successful series for Saffron For Intermediaries, an arm of the Society’s brand. SFI Live (the webinar series) and SFI (not so) Live (a podcast) are gaining traction and I think these are great examples of how a PR team can bring comms skills and expert media know-how to the table.
Another offering that PR professionals need to prioritise is the importance of corporate responsibility. At Mobas we’ve been discussing how something like ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) policy, for example, is no longer lofty talk thrown around at a company’s top-tier boardroom level. How you position yourself as a brand and business is incredibly important and you need to be authentically taking responsibility for issues. With generations of more socially and environmentally-conscious consumers coming through the ranks, not walking your talk bodes disastrously for your reputation. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, I garnered some great insight into authentic storytelling from an episode of the Mobas podcast, What’s the Point. Give it a listen.
I’d be lying if I said that company culture wasn’t the most important part of a job for me. I highly value working for people who make the office an easier place for me to be. And I don’t know if you’ve heard about the infamy of #agencylife, but word on the street is that agencies are hierarchical stress-fests where unhealthy work-life balance persists. Safe to say, I girded my loins as I prepared to start at Mobas.
Please don’t get me wrong, everyone at Mobas works incredibly hard, but from my first day, I have been eased into my new role. I have felt supported, valued from the get go. I’ve had loads of chats with colleagues from all levels of management and in every department and have just been made to feel truly welcome. Not with jazz hands, but with steady and mature guidance.
I’m a nerd, so CPD is really important to me and, during my interviews, I was sold on the fact that Mobas has an established in-house development programme. It’s totally refreshing to know that my personal ambitions are supported by my employer — we even get four days off a year to use for whatever CPD we want. They’re called ‘transformation days’, how great is that?! Look at this page of our website. I know what you’re thinking, it’s gross, people simply cannot be this happy to be at work. But they are! This is what a valued workforce looks like.
As we come out of the pandemic, another way to support your workforce is to continue prioritising and valuing their health. The Mobas office is one of the safest I’ve seen, with Covid-secure measures like social distancing and regular testing still in place. We work with a hybrid approach and are provided with all the resources we need to make this possible.
What on earth is ‘transformation’ and how does PR fit into this?
Take a look at anything Mobas-related and you’ll find our tagline: “We’re the brand transformation business.”
One of the core teams at Mobas is our Strategy team and they work in partnership with all our clients to create a map that leads to brand transformation. Simply put, this means identifying any opportunity for your business and transforming these into success.
A fundamental element in that strategy is public relations, it goes hand in hand. As the PR team, we play an active role in the transformative process. We work to ensure that PR activity is not only effective but also relevant to the business strategy - be that in thought leadership pieces, the crisis communications protocols we provide or generating creative ideas for PR stunts and events.
Jay, the team and I make it our goal, not only to work key messages into our activity effectively but also to make sure we’re reaching the right audiences and stakeholders. Mobas also has a really effective and clever way of providing evaluation – weekly, monthly and post-campaign.
It all starts with a solid strategy and that, folks, is what Mobas does best.