10
Jun
Nyree

How to STAND out

Posted by Nyree

By the Stand Agency team

As you may know, we are recruiting at Stand Agency (if you are interested in joining us, get in touch!). Interviewing possible candidates caused discussion here about what makes a good impression when looking for someone to join your team? Here are a few thoughts from us for those looking to embark on a career in PR. Please join in and add your tips below.

First impressions count

It’s so important to have lots of interesting things to say about yourself at an interview to show your passion and enthusiasm for PR.

If you are just starting out in your career and lack on-the-job experience, you’ll need to talk about volunteering, work experience, your interest in social and traditional media and your observations on good campaigns, launches etc.  Pull out how this has built up your knowledge and skills suited to PR and comms like writing, public speaking or framing a point of view.  Never underestimate how good other candidates will be at this kind of stuff. Go in with real examples, fresh opinions and ideas, to show you have really thought about what working in comms and PR would be like.

Be inspired

Cultivate your interest in areas in which you want to work. Staying interested and engaged in your work (and clients) is a recipe for success.

Having a genuine interest in the thing you are promoting helps enormously – clients can tell and journalists can tell. Enthusiasm is contagious. Don’t be closed off to what you can find interesting – it’s amazing how, with an open mind, even an apparently ‘dry’ topic can become fascinating when you start to explore it.

Read, read and read more

It may sound obvious – but in interviews it’s very easy to tell who really pays attention to the media, and who has spent a hurried few minutes flicking through a newspaper before they came in.

Consume all kinds of media – broadsheets, tabloids, high-brow, low brow, online, broadcast and print. It’s impossible to advise a client or think up a brilliant campaign without having a very clear sense of what will work as a story. You’ll need to know the media so well you instinctively know what will make a good story, and how different publications and journalists will cover it. Diversifying your knowledge into a range of areas has its advantages outside of work too; you will find your pub quiz ability improves immeasurably!

Let your personality show

When you go to an interview remember to be as relaxed as you can and let your personality shine through.  Show a genuine interest in the agency and person interviewing you. We all look to work with people we like and can get along with, so give examples of you being a team player, and be as open and warm as you can. In a small team like ours (there are 9 of us at the moment), it is important that everyone gels and trusts each other. Interviewers will always be thinking about how you would fit in with their team so be aware your interviewer is interviewing you for personal as well as professional skills!

Now relax. Smile. And sell yourself as you intend to sell in a story.

 

30
May
Nyree

Meet Stand Agency’s … Jo Jacobson

Posted by Nyree

Joanna Jacobson

 

We love a good Q&A – so much so that we’ve created our own Stand set. Check out our soon-to-be long-running (and, who knows, maybe even copyrighted) extended questions and ‘quick-fire faves’. This week we have our lovely Consultant Jo Jacobson in the hot seat.

How and why did you get involved in PR?

At university I took courses in radio and TV and was really keen on the production side. My first job out of university was an administration role in the Welsh Assembly Government and after a year of receiving rejection letters to make the tea on TV sets I decided to contact the press office there. I was extremely fortunate to find they were looking for a press officer to start immediately on an interim basis. I had been doing some work launching a radio station at the university which they felt had given me some good experience. Once I was in I loved the work and consequently stayed working in PR from then on.

What keeps you working for Stand Agency?

It is a great environment in the Stand office: lots of hard work, good humour and collaborative working. I love how everyone bounces ideas off each other and appreciates the mutual support.

In another life, what profession other than yours would you have attempted?

I considered being a radio presenter for a while and got accepted as a freelance to one station before I got my first job as a press officer. Maybe in another life I am a radio 1 DJ!

What do you enjoy doing beyond the walls of Stand Towers?

You will often find me out socialising with friends but in a bid to reign in the late nights I have been doing some yoga and have just completed a web design course. I’m mulling over a Spanish course next but it is yet to happen….

What pearls of wisdom can you impart to those embarking on a career in PR?

Getting experience is obviously key, so offering to support work in charities etc. can be a good way of getting on the ladder. It is important to make good contacts within the business, so networking where you can is a good way of finding out about new roles. Also keep up with the news and the latest social media.

Jo’s S.T.A.N.D quick-fire faves:

Song – Family Affair, Mary J Blige (Sorry Blair)

Taste – Pasta / Cheese

Animal – Puppy

Noise – Rain on a window (when I’m warm inside!)

Drink – Red Wine

Jo Jacobson, it’s been a pleasure. Bring on the Spanish…

14
May
Nyree

It’s date time at Stand Agency

Posted by Nyree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Nikki Peters

At Stand Agency, talk has turned to romance. Don’t worry, we aren’t planning on sharing dating tips or lamenting “the one that got away”. We thought we would combine our chat about love lives with a media spin.

Not unlike most PR agencies, one of the first things we do each morning is have a good rummage through the news to see who is saying what, when, where and how. Devouring the papers one morning we got thinking – which news source would we date and why? Do feel free to join in and share your favourites too. Would you have a showbiz romance with dinner at The Ritz and holidays to St Tropez with the Daily Mail? Or would you prefer a date full of debates and long holidays with The Guardian?

Molly, our ever enthusiastic intern, would “for shizzle” choose to date the i paper, as would our glamorous MD Laura. Tough competition here ladies.  Molly explains that with the i paper the dinner-table-chat would be engagingly broad-ranging, and would include some random titbits that she’d then pass on as fun facts of her own to friends at a later stage. The i would be opinionated, dry, funny and left-handed.  She says, “I’ve never dated a lefty (in the writing-with-that-hand sense.) And he’d be a great kisser for good measure.”

Laura on the other hand has different motives for her choice of date. She believes the i paper would offer a broad range of conversation without being a bore on any one topic (yawn). Laura is looking for a date that has the knack of seeing other points of view, without necessarily agreeing with them.  She thinks the i would be an interesting and entertaining date but there is one caveat.  Laura insists “they would probably need to brush up their celeb gossip for me to agree to see them again, after all there is only so much news you can discuss before the talk leads to a more light hearted subject!”

On a similar theme, our resident Scottish politics and football guru, Account Manager Blair would like to date the Independent. Why, I hear you ask? “It’s concise, intellectual, well-balanced and aesthetically pleasing.” Just like his description.

Ultra-cool (she’ll hate that description- on account of her coolness!) Associate Director Fran would like to date National Geographic. How cultured! She thinks it would be “adventurous, occasionally outspoken with a love of travel and a brilliant eye for a photo.” I can see the artistic holiday snaps of the date now in one of Fran’s favourite places, South America.

Calm, collected and juggler of all tasks Director Rebecca would date the New Statesman. Rebecca explains her choice. “It’s recently rejuvenated because they worked out that women might actually be interested in politics and signed up lots of feminist and female writers”. Rebecca also values that her date has reached out into new media.  She thinks the date would go well because they would never be short of a viewpoint, they are interested in the same things and they wouldn’t mind if she checked Twitter while they were having a drink together.

Pub loving Account Director Penny has decided that she may be a slight commitment phobe as she has only managed to narrow it down to two choices, which she says is better than her real-life dating situation. The first is thedailymash.com, of course! She thinks it would guarantee laughter, an essential component of any date. Penny likes people who know what’s happening in the world, but can’t cope with anyone who takes themselves too seriously. With its surreal and satirical take on the news stories of the day, the mash could certainly never be accused of that. Her second date would be with Time Out, because she loves London, and loves doing stuff. There would be no problems coming up with pubs to meet in, restaurants to eat in, or exhibitions to visit.

Our travel loving and crisis calming consultant Jo Jacobson would like to head on a date with the BBC News website. She lays down her reasoning as such: “I know where I stand, it’s uncomplicated and straight-forward. We won’t have any arguments, just balanced debates that will be balanced. I will get regular updates on how the date is going and I won’t have to guess if they will call me.” I feel like I would enjoy meeting up with Jo and the BBC for some honest advice when I need to be calmed. Good choice.

Marvellously creative consultant Jo Rosenblatt would like to date The Sunday Times; a big hulk of a newspaper for a lazy weekend sounds lovely. Jo says is has “a bit of substance, a bit of style and is one paper that you can rely on to entertain for a good few hours along with a cup of coffee and a full English.” Perhaps on a first date, The Sunday Times could wow Jo in some of the classier breakfast cafes of North London.

Now, my choice would be the Evening Standard. A paper that starts late in the day, the date would be an after work affair – one where you can have a cocktail or two… It’s free, easily accessible (i.e thrust into your hand) and covers all topics with tiny nuggets of news. What’s not to love? Our date will be in some of the new and exciting bars and restaurants in London and I can’t wait!

03
May
Nyree

The appeal of working for a start-up

Posted by Nyree

 

 

By Blair Grant

A recent article published in The Daily Telegraph got me thinking about company culture and what attracts us to work for a particular organisation.  The piece, which focussed on a survey published by a recruitment company, found almost three-quarters of tech workers prefer to focus on finding work with start-ups for the learning opportunities and closer contact to clients. 

Are larger companies and multi-nationals losing their advantage over smaller start-up agencies when it comes to recruitment?

This time last year I was walking around Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, considering my employment options.  The weather was nice for Scotland – light, as opposed to heavy rain.  I had spent my formative PR years working with the largest agency outside of London, and at that stage was with a Scottish national agency.  I was 25 and I wanted a stab at London.

I made plans to speak to a number of agencies about starting a new career in England. I met Stand Agency, and needless to say, I’ve never looked back. My first interview saw me meet Francesca and Rebecca.  The majority of the discussion centred on Scottish politics and I could sense the excitement from what was then a very new agency.   I got a good sense of Stand’s flexible nature when I met Laura – and her daughter – in a Peterborough shopping centre as  Laura was on annual leave and I was travelling home the following day.  I quickly recognised that working with Stand would allow me to make my mark on an agency with so much potential. When the job offer came I accepted immediately.

Fast forward a year and I’m the happiest I’ve been in PR. Would I have accepted a role at a larger agency? Who knows?  However, what I can say is that I’m better at my job as a result of working here.  We have a relatively small team but it’s tight-knit, close and friendly.  I only have to raise my head to know that I can bounce ideas off some of the most talented people in the industry.

Penny agrees that there are many benefits of working in a small team – particularly a team made up of such awesome people as we have at Stand Agency. She likes the close friendships that develop, and thinks you can tell when people get on in a company and enjoy coming to work.  Penny, says: “The fact that it is a start-up company provides the additional benefit of a real sense of anticipation of what we could become- what we WILL become! This motivates everyone in the team, at whatever level, to strive to reach the potential we all know we have. It’s exciting to be part of something from the start. We’re all invested, and all share a real pride in the business.”

Molly, our intern, said that working here allows her to see more of the high-level projects in action.  “I’m not cornered away doing the photocopying”, she adds.

Now nowhere is perfect.  Are there downsides to working with Stand Agency? Yes, of course.  Being the only man in the office means that football chat is a little thin on the ground.  I now also know more than I care to about make-up. That said, the support, teamwork and genuine pride at watching something I’m a part of grow, more than makes up for it.  Oh, and the cake.  Never forget the cake.

30
Apr
Nyree

Stand Agency appointed to advise PPL

Posted by Nyree

Fast growing PR and social media consultancy, Stand Agency, has been appointed by PPL, an independent management consultancy, to develop and deliver a re-brand and communications strategy for 2013. This win for Stand Agency adds to its growing portfolio of clients as it comes up to its first birthday.

PPL works across the health and social care, local government, education, third, technology and innovation sectors, with a UK-wide client base. The PPL team recently won an Innovation award from the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) for their work with Nesta and the Innovation Unit on People Powered Health, looking at the management of long term health conditions across the UK.

Stand Agency has been briefed to develop an overarching communications strategy and plan to enable PPL to expand in markets where it already has a strong and well-respected presence. The account will be led by co-founder and Director of Stand Agency, Rebecca McLeod.

Rebecca, said:

“We look forward to supporting one of the top 50 UK management consultancies creating an innovative PR strategy that will increase awareness of PPL while differentiating it in the marketplace.

“This is an exciting time for Stand Agency with PPL as a new client and other opportunities on the horizon.”

Simon Morioka, Managing Director, PPL, said:

“Over the last five years we have delivered sustainable change in the private, public and third sectors and we look forward to working with Stand Agency to further build awareness of our offering to these markets.

“Stand Agency stood out as they are closely aligned to our commitment of being consistently open and honest in our work, ensuring that we deliver genuine value to clients”

17
Apr
Nyree

What it’s like at Stand Agency from Molly The Intern

Posted by Nyree

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Molly Stein Davies

This is the virginal (mini-)blog of Molly The Intern (I feel the capital letters lend a certain cachet to my job description.) However, far from being a general dogsbody – the role so frequently assigned to those undertaking an internship – I am actually pleasantly surprised to find myself entrusted with a fair share of genuine responsibilities. Drafting the job description for a new Senior Account Executive was just one of these.

The fact that Stand are looking for a new SAE to join the team will not be news to those who follow the ‘Standsays’ tweets, but these followers  may not know what working for Stand would actually be like. I am only two and a half days into my internship but, based on my experience so far, any potential SAEs could do a lot worse than working for Stand! The office is small but friendly, and filled with welcoming, diligent, creative, cake-loving, and highly intelligent colleagues. I have learnt a huge amount even in this short time (you can put beer in cake!) Indeed, it’s a shame I can’t put myself forward for the SAE role – of course there’s the minor obstacle of that pesky 2 to 4 years prior experience prerequisite standing in my way…. 2 to 4 years (imagine balancing in the left hand)… 2 days (imagine balancing in the right)…Yeah, it doesn’t quite add up, but hey ho and a bottle of rum. If my internship is cut short after my superiors read this blog I could always become a pirate…

You can email the team at ask@standagency.com for more information about the Senior Account Executive role.

17
Apr
Nyree

Stand Agency wins Vantage Finance brief

Posted by Nyree

Vantage Finance has appointed Stand Agency to develop and implement a new PR strategy to support its growth strategy.

Vantage Finance is a leading specialist broker that packages secured loans, buy to let mortgages, commercial finance, short term loans (bridging loans) and development finance for intermediaries in the UK. It operates in a competitive market and Stand Agency will be working with Vantage Finance to build awareness of the significant expertise within its specialist team.

The brief covers two phases – positioning and key message development, followed by a PR programme to enhance Vantage Finance’s reputation and profile in the industry press.

The account will be led by Stand Agency co-founder Francesca Rivett-Carnac.

Lucy Hodge, Director of Vantage Finance said: 

“I’m excited to be working with Stand Agency on a well thought out communications strategy. The team at Stand have always demonstrated the utmost professionalism whenever I have worked with them. They combine a personal approach to their clients with a strong underlying corporate PR offer, which means a friendly and responsive team that delivers excellent results.”

Francesca Rivett-Carnac, Associate Director and co-founder of Stand Agency said:

“Vantage Finance is a highly respected brokerage with a distinctive way of doing business. We’ll be working with Lucy and her team to build their media profile and highlight the benefits of using an expert packager with an in-depth knowledge of the UK lending market.”

15
Apr
Francesca Rivett-Carnac

A recipe for inspiration

Posted by Francesca Rivett-Carnac

By Fran Rivett-Carnac

 

We’re probably not the only ones who have noticed the little cloud of gloom that seems to have settled over our nation. If it’s not the endless stories of a bleak economy, it’s the fact that hats and gloves are still making an appearance in April (although today is looking more promising…)

Even the most optimistic and cheerful among us – and believe me there are a few here at Stand Agency – can sometimes wake up in the morning feeling a little uninspired. And a recent marathon week of brainstorms got me thinking. Being inspired and motivated leads to colourful ideas, brilliant work and a happy team. But what do you do when you find yourself completely devoid of inspiration when you need it most?

This blog is dedicated to anyone who has ever been there. It’s Stand Agency’s take on inspiration, and where we get it from.

The great outdoors. A bit of fresh air works wonders for the brain. For Penny it’s anywhere with trees. For Rebecca it’s a stroll down the street in the sun, to clear the mind and get all the connections working.

Food. Yes, we wouldn’t be Stand Agency without bringing food into the equation. Food is Nikki’s top creative inspiration, especially chocolate. Which is of course why it’s essential for us to have treats at every brainstorm…

People. We can’t all think of brilliant ideas all the time. But talking and bouncing ideas off each other means the tiniest kernel of an idea from one person can inspire something brilliant in another.

Solitude. But it’s also about having time to process your thoughts alone. Some of us come up with ideas in very mundane places… on the toilet, having a shower, in dreams, or in Rebecca’s case watching Peppa Pig (yes, Peppa Pig)

Exercise. Get a sweat on. Penny says the best way to get the thoughts flowing is going for a swim in the ponds on Hampstead Heath. If the idea of jumping into freezing cold water horrifies you, try getting the wind in your hair and going for a run.

Of course, we know it isn’t always feasible to drop everything and head out for a swim or an episode of Peppa Pig. If you’re at your desk with nowhere to run to, here are our two final thoughts:

Possibility. Rebecca is most inspired by knowing what’s possible. Think big and the rest will follow.

React to the negativity. Rather than being constrained by austere times, Laura believes it makes her more creative. React to the negativity and be more interesting and provocative to shake up the grey out there.

So there you have it. A recipe for inspiration a la Stand Agency. For those of you who are feeling a little grey today… we hope this helps you get back to being brilliant.

22
Mar
Francesca Rivett-Carnac

UnderSTANDing the Budget

Posted by Francesca Rivett-Carnac

By Penny Jones

In case you didn’t notice, the (not terribly) highly anticipated Budget 2013 was delivered this week amongst the usual unpalatable heckling and jeering from the House of Commons – as well as a quite unusual embargo-busting balls-up from the Evening Standard, with potential implications on the government’s practice of pre-briefing press (watch this space…)

So, as the Budget technically affects us all, we at Stand Agency thought we would share our personal highlights and lowlights from this year’s announcements. And first up, because I am writing it, is BOOZE! Might as well start with the important stuff and work down.

There are mixed feelings amongst the Stand crew on the 1p reduction on a pint of beer. Whilst Blair considers it to be one of his highlights, he also feels it is somewhat futile: “It’s good, but is a bit like being given £10 off a Ferrari, and will hardly have much of an impact when wages are falling”. A fair point. Fran is also ambivalent: Drinking will become an emotional rollercoaster with the joy of 1p off a pint followed by the sad reality of more expensive wine.”

I am more decided in my opinion on this one. Why just beer?! What about CIDER George? Wine? Rum? All other drinks I like? It feels discriminatory and is, in my opinion, a headline grabbing non-event. Channel 4’s Jon Snow clearly agrees with me, pointing out via Twitter that, if you drink10 pints a week, it will save you £5 a year.

Hmmm….

Onto lesser matters. The economy. Rebecca notes the not insignificant fact that the growth forecast for 2013 has been halved, pointing out “no matter how you dress that one up it isn’t good news”. Blair’s optimistic -sounding conclusion that it is ‘Budget of hope’ is revealed as misleading when he clarifies that it is the Chancellor’s hope (that his decisions pay dividends) to which he refers. Blair himself apparently does not hold out much hope for Osborne, simply pointing out the recent loss of our AAA rating.

Nikki was delighted to hear that the government has pledged to boost spending on infrastructure  by £3bn a year from 2015/16. Why? “I like going places, and I like doing it quickly”. You can’t fault the girl’s logic. She was less excited by the childish bickering and trading of insults we had to endure as we listened live to the announcement. A feeling shared by us all.

Another common theme in the office was disappointment at the relevance to us as individuals. This is something I certainly found, and have struggled to identify anything that will have a significant impact on my life. I do single out the 20% tax relief on childcare on behalf of my sister, who has three children. Drinks are on you sis! Oh, wait, with three children, you don’t go out….

Lack of relevance was something Laura also observed, as a non-smoker, non-beer drinker and very occasional driver, she found thatvery little of what Mr Osborne said got a cheer from me on a personal level”. Having started a new business in the past year, Laura was, however, encouraged to see some measures aimed at supporting small businesses. Although none were substantial on their own, she notes that a 1% reduction in corporation tax, a new £2k NI allowance and an increase in Government procurement from small firms (Stand Agency sits on the Agile comms framework) has to be good news.

Perhaps the most widely-relevant initiative, and Rebecca’s chosen high point, is the increase in the amount at which people start paying tax to £10,000. Although it doesn’t come into force for another year, it will make a big difference to most people. Fran was pleased to hear that there was some support for first-time buyers: “maybe now I’ll be able to buy a house before I’m 80!”. She was less enamoured with George Osbourne’s lack of focus on the environment. “Cancelling fuel duty rises and giving tax breaks for shale gas? On your bike Osborne!”

All in all, a mixed bag. Nothing hugely controversial, nothing hugely exciting. Will it make any difference? Ask us again in a year.