Behind the Headlines With Bibi Hilton
Bibi Hilton, managing director of PR agency Golin in London, embraces change and aims to constantly evolve. In this interview, she discusses the agency’s emphasis on measurable results, the recent Kraft Heinz Company account win and why it’s important to have experience in a variety of PR specialties.
How did you get your start in PR?
I spent six months in Paris working at a PR agency to improve my French and decided this was the industry for me. I then used that experience to get my first role back in London.
Tell us about your role at Golin.
After a decade with Golin, I took over as managing director at the start of 2015. Our ambition is to create change through brave work, and my role is to enable that by recruiting and retaining the best people and working closely with clients to understand and challenge the brief.
The best part of my job is that no two days are ever the same, and I get to work with the most brilliant and inspiring people in the business!
I understand Golin was recently chosen to handle consumer PR for Kraft Heinz Company’s UK brands. What do you have planned for them?
We’re all very passionate about food at Golin, so this was a dream win for us. I can’t say much more at the moment, but Heinz has a very exciting year planned, and we look forward to getting our teeth into their portfolio of iconic brands.
What do you think was the key factor in Golin winning that account?
Golin is made up of four specialist communities: strategists, creators, catalysts (execution) and connectors (media and channel experts). This means our creative ideas are rooted in powerful insights and set against robust KPIs and evaluation models – so clients know that what they are buying will deliver real, measurable results. I think this was very compelling to Heinz.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
Building a chocolate hotel in Paris in 30 degrees Celsius heat was a memorable challenge! Taking over as managing director has been challenging but also very exciting.
Golin is 60 years old this year but we’re constantly evolving the agency to ensure it will still be around in the next 60 years, which makes my job very interesting.
Do you have any daily rituals that keep you going?
Coffee. Coffee. And more coffee.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?
Spend time with my two-year-old daughter. And after a baby-based hiatus, I’ve got back into going to the cinema and theatre recently – I saw Matthew Bourne’s brilliant “Sleeping Beauty” and am looking forward to seeing Ralph Fiennes in “The Master Builder” at The Old Vic next week.
What advice do you have for those looking to begin a career in PR?
1. Get as much experience as you possibly can via paid internships, such as Golin’s scheme the Bright Young Things (apply here). You should not be expected to work for free but most agencies will offer a week’s unpaid work experience to get a taste of PR or their agency.
2. Build up your own network on LinkedIn. Create your own profile and start linking in agency heads, recruiters and HR directors as this is where many internships and starter roles are advertised.
3. Broaden your horizons by experiencing as many different things as possible. At Golin, we truly value people who have taken an unusual path in life, as we believe ideas can come from anywhere. We are shortly launching a dedicated internship called the ‘Unternship, where one candidate will be paid not to come to work for two months and have an adventure instead. Find information about applications on our website in February.
Rapid Fire Round
1. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…Radio 4 Today programme. I’m still in mourning that James Naughtie has gone.
2. The one website I always check is…Facebook.
3. If I won the lottery, I would…be dreaming, as I have never done the lottery in my life.
4. My guiltiest pleasure is…Grey’s Anatomy.
5. I laugh most at…my daughter.
6. I’m at my best when…I’ve had at least eight hours sleep and/or a martini.
Image via Bibi Hilton
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