Behind the Headlines With Sophie Raine
So how can you become a trailblazer and rise to the top? Use your creativity.
As head of brand at W Communications, Sophie Raine solves clients’ problems by focusing on flexible and innovative solutions. Here, she shares the biggest lesson she’s learned throughout her career, what it means to deliver impactful media coverage and how the rise in influencers is affecting the PR industry.
What drew you to the PR industry?
I desperately wanted to break into the media industry once I’d graduated so I took a job as a secretary at OK! where I had the opportunity to assist with the magazine’s events.
During this time, I was constantly sniffing around the editorial department, bargaining with them to give the events I was organizing extra space within the magazine. This gave me my first taste of PR, I got a real kick out of being able to see direct results from my hustling.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your first position?
Don’t take no for an answer.
I understand W Communication was recently chosen to handle PR activity for the V Festival 2016. What do you have planned for them?
V is one of the most iconic festivals in the world and this was an incredibly exciting win for us. It’s a milestone year for the festival as it turns 21, so we have plenty planned to celebrate this coming of age.
We want to see the festival talked about well beyond the music and showbiz pages, so we have various executions in the pipeline in the way of creative campaigns, partnerships and news announcements to keep us busy right up until the festival weekend in August.
What do you think was the key factor in W winning that account?
Firstly, we proved that we can deliver on large-scale events from our work with Live Nation, including the execution of Wireless 2015 and the Kopparberg Urban Forest 2014 and 2015.
Secondly, we presented Festival Republic with an inventive strategy that showed a clear understanding of not only the media but also V Festival itself and its cultural status.
Tell us about W’s approach to PR strategy.
We pride ourselves on having the agility, flexibility, intelligence and flair to look for the right solutions, rather than the most convenient ones. That’s why we’ve always been proud to be judged by results, using creativity as a means to deliver genuine business value to every single client.
From our inception in 2009, we’ve consistently set out to be accountable in exactly the same way as ad agencies are – through our impact on hard business metrics.
We understand how to deliver both corporate and consumer PR coverage through the most relevant channels – deploying a “through-the-paper” philosophy that’s designed to create maximum impact for brands.
The “through-the-paper” mindset permeates throughout the company and defines much of our media relations output – helping us to achieve the biggest possible commercial return for clients, and extracting the most value from campaign budgets. It means we can always connect with the widest range of audiences.
How has PR changed over the years?
It goes without saying that the widespread use of social media has fundamentally changed how people communicate and share information, which has had a dramatic impact on the PR industry.
There’s also been a massive shift in the way that PR agencies are viewed – PR often leads the creative process rather than acting as a bolt on, and is the only discipline that manages to traverse the worlds of content, social, digital, earned media and influencers.
The meteoric rise of influencers means that it’s not only traditional media who have the ear of a brand’s audience, resulting in a huge shift in the stories communication professionals tell and who they tell them to.
Rapid Fire Round
1. I always thought I’d be…an actress.
2. My biggest pet peeve is…am I allowed two? Bad grammar and people chewing loudly.
3. My guiltiest pleasure is…the Mail Online sidebar of shame.
4. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…variety – no two days in my industry are ever the same.
5. The one website I always check is…Twitter.
6. If I won the lottery, I’d…find those swimming pigs in The Bahamas before returning to London to launch a restaurant that will be almost as ridiculous as the Cereal Killer Café.
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