I was fortunate enough to have Aneela Rose‘s approval for doing an online interview with Wajeez.
I want to thank Aneela (Founder and MD of Aneela Rose PR and Purple Rose Digital, UK) for allowing me this wonderful opportunity.
It’s not everyday that you have a PR agency founder open up and tell you everything you wanted to know about this mysterious world.
Without further ado, I give you Aneela Rose. I wish you’ll enjoy this interview as I did.
Q: Tell us more about Aneela Rose.
Whilst at high school I ran a multi-cultural youth group in London called ‘Subrang’ meaning ‘all colours’ in hindi which allowed me to use my social and organizing skills to interact with boys and girls from different cultural backgrounds and arrange fun activities.
It was during this time (1990s) I realized I had an edge with people and the parents told me they trusted me as a leader because I involved everyone and was focused and creative. My confidence grew and I was itching to put my skills to use in the commercial sector.
My first salaried job was working in trendy and upcoming Docklands for a publishing company which introduced me to the world of marketing, I loved it.
I got paid to talk and write! My two passions.
I set up Aneela Rose PR in 2004 after working in the manufacturing and engineering sectors for 8 years.
I was fed up reporting to Managers who didn’t understand PR and I felt I was good enough to work for myself. Best decision I made.
Within a month of becoming self-employed, I won my first client Amberley Castle as an editor friend of mine recommended me to the Castle.
Very quickly after that I was fortunate to win another two clients in the food sector and my PR success story began.
I worked from home to keep my costs down.
Q: The majority of your team are females. Was that just by chance or you prefer to deal with women more in PR? Can you call that a trend in UK?
We have three men and four females so we are fairly evenly spread which is actually quite unusual for a UK PR agency. The mix of personalities, ages, backgrounds, experience and genders works incredibly well as each person brings a uniqueness to the table and a different point of view. When we are brainstorming creative ideas, there is a quirky mix of thinking which leads to colourful meetings!
Q: Say a company has asked me to recommend a UK PR firm for them. How can I answer such a question in a professional way?
It really depends on the type of PR the company requires, is it of a technical nature working in niche markets or do they wish to target the public with a mass consumer campaign? PR agencies have varying specialisms and contacts so you need to find out what the company is looking to promote, which geographical areas do they wish to target, are they looking for offline and online PR, available budget etc.
Q: How different is the PR scene in UK compared to the US / Australia? Would you write your Press Release in the same manner in both continents?
PR in the UK has changed.
No longer can agencies hide behind just traditional PR implementation.
They now have to integrate Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media (PESO model) to deliver integrated marketing campaigns to meet changing client requirements.
Agencies not only have to keep up but keep ahead of the game, it’s a daily challenge for us!
Joining up social media and digital marketing with offline PR is a game changer for our industry.
UK PR agencies now require the resources, knowledge, technical abilities and forward thinking to succeed or they will get left behind.
Press releases always need to be written and targeted to a specific audience and publication, so although they follow a familiar format across the world, their content, tone, style and length needs to tailored accordingly.
Electronic distribution is still the preferred method and using newswires is increasingly effective to reach international audiences.
Q: How would you deal with a client who insists on going against your suggestions?
I’ve worked in the PR industry for 20 years now and over the years.
I’ve trained myself to be objective and humble when dealing with clients!
I appreciate that my client probably knows their customer better than I do.
But I would start by asking the client why they are making this suggestion and what is the business driver for it.
I would suggest other creative ideas that convey the same message and achieve the same goal and hope they would agree with my thinking.
I can be very persuasive as I try and back up everything I say with evidence and a whopping smile!
Q: In your post as a founder and MD of Aneela Rose PR, what reasons would force you to fire a client?
As an agency owner, the last thing I want is to lose a client.
But there have been times when we are better off without a client and I’ve had to make a tricky decision.
It’s not always about profit, although important it’s about the consequences of continuing to work with that client, such as the demands they are making, resources, ethics, relationships with the team and continual compromises we make.
I take a more holistic view of the consequences, as resigning a client can be beneficial and an important factor for the future of our agency.
One client I had ran a dating agency in London and although the fee was good, over time she became so irrational, unpredictable and demanding that we simply didn’t want to work with her any longer, no matter the budget.
So we said goodbye and it was such a huge relief for my team!
When you get into this situation you do need to learn from it.
What mistakes were made, was it pricing, were they not a good fit for our agency, was it a specific issue that arose, whatever it was, ensure you understand the problem and try not to repeat the same mistake.
Q: Share with us some the funniest, most bizarre, and totally unexpected situations you faced with your clients in any given day of Aneela Rose PR work.
There have been a few! The most memorable is sitting in a 4×4 jeep on the runway at Gatwick Airport ready to sound the bird dispersal horns to prevent birdstrike! We were literally driving onto the runway in between every landing, amazing adrenaline rush.
I’ve interviewed some fascinating people including rogue trader Nick Leeson, Coronation Street killer ‘Richard Hillman’ played by actor Brian Capron and property magnate Nicholas Van Hoogstraten.
I’ve bumped into HRH Prince Phillip at an international trade conference, had a slap-up dinner with comedian Eddie Izzard and his stage crew and failed to impress legendary cricketer Imran Khan with my bowling skills!
Q: Is the classic Press Release still relevant in spreading the word in this time of the internet and social media?
No, it’s not always the right approach but it’s what clients seem to understand and know about.
I’ve previously talked about the growth of social media and this is where it has all changed, so we are now educating our clients about using new online methods to reach their customers.
Using Google Analytics to monitor website traffic and audience behaviours, ensuring all copywriting, keywords, search terms are SEO friendly and monitored and updated regularly.
It’s not just about the traditional press release working in isolation any longer, it has advanced far beyond that now to achieve tangible results for clients. -Aneela Rose
Q: Online or Print – which one would you recommend for your clients? And why?
We incorporate both into our work as print is still alive and kicking in certain sectors such as manufacturing and engineering.
Their audiences often favour print as they can be more traditional in their thinking and prefer to read articles in the printed magazines rather than digitally.
We tailor our releases for each publication, so it is relevant and gives it a better chance of showing up there.
Both have printed magazines but their online portals are more active and a hive of news and information.
We target both print and online but securing coverage in the printed versions gives us brownie points with our clients!
Q: What are the new trends in Public Relations that are currently happening? How would PR be different 10 years from now?
The divide between PR, Marketing, Advertising and Digital will be non-existent.
There won’t be separate agencies for PR focusing on just media or Advertising creating just ads or Digital working solely online or Marketing for everything else; it will all roll into one. It’s that simple.
It will be about thought-out partnerships and working in collaboration with experts in specific fields rather than everyone working on the same thing together with generalist knowledge.
It will be about working smarter, cheaper and at warp-speed combining offline with online.
Q: Based on your experience, please recommend the top 3 important Online websites in UK.
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ – the best consumer site for giving tips on saving money. Incredible insights and advice.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ – topical and current with excellent news updates.
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ – interesting articles and features.
Q: Would you ever consider to branch out of UK ? Have you ever been to Dubai, UAE? Would you consider getting into the Middle East PR arena?
I haven’t yet been to Dubai but I’m planning to travel there this summer.
Yes, I would love to undertake more international work but I need to understand the market and requirements.
It is a very exciting proposition and I would welcome opportunities to expand my network and use my knowledge and skills to help companies in the Middle East.
Some of Aneela Rose clients:
- No Colour Bar black arts project
- Woburn Safari Park
- Honest Eats & Drinks
- City of London Corporation
- Itsu, an Asian-inspired healthy food chain
Best B2B PR Consultancy in UK 2015, Corporate Vision
Digital Marketing of the Year Award – Finalist, Gatwick Diamond Business Awards 2016, February 2016