Most Rated 2012: The Red Consultancy

The Red Consultancy is one of the journalists' favourite PR agencies. Tech practice managing director, Paul Wooding and account manager, Heidi Jutton explain their philosophy of media relations.

Most Rated: Heidi Jutton, account manager
Most Rated: Heidi Jutton, account manager

Age & ownership: Founded in 1994 by Lesley Brend and David Fuller. Now owned by Huntsworth plc and led by CEO Mike Morgan and a board of 14 Directors.

Size: 157 staff, £16m turnover

Specialism: Consumer, corporate, public sector, technology, healthcare and digital. (Research results apply to Red’s tech practice)

Location: London

Key accounts: Symantec, Adobe, McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, Boots and Pfizer

Most Rated Agencies snapshot: The Red Consultancy earns a higher rating overall than its profile amongst tech journalists might suggest. When asked about their experience of dealing with The Red Consultancy, journalists can recall more about rivals including Lewis, Bite Communications and Text 100. But in the Most Rated rankings, The Red Consultancy beats Text 100 for friendliness and quality of stories, the two attributes in which the former appeared in the top ten



 

How I see it - by tech md Paul Wooding

 

What the journalists say

 
 

About the agency

"I deal with the team on a number of technology clients and they are always helpful, friendly and prompt"

About Heidi Jutton, account manager

"Friendly and responsive to requests"

 

It’s fantastic to be ranked as a top ten agency by journalists.

There’s no denying that digital broadcast technologies and social media have changed the nature of PR – taking the focus off earned media and putting more emphasis on owned channels – and it’s all too easy for agencies to lose or weaken their relationships with journalists.

This is a mistake.  While the digital age has had a profound effect on many media companies and publications, the ones that have survived and thrived arguably carry even more relevance to our clients and their campaigns.

At Red Technology, we are rightly proud of our media relations skills and the relationships we build and nurture with journalists. To be recognised for this is testament to the skills and personalities within both our B2C and B2B technology teams.

Media-handling tips - by account manager Heidi Jutton

The main thing I’ve learned is to take time to get to know your media contacts. Without wanting to sound like a clichéd PR person, you can never under estimate the power of a lunch meeting or after work drink. Some of the best pieces of coverage that I have secured have been off the back of sharing a glass of wine, or a coffee and really getting to know what sort of story gets that journalist excited, and crucially what they need to get it published.

Also, never promise something you don’t know for sure you can deliver. It sounds obvious but when you’re busy managing multiple activities it’s tempting to always say yes and then try and fulfil a request. Whether it’s a spokesperson for an interview, a product for review or more information for a story, letting down journalists at the last minute can seriously tarnish your relationship. It’s so much better to be honest about what you can give them upfront to save any problems or mix-ups later down the line.

Finally, I’ve learned that journalists want to feel appreciated by PRs. The hacks versus flacks stereotype is so overblown. Giving trusted contacts exclusive content or access to senior spokespeople can have a real impact. This said, you need to be careful not to be seen as favouring one journalist over another. I always try and make sure I’m spreading the love, and I definitely won’t offer competing titles the same content!


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