PRWeek UK 30 Under 30: Hollie Jones, Liquid

We hear from Hollie Jones (27), senior account manager, Liquid.

Not many senior account managers have a client portfolio that includes consumer, corporate, public and private sector and damage limitation, but Jones has already proven to be a truly versatile comms pro. She achieved two promotions within 12 months – including one in her probation period – and has produced effective work for clients including The British Transplant Games and The National Trust.

Meet the PRWeek 30 Under 30 2020

Judge's comment: "Hollie's nomination stood out because it clearly shows the impact she has on outcomes for clients, not just focusing on outputs of work. And that impact is clearly felt across not just her business, but clients too."

How does working in PR differ from your expectations?

It’s hard to have expectations of an industry that’s so broad. I certainly didn’t think I’d have such a diverse client portfolio. Working in the PR industry means constantly having to think innovatively. Gone are the days of focusing solely on ‘traditional sell-ins’. Now there are so many opportunities to get creative in getting results, whether it’s holding exclusive lunches at Michelin-starred restaurants, taking a commemorative baton on a tour of the UK or herding cows to take pictures for their dating profiles – that one definitely wasn’t expected!

Describe your experience of working in PR during the COVID-19 crisis.

When we first went into lockdown, the majority of work Liquid was doing for clients was crisis planning and communications. Over time that’s changed. As we’ve all got used to working from home and communicating virtually, client focus has shifted, too, and we’re preparing to get back to our new normal. Rather than solely managing crisis messaging, we’re restarting to generate new ideas and launch campaigns, just in different ways – last month we held an online food festival for a new cookbook and reached almost 1,000 downloads in two weeks. In a way, the remote-working scenario we’ve all been forced into has maintained productivity but increased creativity.

How (if at all) will the COVID-19 crisis change the PR industry?

It’s already forced us to be more creative and I don’t think that will change. Huge activations, events and launches that were due to take place this year have been called off, postponed or made virtual, but they all needed replacing with activity that will yield the same, if not better, results for clients. COVID-19 has changed people’s outlook and being authentic, having purpose and protecting the environment has become more important. We have also seen an increase in the support for small, local businesses, and consumers will want to continue championing their local heroes. Hyperlocal coverage could be key to doing this.

What one thing above all would you change about the PR industry?

The notion that PR is all about securing media coverage. For me, it should be more about how good communications can inspire positive change, whether that’s an increase in sales, shifts in consumer perception, donations to charitable causes or greater awareness of important global issues.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

With the way that the industry is changing at the moment, who knows? I will still be working towards important causes that I believe in, hopefully leading a team with the same values and commitment to making a difference. I would also love to be working on an international scale – I’m fascinated by the way that PR is being used overseas. By representing the UK arm of an international organisation, I’ve had some insight into the way other markets work and would love to try my hand at it.

How do you switch off from work?

Two of my passions in life are interior design and musical theatre, so I can often be found flicking through home magazines, with a paint brush in hand, or at rehearsals with my local youth theatre group, where I’m a production manager.

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