After excelling at PR agency Jaywing, Hallinan co-founded her own consumer shop, Full Volume PR, aged 26 from her kitchen table – with zero investment, financial backing or confirmed clients. In less than three years, the business has grown consistently, signing more than 25 clients and projects – Tesco and Mars are among the impressive names on her roster.
Judge's comment: "Founding an agency in your mid-20s is no mean feat – hats off to Rebecca! She clearly has ambition but also the results to match, with big clients already under her belt. Impressive stuff."
How does working in PR differ from your expectations?
The PR industry works at a much faster pace than you could ever really have an understanding for without working in the sector. I’d always thought about a client-side career, so starting out in a busy agency was definitely a culture shock, but one I’ve come to love!
Describe your experience of working in PR during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID has obviously been challenging for lots of businesses; however, by helping clients to adapt to new ways of working there’s always been light at the end of the tunnel. We had been working on some really exciting experiential activity that was due to hit just as the crisis worsened, so it was really important for us to replace this with activity that felt more appropriate, while still giving clients the support they needed.
Rather than focusing on ‘showy’ brand-awareness activity, we switched every client onto a ‘people-first’ strategy, to ensure that any PR activity was handled sensitively, and had the ultimate goal of helping our clients’ customers, rather than being purely coverage-driven.
How (if at all) will the COVID-19 crisis change the PR industry?
Throughout the pandemic it’s been more important than ever to make sure that any branded media relations activity has been handled sensitively, and with a cautious approach.
Once we’re through the other side, there will be an even higher demand for brands looking for PR support; be that from a reputation management perspective, or simply to help get brands back on their feet after a challenging few months.
What one thing above all would you change about the PR industry?
PR and journalism obviously go hand-in-hand, so I think the more we can all work together to develop campaigns that work for everyone the easier life will be. In an ideal world, knowing that a costly campaign has been sounded out with key media contacts in advance can really take the pressure off, so I’d definitely say the more we can do of this the better, rather than sending clients down a route that ultimately might not hit.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years’ time I’d like to see Full Volume PR going from strength to strength, with an established team and consumer client base. I love working in a ‘hands-on’ role, so wouldn’t see my day-to-day work life changing too much from that perspective.
A big focus for me at that stage would be working with the team to develop their skills, enabling us to promote from within and really create a fab team culture, and structure.
How do you switch off from work?
While work is a huge part of my life, I do think it’s important to take time out, which can be hard when you’re running a business. I find that keeping busy really helps, so over the past couple of years I’ve renovated two houses, which has helped me to leave work at work when I need to and given me something else to focus my evenings on.