PRWeek UK 30 Under 30: Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis

We hear from Shannon Peerless (29), managing director, 10 Yetis.

Peerless has had some career trajectory at 10 Yetis, joining aged 18 and rising to MD within a decade. Having devised and overseen work for major brands including Superdry, Just Eat and WaterAid, she currently manages a 20-strong team and ensures campaigns for 40-plus clients are on track and achieving results.

Meet the PRWeek 30 Under 30 2020

Judge's comment: "Shannon has achieved more at 29 than many of us have in longer careers. She clearly has made a huge impact on the agency and those around her and is a leader of the future."

How does working in PR differ from your expectations?

When I started out, I didn’t appreciate how high-pressure PR can be at times; you can get great results for a campaign but then it’s straight back to needing to do it all over again. I knew how important PR was for managing reputation and brand awareness, but 18-year-old me hadn’t yet realised just how much of a positive impact it could have in terms of helping take a start-up from an unknown brand to a huge company and the ROI it can deliver.

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

I’ve never been so grateful to have job you can do from anywhere. It’s meant that the agency has stayed relatively unaffected by the crisis, with only a couple of paused campaigns. We have actually gained clients during lockdown, which I didn’t expect at all. The toughest aspect by far has been not being together in the office. We’re a close-knit team, so keeping spirits high has been a priority, which we’ve achieved through regular Zoom chats and pub-quiz Fridays. Getting cut-through for stories has either meant tying them back to the crisis in some way to provide useful data for journalists, or becoming more creative and identifying the contacts that wanted non-COVID news and something to give people a reason to smile during a very tough time.

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

Client budgets could be impacted, which could put a strain on the industry in terms of having to deliver more for less. Agencies could adopt a more flexible working culture or do away with offices, having seen that activity can successfully be delivered remotely. Finally, some of the rivalry that you witness in the PR sector will diminish, with more of an open and honest dialogue about failures as well as successes. The crisis has been a humbling experience that has generated a sense of camaraderie, so I’ve seen less competitiveness played out on social media.

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

Certain publications not giving follow links within online coverage! PR is much less about those big print spreads in a national newspaper now (unfortunately), and all about those golden follow links. If the publications that it’s very difficult to get a follow link from suddenly started to provide them here and there, our lives would be a lot easier!

What is your 'side hustle'?

I have a couple of fictional novels in the works.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’ve been at 10 Yetis for more than 11 years and will still be here in another five. We’ll have bigger social, video, web and design teams and more national and global clients.

How do you switch off from work?

Apart from wine? Just kidding. Exercise is important to me, especially if I’ve barely stepped away from my laptop all day. Long walks, reading and Netflix also help, as well as socialising with friends and family.

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