PRWeek UK 30 Under 30 Newcomer: Rory Grenham, Blakeney

We hear from Rory Grenham (23), account manager, Blakeney.

PRWeek UK 30 Under 30 Newcomer: Rory Grenham, Blakeney

Grenham first became interested in PR when studying the changing communications strategies of British political parties in the 1980s, for his degree. In just a year, Grenham went from joining Blakeney as a graduate to leading a sizeable account – the agency said it has never promoted or given anyone so much responsibility as quickly. From developing websites to running parliamentary events, Grenham has already done it all.

Meet the PRWeek 30 Under 30 Newcomers 2020

Judge's comment: "Rory's achievements are impressive. Most people work for many more years before they get to lead the range of activities that Rory seems to have taken in his stride in just two years."

What made you want to work in the PR industry?

After being fortunate to get work experience in-house and at an agency during the summer of my second year of university, it felt like a natural path to look for an internship in comms during my final year. I was even luckier to have a successful interview at Blakeney the day after my final exam. The three-month internship, during which I learned lots and got involved in some really exciting projects, confirmed that PR was for me.

How does working in PR differ from your expectations?

I was fortunate to join Blakeney at its start-up phase and have seen it grow rapidly in the past two years. That’s meant that I’ve been involved in a real variety of exciting projects from the start, both for clients and helping the business to grow.

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

I think everyone has experienced the crisis in a way that’s uniquely challenging for that person, but I’ve been lucky to stay healthy and work throughout it. From a PR perspective it’s underlined the importance of sensitive messaging. Tone deafness from corporates, NGOs or political parties just doesn’t cut it at a time like this.

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

The crisis and lockdown have confirmed that, in PR, we can do our jobs working from home, and most people will be more comfortable with “flexible” working in future. However, lots of people – myself included – enjoy the social environment of an office and can’t wait for it be safe again so that we can be back in a room bouncing ideas off each other.

In terms of advising clients on reputational issues, the crisis has confirmed how critical it is to be on the front foot with diligent scenario planning. As several brands have seen in recent months, it’s too late to start the preparation once the crisis has already started.

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

Every industry can do better on diversity, and that’s no different for PR. Not only is it desirable as an end in itself, it makes good business sense for a number of reasons. In PR, one example of those reasons is that great communication rests on an understanding of the values of the people you’re communicating to. Diversity within a team – of social background, race, gender, and political stance – makes it more likely that a range of values are considered and reflected in strategies.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Continuing to learn as much as possible, working on thought-provoking issues, and helping create strategies that respond to exciting high-stakes challenges.

Meet the PRWeek 30 Under 30 2020

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