PRWeek UK 30 Under 30: Duncan Bray, Woodrow

We hear from Duncan Bray (29), account director, Woodrow.

Bray has been praised for his "unmatched media relations skills", and building relationships with almost every major news outlet. Within two years of joining Woodrow, he grew the EMEA team from three to 20. Highlights have included heading the worldwide 'crew change crisis' campaign for more than 400,000 seafarers stranded on ships during the pandemic. Global media coverage helped lobby the UK government to recognise seafarers as key workers, which it did in summer 2020.

Nominator says: "He delivers unmatched international press coverage at a pace most PR practitioners would envy"

Take me back to the full 30 Under 30 list for 2021

What's your least favourite thing about working in PR?

I don’t think there’s enough honesty between PRs and clients. There’s a tendency for agencies to do a greater job promoting themselves than the client they represent. It’s created a murkiness to the sector, where agencies are in an arms race to tell the world how fantastic they are, all the while forgetting what matters most.

What do you think will be the single biggest change to the PR industry brought about by the pandemic?

A lot of the contracts we’ve won have previously been with the bigger and more recognisable agency ‘names’. I think there’s a desire on the client side to see a change in the way of doing things. Size or age of agency no longer equals ability, no matter how big the challenge. To see our young, dynamic consultancy manage international crises like the Suez Canal proves that. I think we’ll see a lot more brands and institutions choosing younger, exciting PR agencies in the near future.

Check out the 30 Under 30 Newcomers list here

Which 'traditional' media outlet is most important to you and why?

We have a really international focus, so for me Reuters has always been one of the most important media partners. I think the quality of journalism and their commitment to getting stories out from the toughest corners of the world is second to none.

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

I’d make it illegal for PR agencies to post blogs from employees on their websites. It's a total waste of time and a bit of a vanity exercise.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

We’ve got big plans at Woodrow to make a long-lasting impact on the industry. We have grown to 20 strong in two years. I’d like to see quite how far the journey goes. By 2026 I’d like to be in a position where we’ve continued this exceptional start, building a culture and company that is unmatched in PR. Whether that leads to international offices, new investment or partnerships, everyone in our consultancy wants Woodrow to leave a mark. Ultimately that’s what I'd love to achieve.

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