James Gordon-MacIntosh, managing partner, Hope&Glory PR spoke to Harriet Cramer
How did the agency come about?
Jo (Carr, managing partner) and I worked for 77 PR (now part of Fishburn) and although it was fun, we decided to strike out and do it for ourselves in 2011. Our task was simple, we realised there are lots of agencies that are grounded in experiential but have started doing digital and social – they do campaigns and then justify it by engagement in the social sphere. And then there are the agencies do great experiential stuff and excel at it but gauge its success on people immediately engaged. We felt that we had a perfect way of putting our expertise to great use by creating an agency that could be the full package; thus Hope&Glory (H&G) was born.
H&G have been behind some very talked about experiential stunts recently, how do you ensure you get the coverage?
Getting coverage lies in the heartland of who we are as an agency and as a PR team, Although we have always done experiential, we have never really seen ourselves as an experiential agency. When what we are doing includes a face to face aspect, it is our priority to make it interesting and editorially valid. The floating house for Airbnb for example, hit 14 million on twitter but we also got extensive press coverage. If something is interesting and exciting, people will want to read about it. Whatever we do is designed to get editorial coverage. That is our single minded purpose and it has done us very well.
It is rare that we start out with experiential brief. We are given a brief and sometimes we take a view that experiential or an event is the way to execute it, so we apply a filter that other agencies don’t apply.
The ability to make people smile comes from creative insight
How accountable do clients want PR stunts to be?
In some ways increasingly accountable but also not accountable enough.
There are still clients who will judge a stunt on what coverage it has. Has it created buzz? Has it reached social channels?
But, some activities can go a bit deeper than that. Post-activation research can see if it has created awareness. Did it have an end impact on the audience we wanted to reach?
PR’s function is to shift attitude, opinion and create awareness. In cases where an investment has been made you should be aiming to have an impact on that. In those cases it is a just cause to put research behind it. Even If you have limited budget, spending 10% on research is not a great investment. Research is a means of learning, and using it to gauge the future is an investment
You can see more from James Gordon MacIntosh here