We started as a traditional PR agency, scoring editorial coverage for clients (across fashion, homewares, lifestyle) in national media (print, broadcast and online)
I've sat on the BBC Breakfast red sofa, hung around backstage of Lorraine and ThisMornng, donned the big headphones for a Radio 5 Live interview, steered clients through heavy weight broadsheet interviews and been stuck in the DailyMail revolving door many times.
As such it was typical for us to generate the type of coverage for clients that would create a significant, business changing, effect - websites have record hits, phones ringing incessantly, peak sales days.
Excellent, our work was done.
But, around five years ago we started to notice that traditional media exposure stopped having that 'fall over' effect it used to have. Calls to clients after a big PR win were a bit flat - 'How did it go, were you busy?' 'Not really, didn't notice much.' #awkward
It wasn't as if securing the coverage was getting any easier - it still required the usual back and forth between journalists and skill to know what and when to pitch and then the inevitable wait for publication, which often came without warning.
BUT if the eventual piece worked for the client - ie created an effect - then all that was worth it. But you can see our problem when our work, stopped working. Yikes
At the same time I had started to work with the stylists, makeup artists and hairdressers on shows such as XFactor, Dancing on Ice, The Voice and SCD. I'd notice that their twitter accounts would be full of requests for what contestant X was wearing, just how the presenter got that perfect red lip, what product did that judge use to get her hair like that? As the spin off/extra shows for these programmes became more popular so too did the audience's appetite for everything that was going on behind the scenes and now with social it was now possible to get this dialogue going. The brands were delighted and would send stacks of product for the stylsts and MUA to use and credit.
So whilst trad media influence was waning, these new voices were having stacks of influence - and I also happened to love the speed at which brands could get coverage and track their results.
This is how we started to shift our focus towards social influencers - admittedly it was a challenge at first, mostly explaining to clients what an influencer was. But we have since advised brands such as Miele, Vision Express, Warehouse, B&Q, M&S, Tesco, FeelUnique.