Meet the team

Meet the team: Berkeley’s client engagement team on the best way for brands to find a PR agency

Written by Claire Slobodian

20 January 2021

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In our latest meet the team blog, we hear from our client engagement team: Holly Haselden, Caroline James, Thea Parker and Caroline Vibert. Here they share what made them want to work at Berkeley, their favourite PR campaign of 2020 and their recommendations for the best way for brands to find the right PR agency in a changing business climate.

Ways of working and the new business process changed a lot last year. What is the best way for brands to find a new PR agency right now?

CAROLINE VIBERT: I think if they know exactly what they want from a PR agency, and have a clear brief, that’s a great starting point. Sounding out colleagues, friends and other industry insiders for their recommendations is a good way to develop a shortlist. But those two things have always been important.

However, in terms of finding and approaching new customers, it’s all about increasing personalisation. Prospective clients are really interested in why you want to work with them specifically and what value you bring to their business.

THEA: My recommendation would be to ask for case studies or examples of the agency’s work. In normal times, I would also suggest that they visit the offices to see how the team bonds together, but nowadays look for that bond over video.

CAROLINE JAMES: Well you need to call me on 0118 334 3745 or email me on [email protected]. I couldn’t possibly give you any more information, someone might read this!

2020 was a difficult year for work, but have there been any positives to the changes brought in by the pandemic?

CAROLINE J: So, so, so, many. I have thrived this year in so many ways. Fighting through March, April, May when our pipeline fell through the floor was exhausting, exhilarating and at times I really had to rethink my life motto – ‘laugh in the face of rejection’. I have never learnt so much in such a short period of time and on reflection, I strangely miss that adrenalin. Too much red wine and not enough sleep…but still.

However, I came out of it a better salesperson and had truly put being agile and adaptable to the test. We all talk about these adjectives, but this year we truly put them into practice. The way I work has changed, my priorities, my tools and my tech understanding – both that of prospects and our own tech stack.

THEA: I feel people are communicating more, building stronger working relationships and staying connected. Also, new ways of working are being sourced and, in some cases, becoming more productive.

CAROLINE V: Most people are definitely more inclined to chat and it’s also given us a more personal insight into people’s lives. It’s also accelerated people’s adoption and enthusiasm for new technologies. Clearly, the reduction in commuting and business travel more generally is good for the planet. Oh, and you don’t have to wash your hair so often when all meetings are on video calls.

How has your team culture changed since the pandemic?

HOLLY: We have all become very flexible and excellent at video calls.

CAROLINE J: We have found new ways of working. Communication is key, and we have daily chats and a formal meeting once a week still. We are all working mums and therefore can multitask and adapt like ninjas. I wrote an article about this a year ago, and I still feel about my team as I did then.

What makes your job exciting?

THEA: The diversity and variety of my role and the passion of my colleagues.

CAROLINE V: Being on the frontline of new business is always fun. It’s great being able to find connections with people that five minutes ago weren’t there. And everyone in the tech industry in particular always believes their software or solutions are going to change the world, and I really like that. And in some cases, they really do!

HOLLY: Every day presents a new challenge at Berkeley, and things move at a very fast pace. There is always something new to learn and get your teeth into which I really enjoy.

CAROLINE J: The people, the wins, storytelling, learning new tech both internally and externally (I am a bit of a blockchain enthusiast). Oh, and the people.

What’s been your favourite PR campaign this year?

Nike Don't do it

CAROLINE V: I’ve loved some of the ad campaigns: Nike “For once, Don’t Do It” and Amazon’s ‘The Show Must Go On’. Brewdog repurposing their brewing facilities to produce hand sanitiser was a great initiative.

In terms of PR campaigns, Kaspersky’s Love and Loneliness campaign surely has to be up there.

HOLLY: My favourite campaign this year would be KFC’s slogan switch up.

What drew you to working at Berkeley?

CAROLINE V: Not the sexiest of answers I’m afraid! My husband spotted the role in the local newspaper, that’s how long I’ve worked here! And then once inside the door, and I was on the receiving end of CEO Chris Hewitt’s legendary charm, I knew I really wanted to work here.

HOLLY: I joined Berkeley after finishing maternity leave with my second child. I was nervous to be going back to work after a year, especially in a new company. But Berkeley was just lovely and had such a modern way of working compared to what I was used to at previous companies.

THEA: I was drawn to Berkeley by the strong relationship within the sales team and their welcoming nature.

CAROLINE J: I was freelance at the time and looking for anything front line and new biz in a smallish company. I saw an advert in the Reading Post, and I don’t mean online! I was freelance for about four years then jumped in as permanent and haven’t looked back. I LOVE Berkeley, and I really do. I actually couldn’t leave now, I just don’t know how I would tell our CEO, Chris Hewitt, who has become a great friend.

What’s been your proudest moment at Berkeley?

CAROLINE J: There has been so many. Sometimes it is really long sales that come in after three years of contact. A couple of years ago, one of our competitors listed me on their ‘people to watch’ on LinkedIn. Coming home from my first MWC in 2013 with a new client. This is all a bit braggy so I will stop now.

THEA: I always get a great feeling when time and research develops into a lead or a sale.

HOLLY: My proudest moment at Berkeley would be migrating our CRM system to HubSpot.

Last but not least, who’s your favourite storyteller?

HOLLY: My favourite storyteller is Walt Disney.

CAROLINE J: Kanye West

THEA: A childhood favourite of mine was Enid Blyton.

CAROLINE V: So tricky! I will say, Tom Hardy, not just because of his acclaimed bedtime story reading, but also his compelling series Taboo which he wrote and produced. Or perhaps Michaela Cole more recently. I love Hilary Mantel too. I also think stand-up comics make great storytellers. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much as seeing Rhod Gilbert’s suitcase sketch.

Are you looking to work with an excellent team of professionals to get your brand seen?

Get in touch with our client engagement team today.