Daney Parker, Editor, PRmoment.com
The earliest ambition of Kieran Kent, managing director of PR firm Propeller, was to be a footballer at Liverpool FC, but he’s not too disappointed to have ended up working in PR in Soho. In our ten-minute interview he explains why London beats Liverpool and the importance of being brave enough to challenge clients.
What did you want to be when you were a teenager?
I wanted to be a footballer and play for Liverpool FC. But I did always have an interest in the media industry and my original plan was to become a journalist.
Would your teenage self be pleased with the way things have turned out?
Yes. I may never have got the call to play for LFC but as MD of Propeller I’m working with some of the biggest names in the world of media and advertising, as well as some of the most exciting challenger brands.
Propeller is based in Broadwick Street at the heart of Soho, one of the most exciting, vibrant parts of London and home to many of the clients we work with. And we also get to support our clients at a bunch of cool events during the year – SXSW in Texas, Ad Week in London and New York and Cannes Lions to name a few.
So I think my teenage self would like the sound of that!
What is the best career decision you have made?
Probably the first decision I made after graduating from university to specialise in tech PR. It was the start of the dot-com boom and I saw this as a great opportunity to work closely with the new breed of e-commerce businesses which were challenging all the traditional ways of doing things. Working with disruptive tech companies is still just as exciting today, particularly in areas like VR, AI and mobile.
Where did you get your first career break?
A graduate role at B2B tech PR agency ITPR. This was a fledgling but fast-growing owner managed business that provided me with a great platform to learn and grow quickly, working directly with the founder.
My advice to anyone working agency-side is to always do your homework on the people you will be working with on a day-to-day basis and find out how much access you will get to the leadership team. The best agencies aren’t too hierarchical and offer fast career progression so good people have the chance to shine rather than just being a cog in the wheel.
Propeller specialises in the media, advertising and tech sectors so our typical clients are creative and digital agencies, media owners, publishers, media agencies and martech companies. We’ve developed sector knowledge and strong connections in these markets and we’re able to offer strategic PR, content and events services to help our clients engage effectively with relevant industry influencers in this space.
What are the greatest challenges of your present role?
PR is a people business so finding and hiring great people is always the number one challenge. As you scale up an agency you have to ensure that you maintain the great culture and team dynamic that made you successful in the first place, and that the principles of the agency are understood and upheld by all staff.
What advice can you give to others in the communications industry?
Always strive to be an expert in your chosen field. Read the media avidly, have strong personal connections with journalists and other influencers, and attend as many industry events as you can for networking and industry learnings.
Make sure you have an inherent understanding of your client’s business, but remember that you’re always the comms expert in the room – so never be afraid to challenge clients and don’t lose sight of what makes a good story and the content that will actually achieve cut-through.
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