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Ten minutes with Sophie Naylor, MD of agency Franklin Rae PR

We grab ten minutes with Sophie Naylor, managing director of agency Franklin Rae PR, to ask her about her life, loves and how on earth she got into PR in the first place. Plus, Naylor offers some top tips for anyone hoping to move onwards and upwards in the industry.

What did you want to be when you were a teenager?
“I desperately wanted to be an air hostess called Linda, to my seven-year-old self that was the epitome of glamour. My teenage self went through so many phases of dream careers: an international spy; a heroic ER medic; an actress; a writer; Nobel-prize-winning scientist; and a polyglot.”

What made you choose a career in PR and how did you get your first break?
“I loved reading, writing, puzzle solving and I’m horribly nosey – which seem to fit well with skills needed for PR, namely finding out the what, why and how’s of client businesses and making it relevant and interesting to the right audience. My first PR job came through a start-up Tech PR company, and despite knowing nothing about technology or PR they gave me the job, probably because the pay was so negligible nobody else applied for it.”

Have you got any regrets about any decisions you have made? What is your career highlight?
“I’d love to say I regret nothing, but that would be a big, fat lie, although none of them severe enough to keep me awake at night. My biggest regret is not having the time to keep up with all the amazing people I have met through work. One of the joys of agency PR is that you do get to meet so many interesting people. Career-highlight wise, it has to be working with a fantastic, diverse team at Franklin Rae who set the bar high, and have enough self-belief and talent to achieve it.”

Why did you choose Franklin Rae?
“Its client roster and reputation. I loved the can-do ethos of Franklin Rae and the team spirit. Franklin Rae focuses on collaborating with creative clients to help them achieve their business objectives, which isn’t always the case in agencies.”

What are the particular challenges of your present role?
“Even though Franklin Rae has a strong team of staff I still find working with clients enormously seductive, I can easily find a million ways of falling down a rabbit-hole of time with client work, so it can be a challenge balancing that with the practicalities of running a business.”

What advice would you give anyone starting out in PR?
“Read, watch and listen. PR depends on you being aware of what’s happening in the media and if you’re not interested in it, it becomes very apparent very quickly. Also leave your ego at the door, both the client and the press (or producer) are always going to be more important than you. Finally, good manners go a long way but I think that’s true in life generally.”

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