Who is the best? Asks MHP Communications’ Mark Perkins

In the latest of our series to find out Who is the best? I recently caught up with Mark Perkins, creative director at agency MHP Communications.  Mark is one of those understated guys, whose work talks louder than his ego! When I studied his career story, I realised that over the last ten years or so, he has worked on some of the UK's most successful and innovative campaigns. Here are Mark's top three people in PR: 

1. Lesley Brend

“When Lesley founded the Red Consultancy with David Fuller back in the mid-90s, they completely changed the landscape of what a PR agency could deliver for its clients, winning PR Week’s Agency of the Year an unprecedented three years in a row. At the centre was Lesley, a frantic bundle of wit and energy, who possessed the extremely rare combination of being a strategist, a creative, a client-handler, a businesswoman and great company. Despite all the success I never once saw Lesley shout or be anything other than modest.

“Whilst Lesley has been out of the game for more than a decade now, her imprint in agency culture remains today. Her legacy are the juniors from that era, little upstarts in combat trousers who worked under her and had a taste of how to be successful and do amazing work.

“People like Warren Johnson (W Communications), Chris McCafferty (Kaper), Richard Kanareck (ex-Fleishmann MD), Charlie Coney (Golin Harris), Hannah Norris (Nourish), Scot Devine (Brands2Life) and Rory Steel and Vicky Fox (Steely Fox) all learned their trade sitting in Lesley’s office watching her rattle off a pitch deck amidst a plume of smoke and big hair. It was the best PR education in town and I reckon if she ever came back Lesley would still run rings around everyone today.”

2. Sian Morgan

“Another former colleague from the Red years, there is no one in PR I like and respect more than Sian. I was her first hire when she started Cow with then co-founder Dirk Singer in 2000 (to put that into context Bill Clinton was US president) but Sian is still there, still hands-on and leading by example to this day and every day.  

“’Always different, always the same’ is how John Peel admiringly described The Fall, but the same applies to Sian and how she runs Cow. Whilst the PR world, indeed the world, has changed dramatically, the founding essence remains the same: fiercely independent, maverick, people-first and always looking to deliver original, award-winning work. In an industry where people aren’t afraid to shout about a few good days they’ve put in, Sian is an unsung hero full of warmth, self-deprecation, generosity and impervious to BS marketing speak. 

“In the normal cycle of agencies they have their initial flourishing moment and then, almost always, become grown-up, thick-set and dull. Yet Cow has kept re-inventing itself with different line ups of talented young people learning fast on the job under a brilliant operator. Come to think of it, Sian could be the Mark E Smith of PR?”

3. Dan Glover

“One of those talented young people who has risen and benefitted from his formative days at Cow, Dan is one of the best creatives in the business. He gets the idea that there is no such thing as a dull brand and has the ability to see a client challenge through a different lens. Even as a junior he was constantly coming up with really clever ideas that marked him out as a special talent. Over the past decade he’s consistently proved it in his time as the ideas person at Mischief and now as co-founder of The Academy.

“The industry needs the likes of Dan because he is stubbornly determined to keep pushing creativity and raising the bar higher. In short, if you want to do innovative work that is going to win awards you will probably come up against Dan in the reckoning and it’s the likes of him that keep me on my toes.”