Molly Aldridge, Global CEO of M&C Saatchi Public Relations, on the PRmoment podcast

This week, on the PRmoment podcast in the latest of our life stories series, I’m pleased to welcome co-founder and global CEO of M&C Saatchi Public Relations Molly Hooper Aldridge.  

Molly has worked for both large and small agencies, independent and networked. She launched M&C Saatchi Public Relations in 2012 alongside Chris Hides.  

The company has a fee income of circa £10m and employs circa 100 people.  

Here is what Molly reveals:

  • [00:03:32] The importance of PR agencies being a good place for parents to come back to work after having children.
  • [00:04:36] Why PR as a sector needs to make sure that it looks after working mums and dads otherwise you lose a whole set of talent certainly within the industry at a time when PR firms are struggling to find sufficient talent.
  • [00:05:27] Why Molly's time at Cohn & Wolfe was such an important job in her career.
  • [00:05:45] What makes a good public relations practitioner today.
  • [00:06:50] Why PR needs great people brokers.
  • [00:10:00] Why an agency has to keep its momentum.
  • [00:10:03] How an agency can lose its momentum.
  • [00:12:29] The difference of working for a big networked agency compared with a smaller independent.
  • [00:14:57] Why you need to be a lot more autonomous, a lot more proactive and a lot more entrepreneurial in a smaller firm.
  • [00:15:23] Why Molly's time at Henry's House was critical to the success of Slam.
  • [00:15:46] Why success is a mixture of hard work and luck!
  • [00:18:10] How the opportunity to create and lead Slam came about.
  • [00:18:45] Why the launch of Slam would not have worked without Scott Wilson's sponsorship.
  • [00:19:58] Why the launch of Slam worked when so many other consumer offers from large PR firms have failed.
  • [00:23:30] How Slam managed to grow at 30% year on year with a profit margin of 30% in the consumer PR market.
  • [00:24:59] Why was Colin Byrne such a good mentor to Molly?
  • [00:26:43] Why in a “US holding company world” you need someone at a senior level to have your back.
  • [00:28:19] Why did Molly leave Slam - which she had grown to a multi-geography global PR firm - to join M&C Saatchi PR which at the time had a fee income of less that £1m?
  • [00:31:08] Why the right opportunities should make you excited and terrified in equal measure.
  • [00:31:37] Why Molly felt she'd taken Slam as far she could.
  • [00:33:10] How Molly and Chris Hides have taken M&C Saatchi Public Relations from a fee income of circa £1 million to over £10 million.
  • [00:33:54] Why growing an agency business quickly is about relationships, people and hard work.
  • [00:35:53] The mystery of why there is not more cross pollination of clients in multi-discipline marketing firms.
  • [00:37:56] In the absence of global British brands how has Molly grown M&C Saatchi Public Relations globally.
  • [00:40:26] Why the partnership between Molly and Chris Hides works so well.
  • [00:44:38] Molly talks us through the ownership structure of M&C Public Relations.
  • [00:56:32] The tension between agency strategies of being very, very good at one thing versus agencies positioning themselves as one-stop shop.