Ben Smith, Founder, PRmoment.com
This week on The PRmoment podcast I’m caught up with Neil Hedges, founder and partner at communications firm Headland. Neil has worked in the UK PR scene for nearly 40 years – so he knows his way around.
Before setting up Headland, Neil was one of the founders of Fishburn Hedges – arguably UK PR’s pre-eminent PR shop of the 1990s and most of the noughties.
Here is a taster of what Neil and I discussed:
- How Neil started his career in advertising and decided to move to public relations 0.46
- Why PR’s current need for planners is history repeating itself 3.15
- Why his time at time at Valin Pollen had a big influence on the rest of his career 4.15
- Why a consultancy business is always likely to have very busy periods and some fallow ones 6.45
- Why did Neil leave Valin Pollen? 7.20
- Why Neil has never bought a business 9.20
- How did the genesis of Fishburn Hedges come about? 10.10
- Why there was a lot of mediocrity in PR firms in the 1990s 10.40
- Why Fishburn was trying to build a business across corporate, financial and public affairs 11.20
- Was Fishburn's growth uniform, or did it come in fits and starts? 12 mins
- Does Neil regret selling Fishburn to Abbott Mead Vickers, which was part owned Omnicom in 1996? 14.50
- What was it like shifting from a privately owned business to a publicly owned business? 18.40
- What was it like trying to run a publicly owned PR firm in 2008/09? 19.16 and 22 mins
- Why the response to the financial crisis shook his faith in America 20.15
- Fishburn Hedges was the corporate PR shop in London throughout the 1990s and most of the noughties that most of its rival firms attempted to imitate. But in the end, its run of revenue growth came to a sharp halt. Neil tells us why 25 mins
- How agencies have their periods of ascendancy and tend to plateau 25.40
- Neil tells us why he decided to try and do it all again and launch Headland 28.20 and 31.10
- Why very few publicly owned PR firms have a financial PR offer 30.05
- Why Neil chose a partnership model for Headland 32.15
- Why Neil has ambitions for Headland’s partnership to last many generations 33.40
- Why Neil’s long-term business relationship with Dan Mines has lasted so long 38.30
- Why PR businesses, in the end, suffer if they are managed by practitioners 40 mins
- How Headland has grown so rapidly in the last three years 42.15
- Why Headland runs a graduate scheme 48.15
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