James Herring 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 of Taylor Herring, James Herring.

James started Taylor Herring in 2001 alongside his then girlfriend Cath Taylor.  

Taylor Herring has had quite a 12 months, with work with Greggs, The Beano, Samsung, Diageo and Easyjet (and I could go on) grabbing attention.

Taylor Herring is one of a group of independent firms in London who seem to be pushing the boundaries of public relations - to a more integrated place, but it is doing that by unashamedly taking advantage of its understanding of what is required to make a story fly in earned media.

Taylor Herring Group has billings of around £4.5m and employs around 20 staff.  

Here is the flavour of what James and I discuss:  

  • How James ended up getting his first job in talent management at comedy agency Avalon 1.15 mins
  • How James ended up working on 10 Edinburgh Festivals 5.20 mins
  • Why James wanted to work in media and show business and didn’t intend to have a career in PR 5.45 mins
  • Why there two halves to James career - a talent management half and a PR half  5.40 mins
  • How the humourous accent of work that James learnt on the comedy circuit still underwrites Taylor Herring today 6.40 mins
  • How James’ client portfolio used to include Frank Skinner, Harry Hill, The Mighty Boosh and Chris Addison 7 mins
  • Why Fantasy Football and Baddiel and Skinner was James first big break 7.30 mins
  • When James suddenly had to understand KPIs , a SWOT Analysis and Powerpoint 10.10 mins
  • How James' second big break to take him beyond comedy and into PR was Channel 4 and Big Brother 10.50 mins
  • The story of hows James’ and Channel 4’s plan of a decoy car and secret hotel for Nasty Nick failed 12.25 mins
  • Why that Big Brother Nasty Nick moment was a pivotal moment in James’ career 14.15 mins
  • How the launch of Taylor Herring came about 15.20 mins
  • How James met his now wife and business partner Kath Taylor  and came to work with Pete Mountstevens15.43 mins
  • James talks about why Taylor Herring has not an been an overnight success story and how the story of the business separates into two halves 18 mins
  • How Taylor Herring made the jump from working with media brands to consumer brands 26 mins
  • Why Paddy Power was a significant “stepping stone” client for Taylor Herring 27.30 mins
  • Why James loves clients like Paddy Power which makes him “run with scissors”  29.15 mins
  • In order to stand out you have to be bold in your thinking 30 mins
  • Why James believes technology is killing advertising 30.15 mins
  • Why advertising is losing its influence on society 31 mins
  • Why James believes PR firms are taking significant budget from advertising firms 33 mins
  • Why James believes we’re already past the peak of influencer marketing budgets 33.15 mins
  • James tells us about the Fuck me Doris test for The Sun’s editorial and why this matters to PR people 36 mins
  • Why simplicity is key to creativity 38.20 mins
  • James talks us through Taylor Herring’s creative process 39 mins
  • Why a failed pitch to M&S changes the way Taylor Herring approached new business, how they should work and what type of people Taylor Herring should hire 41 mins
  • Why a procurement department’s involvement in a pitch tends to kill creativity 41.30 mins
  • Why James doesn’t think Taylor Herring is the right agency for luxury brands or high street brands 46.20 mins
  • Why Taylor Herring likes to take its clients on a journey 46.45 mins
  • Why an agency must show its clients an extreme version of what explosive creativity looks like - if you automatically rain it in, you will never get to what you want to do 48 mins
  • James discusses why Taylor Herring is not a larger business, bearing in mind its huge profile 48.45 mins
  • James talks us through the imminent launch of Taylor Herring’s creative press office offer 51.45 mins
  • James talks about Taylor Herring’s move into making TV commercials for the likes of Samsung 53.10 mins
  • “The only thing that is holding the PR sector back from being better than adland is bravery and boldness” 54.20 mins
  • James outlines the three favourite campaigns he’s worked on 56 mins