James Hickman, director, Hatch Communications, on the PRmoment podcast

This week on the PRmoment Podcast, in the latest of our life stories series, I interviewed James Hickman, director, Hatch Communications.

Hatch is a Leeds based consultancy founded in 2008 and they now have billings of £2m per annum and 25 staff. Hatch had 80% growth last year, all of which was organic growth.

Clients include Diageo globally and the Rugby League World Cup

Here is a summary of what James and I discussed:

[00:00:56] Whether it is tougher to build a PR agency business outside of London than it is within it.

[00:03:22] How face-to-face client contact is so important in building longer client relationships.

[00:04:46] How small agencies like Hatch can win big clients like Diageo.

[00:08:41] Why some agencies in Manchester and Leeds have been "digital native" for longer than many London firms.

[00:10:31] How the co-founders of Hatch Jason Madeley, Matt Peden and James launched Hatch from the ashes of Ptarmigan PR.

[00:13:35] A lesson for PR agencies everywhere: Why Manchester's biggest agency Ptarmigan went from 50 people to 5 in two years.

[00:15:56] Why James finds PR graduates a really good source of talent with a broader skill set than in the past.

[00:16:21] Why the current decreasing number of PR degree places is a problem for the sector.

[00:18:05] Why Channel 4 coming to Leeds is a big shot in the arm for Leeds creative sector.

[00:19:58] How the creative agencies of Leeds wooed Channel 4 to move to the city.

[00:22:51] Which other agencies in Leeds and Manchester does James admire?

[00:24:49] How Hatch has grown at 80% in the last 12 months and what the future holds for the business.

[00:28:52] How working with partner agencies in a collaborative way has helped Hatch grow.

[00:29:33] Why geographical based PR firms are a concept from the past - geography is now not a relevant factor - it's about vertical expertise and specialist knowledge.

[00:30:54] James talks us through Hatch's role as a sponsor activation agency.