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Natalie Luke, founder of Aduro Communications on the PRmoment podcast

This week, in the latest of our life stories podcast, I’m interviewing Natalie Luke, founder and MD of Aduro Communications.

Natalie started her career at Shine in 2003 before launching Aduro in 2012.

Aduro has a turnover of £1m and employs 10 people. It specialises in consumer focused public relations work.

Here is a summary of what we discussed:

[00:00:54] Why Natalie describes Aduro as the “Ronseal of PR”.

[00:02:56] Why Natalie believes it is possible to isolate the impact of PR in a consumer market where there are numerous promotional channels.

[00:03:52] How working with entrepreneurs showed Natalie that if she could demonstrate the impact of PR on the entrepreneurs’ businesses, their businesses would grow and they would spend more on PR.

[00:05:59] How Aduro has developed a model where it believes it can confidently point to its sales impact.

[00:07:08] Why internally there is a need for PR to be able to define its cost per acquisition.

[00:08:21] Why clients should own their evaluation and measurement insight, rather than farming the whole thing out to agencies.

[00:09:15] How Aduro, as a consumer agency, is asking questions of clients’ evaluation methods that the clients haven't been asked before.

[00:11:55] Why Natalie never set out to establish her own agency.

[00:12:21] Why launching Aduro threw up an opportunity for creating flexible working and a genuine work: life balance for Natalie.

[00:13:04] Why Rachel Bell has a stake in Aduro.

[00:13:41] Why Natalie started Aduro whilst living in Shropshire.

[00:15:15] Why Natalie regards Aduro's growth as the "tortoise to some people's hare" but the slow and steady approach has worked for her.

[00:15:19] Why setting up Aduro has enabled Natalie to "grow a business around having two children".

[00:16:07] Why Natalie going on maternity leave early on in Aduro's "life" has meant that not everything in the business needs to flow through her.

[00:16:34] What was it about having Rachel Bell as a mentor that helped Natalie grow the business?

[00:17:24] How having a mentor has helped Natalie with things like the importance of business planning, networking, structure and having a five-year plan.

[00:17:43] Why Natalie believes having a financial director has been one of the most important things in the progression of Aduro.

[00:19:34] Why Natalie wouldn't have launched Aduro without Rachel Bell.

[00:21:01] What flexible working means – because it's become quite a broad term.

[00:23:28] What are the drawbacks of flexible working?

[00:25:25] Can you achieve as good a result for the client if the team is working flexibly?

[00:27:54] How does an agency begin the process of making flexible working work?

[00:28:00] Why, for flexible working to work in a firm, you need some of the key senior people in the business to work flexibly.

[00:28:42] Does Natalie believe PR still has a long working hours problem?

[00:29:12] Why Natalie believes that it's now unacceptable for PR firms to have a long hours culture.

[00:29:44] Why, from a timesheet perspective, agencies should be resourced at approximately 60-70% of employees time, anything more than that is not realistic and will result in staff working overtime.

[00:31:41] Why PR firms need to get better at saying no to clients.

[00:33:03] Why overservicing has decreased as the standard of PR work has increased.

[00:33:59] Whether PR has a mental health issue greater than other elements of society.

[00:36:21] Why Aduro has resigned from a number of accounts.

[00:36:55] The importance of a genuinely positive client relationship where you can grow together.

[00:40:06] Why does Natalie think there are comparatively few women in senior PR positions when the majority of people who work in PR are women.

[00:45:24] Why Natalie believes that PR is a varied job that very few other careers can rival.

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