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Ben Smith, Founder, PRmoment.com
This week on the PRmoment Podcast, in the latest of our life stories series, I interviewed chairman of The PR Office Shimon Cohen.
The PR Office was founded in 2004, has a fee income of about £2.5m and about 15 employees.
The business has clients across a broad range of sectors and Shimon has some interesting views on how he sees the scope of public relations.
Here is a summary of what Shimon and I discussed:
[00:01:05] How Shimon used to be executive director to the Chief Rabbi but ended up in PR.
[00:04:32] Shimon talks us through his “job interview” with Sir Tim Bell.
[00:06:49] Shimon describes what it was like working at Bell Pottinger in its heyday (Shimon left 14 years before the scandal that bought it down.)
[00:07:16] Why good public relations essentially comes down to three things: Where are you now, where do you want to be and how do you get there.
[00:09:46] How, Bell Pott Gate aside, Shimon believes that Sir Tim Bell's clarity of thought and wisdom was the most important factor in the development of public relations as a serious boardroom discipline.
[00:12:14] Why Shimon believes that in many large companies you get really really good at doing something and you get promoted into a job that you don't know anything about!
[00:12:45] Why Shimon didn't like being CEO of Bell Pottinger and resigned.
[00:14:23] Why Shimon "adores" PR.
[00:15:06] Why Shimon believes the PR sector hasn't really changed at all in the last 10 years.
[00:17:34] Why PR people need to sell something that somebody wants to buy!
[00:18:23] How the communications triangle between government and organisations and the public has been inverted.
[00:21:14] Why at The PR Office Shimon "outsources as much as possible".
[00:23:19] Why everyone who works for The PR Office is a fee earner.
[00:25:16] Why all of the PR Office's employees work from home on Fridays.
[00:27:06] Why Shimon believes we may see professional managers with no PR experience being appointed as the CEOs of PR firms - just like what happens in law firms.
[00:31:05] How the PR Office have maintained credentials across a broad range of work and not specialised in specific sectors.
[00:31:025] Why Shimon believes PR people should not specialise in a specific vertical sector but retain a broader knowledge of business.