Ben Smith, Founder, PRmoment.com
This week, on the PRmoment Podcast, I’m pleased to welcome founder and managing director of W Communications Warren Johnson.
Warren established W nine years ago and the business now has a fee income of circa £7.5m. W is the largest of a group of independent consumer agencies in London which are leading PR’s fight for creative work.
Here is a flavour of what Warren and I discussed:
- Why he once left a career in PR to be become a builder
- Why if you’ve worked for someone for 10 years – you don’t really know what you know.
- Why he didn’t want to start W Communications
- Why Warren fell out of love with PR – first-time round
- Why Warren is a better senior PR person than a junior PR person
- Why Warren is ultimately driven by commercial success, not the quality of work
- Why people who confuse PR as a form of art are misguided
- Why Warren decided to self-fund his business, rather than taking backing or getting a partner
- What the growth path was of W Communications, from year one to now
- Why you work harder if you don’t have a backer
- Why PR firms shouldn’t need investment
- Why a sole owner business is often more collaborative
- Why Warren is more proud about his business success, than PR success.
- How W has kept growing and broken the £7m fee income barrier
- Why Warren has never written a business plan for W
- Why Warren believes any proper entrepreneur has to blend their business and personal lives
- Why social energy creates opportunity
- Why W bought in Mark Perkins as executive creative director and Adam Mack as CEO about a year ago
- Why W has bought a number of smaller PR firms in recent years
- Why W has managed to win larger clients in the last 12 months
- How PR firms with circa £1m fee income often struggle to grow
- Warren’s regrets and learnings about the House PR integration with W Communications
- Why Warren doesn’t want to buy firms and merge them into W Communications
- Why Warren has not sold W Communications
- Why, if an independent business is growing, most deals mean that the buyer is paying the founder from his or her own profits
- Why Warren expects a new wave of buyers for PR firms in the next five years
- Why PR people are the most agile and entrepreneurial of all the marcoms disciplines
- Why Warren believes PR firms will be competing with ad agencies for the big creative budgets sooner than people think
- Why the PR industry needs more swagger
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