What motivates PR people?

We asked PR professionals what really gets them to struggle into work, and here’s what they said.

1. My colleagues

For Vix Leyton, PR manager at technology company Decision Tech, it’s the people she works with who inspire her: “I find my colleagues really motivate me – landing a great piece of coverage means something to everyone in the business and creates a big buzz. Nothing cheers up a testing work day more than having someone come to your desk with some coverage they have found out in the wild.”

2. Teamwork

Julian Cironne, creative director at agency M&C Saatchi Public Relations, also values the people he works alongside: “This is such a good question and I actually think not enough of us in this industry, or in life in general, spend enough time thinking about this. And yet it’s critical to our happiness.

“We spend a third of the day, often more, at work, so the time we spend here should have purpose. I’ve met too many people in this industry who don’t know the answer to this question. They end up moving companies, even industries, perpetually unhappy because ultimately, they are not doing the thing that energises and makes them happy.

“I hadn’t figured out my answer until late 2017 when I met a creative coach. We spent hours talking about this question. When I finally realised that strong, understanding and collaborative relationships are not only what motivates me, but makes me a much happier person, it sent the work into overdrive.

“In this fast-paced industry, ideas feel easier to come by, there is a real sense of comradery amongst the team who are all pulling in the same direction and the work is bloody brilliant to boot too. I understand that as an individual, we can’t have all the answers all the time and drawing in on the expertise, experiences and brilliance of others inspires better work.

 “If that doesn’t validate the motivation, nothing will.”

3. Feeling valued  

Being appreciated means a lot to Jonathan Lenz, account director at PR firm CubanEight: “Because I work with both clients that value the work that we do, and at an agency that frequently demonstrates how much it values me and my work, I always want to go above and beyond.”

Elena Davidson, CEO of marketing and PR specialists Liberty Comms, agrees: “We find that with our team the main motivators are reward and recognition and autonomy. Everyone wants a thank you for a job well done and they deserve it. We put a big focus on praising people and doing it publicly too so they get the public recognition they deserve.”

4. Time off  

CubanEight’s Lenz also says that it is important not to be working ALL the time: “Unlike some places I have worked, work/life balance is a major part of the ethos at my current agency. Far from just being a buzzword, it means that I am not working all the time, and so when I am, I am refreshed and ready to go.”  

5. The work itself  

Lenz also enjoys the actual work: “Many of my clients are involved in major current news issues like Brexit and GDPR, so we are at the front end of what these really mean for businesses in the UK. I have always been passionate about media relations, and this is still very much a part of what I do, but I am also motivated by seeing how this is now evolving to more integrated campaigns, and new ways to amplify content across campaigns.    

“I also genuinely think that we are doing great work, that has a real impact on clients, and this drives me to want to do more. It’s always so powerful to hear when a piece of coverage or campaign has directly lead to a sales meeting or conversion for example. PR has to demonstrate its worth and it’s satisfying to be able to showcase excellent work with real ROI.”

6. Flexible working

For Hester Grainger, PR and marketing consultant and founder at marketing collective Mumala Club, it is not having to stick to a nine-to-five routine that makes her enjoy work more: “The flexibility of freelance work is what motivates me to do my job. I love that every day is different (which is often the case when you work in PR) but being your own boss takes that to a new level.

“I can choose when to start and finish, fitting work around my clients and family time too. I always do the school drop off and pick-up, which is my why I have to make sure that I’ve done what I need to do before 3pm – which can make for a short day. But knowing that I can catch up on work later if needed, makes it easier. I’ve freelanced a number of times over the years, but always ended up in a permanent role. Now the children are at school it makes it easier to fully take advantage of being my own boss.”  

7. Chocolate and treats

This is definitely my main motivator, and it also works for Grainger: “Chocolate is a big motivator! When you work in an office it’s always someone’s birthday or one celebration or another. So by rewarding yourself with chocolate, or whatever little treat you love, it is a great boost to ensure that you complete that task that you keep putting off.”

It is nice to end on a sweet note. It is surprising is that no one mentioned coffee, as there’s no way I would make it to my desk without a large dose of caffeine!