Behind the Headlines with MWW’s Ked Mather

Ked Mather, senior account director at MWW PR, on the power of “old fashioned networking”, the importance of being an all-rounder in PR and the need to make the industry more accessible for ethnic minorities.

Before I reach the office in the morning, I’ve already…
Enjoyed a fruit smoothie and not enjoyed an Aloe Vera shot! On the way into the office, I like to use the Any. Do to-do list app to prioritise the work load for the day. I also get through my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds to take heed of any breaking news. I finally make it a point to purposefully select and read a different freesheet each day when on the tube.

You’ll mostly find emails about…in my inbox.
Client updates, key industry trends in consumer technology, media and financial services to remain ahead of the curve and e-mails from my MWW US colleagues. Most importantly for me though, I will dedicate time to responding to e-mails from old colleagues, business partners and clients who are keen to discuss ways of working together in the future.

Old fashioned networking is still integral to the PR game and getting out of the office and meeting people face-to-face ensures that you are more likely to be remembered and then considered when someone needs your support in the future.

I know I’ve had a good day if…
My colleagues are happy and satisfied with their day’s work for their clients. MWW is a human hub where we trust and support each other to excel in an open environment. Using the classic football phrase, we, indeed, win as a team and lose as one.

My first job was…
Making fresh pizzas at Morrisons. Spinning pizza dough is certainly different to the spinning that goes on in PR. Still prefer the latter though.

I can tell a campaign is succeeding when…
Client, colleague or partner feedback I get for a campaign we have worked on has mattered more to the people that matter to them. For me it is the part we play to influence key stakeholders. It also helps when you hear on the grapevine that client competitors have noticed your campaign and that it is making them slightly uneasy. Sending a few shivers down a competitor’s spine never hurts anyone!

I eat…when nobody is watching.
Whether it is Bird, Clutch or even Morley’s down in Brixton, I am addicted to fried chicken and am not too bothered if anyone is watching or not!

The first time I pitched to a journalist…
It gave me confidence. I invited a journalist from The Wolverhampton Express & Star to cover an event I ran at the local greyhound track for grassroots sports clubs who were raising funds for themselves. I must have been lucky as the fundraising angle to help the local sporting community sold itself to a degree. What it did though was give me the courage to look at other media segments and I managed to secure a slot with Gary Newbon on the Sky Sports Live Greyhound Racing show to talk more widely about the fundraising initiative and how it can help grassroots club across the UK.

A few positive calls with journalists can give you that confidence to go further with your pitches, and to be brave. In other interesting news, Wolverhampton is where my wife is from, so it must have been fate!

The worst thing anyone has said to me is…
When I was very young someone said to me that you will never make a consumer PR as you are not very flamboyant and should consider corporate PR instead. Not sure what being flamboyant has got to do with being a competent consumer PR but suffice to say, during my short career I have been lucky enough to work on some great consumer brands.

More generally, my point of view is that it is important to be an all-rounder in PR, getting plenty of experience in different sectors so that you can see how core communications skills can be applied differently depending on the target audiences in question.

The last book I read was…
The last meaningful book I read was It’s Not Raining Daddy, It’s Happy. The author is a fellow PR and an old colleague who went through terrible grief. The book inspires readers to open up about grief and its associated feelings and experiences. A must read.

I’ve never really understood why…
More ethnic minorities do not take up PR as a profession. Educating minority ethnic communities about the career options that PR offers is the first hurdle the industry needs to tackle in order to attract minority-ethnic talent. They need role models too, and I will certainly play my part to remain accessible to those that share an interest in PR within ethnic minority communities, and help them where I can.

If I could go back and talk to my 10-year-old self, I’d say…
Never burn bridges. You never know when you might need to cross them again.

This time next year, I’ll be…
Looking at ways to make MWW matter more to its clients (and some new ones) whilst looking to grow the team in London as the MWW UK offering continues to evolve.

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