Behind the Headlines with Clarion’s Shelley Wyatt

Shelley Wyatt, managing partner at Clarion, on why trade comms shouldn’t be seen as the “poor relation” of consumer PR, her most memorable pitch to a journalist and working with TEAM GB ahead of the Rio Olympics.

Clarion 1

Shelley Wyatt

Before I reach the office in the morning, I’ve already…
Had a coffee, gone for a run and caught up with social media. I also use my travel time to catch up on emails and read through client documents.

You’ll mostly find emails about…in my inbox.
Everything! New business briefs, client updates and actions, meeting requests, management actions and staffing info and internal banter (including which local pub we’re visiting on a Friday night) – it’s all there!

I know I’ve had a good day if…
I don’t realise what time it is and I’ve laughed a lot along the way.

My first job was…
An office junior at a PR firm in Soho where I learnt the ropes from the ground up and made some amazing life-long friends. Back then, we didn’t even have email..!

I can tell a campaign is succeeding when…
From a trade perspective it’s amazing when I’m out meeting retailers and they want to talk about our campaigns and how they can get involved.

Ultimately successful campaigns breed a sense of excitement, pride and passion in the office and I love that feeling when the whole team is pulling together to make something land. And when those results come in – coverage emails flying around the agency, online conversation and sales increases – you know it’s a good job, well done.

I eat….when nobody is watching.
Why is nobody watching? Eat what you want, when you want and don’t feel guilty about it!

The first time I pitched to a journalist…
It wasn’t the first time, but I’ll never forget having a great story, phoning someone and being greeted with a very grumpy: “‘hold the front page, we’ve got another survey.” I persevered and it made quite a few nationals including a half page in the Daily Mail and I got the spokesperson on TV.

The worst thing anyone has said to me is…
It’s got to be the ‘close, but not close enough’ call. When you’ve put your heart and soul into a new business pitch, and the client phones to say that you came a very close second. Thankfully, I don’t take those calls too often!

The last book I read was…
The Commonwealth Games – Extraordinary Stories behind the Medals written by sports journalist (and dear friend) Brian Oliver. Brian gave me a copy when we worked together at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. It’s a fascinating look at some of the amazing athletes who have competed over the years. If you ever bump into Brian, ask him about the weightlifter Precious McKenzie… he can talk on this subject for hours!

I’ve never really understood why…
Some think that trade comms is a poor relation compared to consumer. At Clarion we ensure all staff work across a good mix of consumer and B2B accounts so they can fully understand and appreciate a product’s route to market. For example, why invest budget in a consumer PR campaign that’s going to drive consumers to a shop if the product isn’t available when you get there?

Of course, this works both ways. Trade campaigns need to be exciting and creative and perhaps that’s the bigger challenge. That’s why I’m proud that Clarion has won The Grocer MAPs ‘Trade PR Agency of the Year’ more than any other agency – we have proved that it’s possible!

If I could go back and talk to my 10-year-old self, I’d say…
Forget about the spiral perm and don’t stress over West Ham. Instead, enjoy good food, good wine, family and friends and always make sure you find time for a little fun every day.

This time next year, I’ll be…
I never really think that far ahead, but I’m working with Team GB as a press officer at the Rio Olympics, so it’ll be quite a busy summer and I cannot wait!

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