Alice and Heidi Bland, co-founders of Bland PR, reveal what it’s like to work with your twin, the pair’s complementary backgrounds and how the agency combines both freelance and agency models.
Alice, why did you decide to launch your own agency at such a young age?
Creatively, Bland PR has been in the making for years, however, practically we both knew for the best chance of success we should get experience separately under our belts first. We learnt the ropes in-house and agency side and then cleverly used this knowledge to launch something of our own with a Bland twist!
Even from a young age we were never ones to follow the crowd and often asked questions and challenged the way things were done. Our parents always encouraged this, paving the way to have the courage to go it alone!
What makes Bland PR different to other agencies?
Heidi: The flexibility of the way we work and not following traditional formulas enables us to work more creatively with clients. Agency life can sometimes be quite stagnant, whereas at Bland we take time out of our days to research the market, to look at what is out there and have fun along the way which we believe creates the best work!
Due to our international client base, we can be found working from Brussels, Paris, or simply working in our local café just down the road. Every week is different which helps keep us engaged and keep up positive energy which leads to good work/ideas and definitely keeps things far from bland.
We feel we are the next generation of PR; gone are the days of needing a big office as you can work from anywhere these days.
How does combining the freelance and agency model work in practice?
Alice: We merge the best bits of being freelance with the structural benefits of agency life. There is still certain procedures we follow, however, time is money and if you are utilising your time, clients will get the best out of your service without needing a restrictive agency routine.
Without having lots of internal processes, we can turn around work sharply, which is ideal for working in such a fast-paced environment!
Is it odd to work with your twin sister or does it make everything a lot easier?
Heidi: It definitely has its advantages, for a start we can be totally honest with each other, if we think an idea is a no-go, we are straight talking and can cut out the politeness, which saves time.
Just because we are twins people often assume we have the same brain, but actually our skills and experience are very different, meaning we cover a lot of ground between us and respect each other’s area of expertise.
Of course, we do get the odd look in meetings when we both come in together, looking and talking the same!
How much does it help that you come from different work backgrounds?
Alice: This was vital in setting up together, the natural cross over of food, drink, lifestyle and beauty clients is what makes Bland PR work so well as between us we have all these areas covered.
It has also helped that one of us comes from a more digital/social background (absolutely vital in this day and age), and the other has the big brand experience knowing how to piece together a full-service campaign together.
Heidi, you look after the agency’s lifestyle and beauty clients. Which brand would be your dream client?
Aesthetically the Japanese are ahead of the game when it comes to innovative beauty products, it would be exciting to launch one to the market in the UK! Also, to broaden Bland’s reach to outside Europe would be a tick too!
Finally, what does the future hold for Bland PR?
Alice: The future’s bright, the future’s BLAND!! As long as we are evolving and having fun along the way what more can we ask for!
- Pictured: Alice (left) and Heidi Bland