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Online Interview with Stephen Waddington, MD of Speed agency (PR)


Really pleased to be able to do a Q&A with Stephen Waddington managing director of multi-sector PR agency Speed (formed from the merger of BMA Communications, Custard PR, Lighthouse PR, Mantra PR and Rainier PR) and of Wadd’s PR Blog.

NewsDrillDigital: What is PR in the digital age?

Stephen:  PR is the one area of the marketing mix where outcomes cannot be guaranteed. In every other area of marketing the return on a given investment can be predicted. PR creates influence through content and conversations that can’t be bought.

NewsDrillDigital: What are the opportunities for PR people in social media? To what extent have PRs made the most of what social media has to offer? What important areas of social media have they left out, and should look at more?

Stephen: The media is fragmenting, and at the same time we”re all sourcing and sharing information via networks, creating so called ‘social media’. That is a massive opportunity for anyone with communication skills and smart PR consultancies are recognising this shift.

NewsDrillDigital: What do you like most about Twitter?

Stephen: Twitter is a democracy in the purest sense: authority is earned through reputation. Graduates engage directly with CEOs and vice versa, and journalists shame lousy PRs. It is removing barriers, making the industry more social, and is ultimately driving improvements and raising standards.

NewsDrillDigital: What opportunities are there for PRs in SEO?

Stephen: The development of tailored content is as much a key role of the PR process as it is for SEO. However the PR industry let SEO pass it by and watched a new breed of SEO-specific agencies emerge. There’s a danger that the same could happen and at Speed w’e're working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen.

NewsDrillDigital: What are the opportunities for PRs in the mobile channel?

Stephen: At the outset of every year for the last decade industry watchers including myself have declared it to be the year when mobile marketing will take off. It’s yet to happen beyond ad campaigns, but we’re closer than ever. Fundamental issues such as permission and user preferences need to be addressed before it can be fully embraced as a PR channel.

NewsDrillDigital: How do you measure the success of the work you carry out in general? What sort of tools do you use?

Stephen: PRs are typically very good at developing creative ideas and then rolling them out to audiences via the media. They are generally poor at insight, planning and evaluation. Speed has developed a formal methodology to deliver campaigns for clients, consisting of insight, ideas, impact and influence.

NewsDrillDigital: If you didn’t work in PR, which industry would you most like to work in?

Stephen: I’d either return to my journalist roots or do something countryside related. When I’m not working in London I live on the edge of the Northumberland National Park. Its one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the country. I’m incredibly fortunate.

(at the time of this interview, eyeconomy.co.uk was spotlightideas.co.uk)

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  1. Speed Communications - Wadd's PR Blog - [...] Spotlight Ideas, which covers ideas in the marketing, advertising, media and PR industries has posted an interview with me …

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