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My Year in PR

Senior Account Executive Matthew takes a step back to look at his first 12 months in the team, the highs, the challenges, and his plans for the next 12 months and beyond...

It’s simultaneously felt like a week but also years (in the best way possible) since I joined ThinkPR and kickstarted my career in PR. The experience I've gained and the integration and welcome I've received from the team since day one has made it a memorable first year.

Highlight... and biggest learning experience

The highlight of the last year was also very much the greatest challenge and learning experience too – organising the inaugural ‘Think Different Golf Day and Dinner’ in aid of Autism and Neurodiversity North Scotland.

As my first-ever foray into anything event organisation and management related, it was a bit of a baptism of fire but there was literally no time to stop and panic – it all needed to come together in less than three months.

Having narrowly missed out on being involved with last year’s charity fundraising dinner that the team had put together – The Carole MacPherson Memorial Dinner – I'd heard so much about how rewarding the process was so I couldn’t wait to get started, and it didn’t let me down.

Between promotion of the event, securing the larger scale aspects, all the way down to the tiny details that come out of the woodwork – details I wouldn’t have even considered – it was an eye-opening experience. Thankfully, although I was new to event management, I was still able to utilise my existing experience through planning, creating, and implementing the social media content surrounding and, in the lead-up to the event to help raise its profile and get the audience invested.

I also played a role in the direction and production of everything media related to the event, including staff interviews for the on-the-night video, as well as the post-event film – both of which have turned out brilliantly because of all the hours and commitment all those involved put in!

After all the hard work though, the payoff was monumental. Not only was the day and night itself great fun, but the £46,000 raised took the whole project to the next level. Having worked closely with the A-ND team throughout the organising of the event, knowing where that money would go and the impact it was going to have really sealed how special it all was. Now we’ve just got to top it next year!

New Industry Experiences

Out with the dinner, there has been so much else for me to take on. As my first role within the energy industry, there have been a lot of new experiences. Meeting new clients, being introduced to new ideas and experiences, and getting to grips with all the details both big and small in an evolving industry has obviously been a challenge, but an exciting one at that - especially as part of the journey to a Net Zero future. Across the last year, we've seen the energy transition develop and for me, it's been invigorating to become part of the conversation and familiarise myself with the new technologies and ideas introduced. As this journey continues and the industry evolves, understanding the next chapter is key.

Even though I came from a marketing and social media background, PR is a different world in its own right. Learning the traditional way of doing things and the history behind decisions has meant understanding the past to get the best out of the future. Yes, new ideas and techniques are great, but sometimes you do have to keep it old school. From press relations to pinpointing relevant and exciting media opportunities for clients, and targeting evolving conversations to loop into, you’ve got to spend your days thinking about what’s coming tomorrow.

It’s also been interesting to navigate the portfolio of clients we have – many of whom are based across the world in MENA or stateside. Meeting through screens is nothing new, but working out the time differences can always be a bit of a calculation.

I’ve been lucky to have a great team around me to help ease me into things, and clients who have made it easy to work with, understand, and help deliver successes. Thankfully, because of some cool and interesting projects and bits of news, these successes have come thick and fast, and it’s been great to get a first look at them and help spread the message on behalf of my clients.

What’s next

Although it’s been a great year and I’m confident in everything I've learnt and picked up, there is still plenty ahead of me to look forward to. With the team around me, I get to see everyone’s own unique abilities and strengths come out, and that provides more than enough inspiration to push me further.

Ultimately, I want to keep learning and growing, whilst providing support on a multitude of exciting projects, whilst taking the lead on the new developments that are still to come. Whether new industry experiences, events, types of clients, or challenging projects, I want to get involved and keep learning.

Rewarding, non-stop, exciting, hectic, and a genuine joy – often all at once – the past year has set me up for everything that’s still to come, and I can’t wait!


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