This interview is part of our FBCC Member Series, where we introduce our member companies to the network. This time we interviewed Joanna Dodd, the Managing Director of FBCC Corporate Member Rochester PR Group.
For those who don’t know you, how would you describe your company?
Rochester PR Group is a boutique agency, staffed by senior, experienced PR and marketing people who help international brands launch into the UK market.
Do you have a story behind your company’s name?
Rochester is where I live in the UK, it’s a beautiful city with a cathedral, Norman castle, and is well known for its Charles Dickens connection. The reason for choosing it as our company name is that we wanted something that sounded “British” to a lot of different cultures and countries. Whilst there are lots of great puns and play on words that would definitely sound more fun and more unusual as a name, we are all about trying to help companies and brands make themselves easily understood and we just felt something challenging is really not where we should start. For us clear, easy-to-understand language is what we want to project on our website for example.
How would you describe your company culture?
The advantage of a senior “been there, done that” team is 1) that there is not much that we haven’t come across in our working lives in terms of brands, types of campaigns, journalists we deal with, 2) we are hugely collaborative and always share our ideas and reactions with each other in the spirit of “can you improve upon this” or “does your experience tell you something different or suggest a better idea”. Plus we work at a really fast pace which we all enjoy. We’re organised and driven by action lists and deadlines. We all really enjoy our clients’ entrepreneurial spirit and this rubs off on us too – we’re full of ideas and a “why not try this” attitude. In our job you have to be constantly learning new techniques and the media and social media keeps us on our toes in terms of staying up to date. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, so there’s always time for a laugh.
Do you have anything big happening right now/planned for the near future?
The nature of our clients means that we are always working on launching new products or services for them. It could be something they have been planning for months or years and is the culmination of lots of hard work and it’s our job to deliver activity in the most effective way for them and to match their enthusiasm and excitement.
How are you coping with the pandemic? How has your day-to-day life changed?
We were lucky last year in that we had very recently bought new laptops and pretty much all our systems were app/cloud based already so, to be honest, we shifted our laptops home and carried on pretty much as normal.
Aside from that we invested, like others, in thinking how we keep in touch with each other efficiently, so our internal systems changed. For clients we run “work in progress” trackers and that helps to keep us and them up to speed – we also like to run a weekly call with each of our clients. Like others we are missing the face-to-face meetings, but the more virtual way of working has helped some of our clients who have been able to reach out into the UK in terms of raising their profile without having to travel. Although I think the longer this goes on, you can sense and sometimes see the stress that it has brought to many businesses not just commercially but also their internal communications.
On a personal note, less commuting has brought me more time with my family and home. So, more DIY jobs completed around the house! But there’s no doubt that it has taken its toll on my daughters, one who started university last year and the other who is due to take her GCSEs this year. And on my parents who live locally and for whom I am doing more shopping, preparing meals and trying to keep them feeling positive.
Your number one tip for working from home?
My one tip for working from home is to take a lunch break and during that watch, the news/read an online media channel or watch/listen to a programme that you wouldn’t normally see or think you have time for. It can be a source of inspiration or just fun.
What is the biggest benefit of being part of the FBCC network for your company?
Networks are great and, when not during Covid, it’s good to meet people at FBCC events (the Christmas lunch for example) as business to me is all about hearing a new perspective or point of view. During Covid, it’s still about sharing and “meeting” people but obviously via Zoom, Teams, attending webinars etc. You never know who’s going to give you a great piece of advice or spark an idea.
If you’re hiring new employees, what are the traits you would be looking for in them
We’re not hiring at the moment but, whenever we do, we look for people with masses of experience (we only employ senior consultants as we have found that works best for our clients) but also huge enthusiasm. You have to be able to treat each new client or new project with the same excitement as you did the one before.