Who are you? And what’s your job at Whiteoaks?
My name is Simon and I am Whiteoaks’ Business Development and Marketing Manager.
What does your daily to-do list look like?
The stock answer is to say: “pretty varied” – but it’s true! My job involves a good deal of travel, meeting prospective clients and working with them to set PR strategies that meet their goals. Alongside this, I work to promote Whiteoaks and its differentiators to tech companies in the UK and across the globe. This might involve one day chained to a desk researching the latest financial regulations, to heading into London to extol the virtues of Whiteoaks’ transparent approach to PR.
What made you want to get into PR?
As a journalist, I was never one of the (few) tiresome ones that would constantly chastise PR firms and genuinely appreciated their ability to hook me up with relevant spokespeople and stories. Tech PR in particular holds a real appeal as it challenges you to take often complex themes and make them relatable through creativity. When the time came to move to the dark side, I did so happily!
Who is your favourite brand and why?
I get the whole argument around sugary drinks but you have to respect what Coca Cola has done. Its branding is iconic, everyone knows who the company is and it remains the number one choice. Though it could be because their Christmas advert is on the telly at the moment and it reminds me of my childhood!
What’s your top tip for someone who wants to get into the PR industry?
Be willing to communicate! Sounds obvious, but this isn’t a career for shrinking violets. Good communication skills, whether with colleagues, journalists, clients or anyone else, is absolutely crucial. Hopefully it isn’t a dying art form, but I fail to believe that emojis are the future of the English language.
How do you unwind after a day in the office?
My first job when back from the office is bath time with my little boy, Charlie – but I wouldn’t call that unwinding! Aside from that I chop and change quite regularly. I tend to either binge watch TV series or spend hours lost in a book, then not read again for months.
What’s your favourite anthem suggestion for Friday’s Whiteoaks Power Hour?
I am feeling increasingly out of touch with what the younger members of the team might consider “power”, so it certainly isn’t Taylor Swift or any other the other pop tracks that seem to make it onto the playlist. That being said, our CEO James Kelliher and I have been known to drop some serious beats while listening to Kisstory when on the road. However, the song that encapsulates the spirit of Power Hour for me is Africa by Toto. No matter what age range, you can’t help but sing along.
If you could be any character in any film, what would you be
I think every Star Wars fan wants to be Han Solo – a cocky space pirate who blazes in at the last minute and saves the day. Hopefully without the patricide though (SPOILER ALERT).
What’s your ideal getaway location?
Back when I had the choice, trips abroad would revolve around a city break with somewhere to watch football at an iconic stadium, from the Camp Nou to the mighty Flora Tallinn. Now, it is anywhere with enough activities to tire out a small child and guarantee a good night’s sleep!
What’s your go-to party trick?
Wowing people with insights from my two poorly received sporting biographies. Though the look quickly changes from “mildly impressed” to “all-out laughter” once they read the Amazon reviews. In fact, bringing this up and making me look like a fool is a particular favourite of our CEO.
And finally, cheesy chips?
At literally any time of day.