It wasn't how any of us had planned to celebrate our PR Director Sarah Samways' ten year anniversary at Motive. Instead of lunch and drinks with the team it was flowers and chocs in the garden at home during enforced coronavirus lock down. But at least we were able to catch up later for virtual drinks online and to ask Sarah a few questions about her decade at the agency.
Hi Sarah, can you believe it's ten years since you walked through the door to start your first day? How do you feel?
Apart from feeling old, I feel proud at how the agency has grown over the last ten years. A lot of clients have been with us for the majority of those years, some of them from start-ups, and it’s been a joy to watch them grow and their campaigns evolve.
What have you learned over the past ten years?
That PR is ever changing. We’ve gone from print newspapers and magazines to online versions taking over. That’s changed the way we work, the way we pitch and it’s given us even more opportunities to get our clients mentioned and featured. I’m sure the next 10 years will see more change.
What are your memories of your very first day at Motive?
That was so long ago I can hardly remember! It was a very warm welcome from the team and introductions to some lovely clients. I think cake may have been involved too!
How has the role and the agency evolved over the years?
Both have changed a lot. How the public consume media and news changes all the time and as an agency we’ve kept up with those changes and have been at the forefront helping our clients reach their target audience in new ways. It’s been an exciting decade for the agency too as we’ve strengthened the team, increased the client base, won awards and purchased our own office building.
Who have been your personal favourite clients and projects and what work are you most proud of during your time at the agency?
I don’t have a favourite client – I genuinely like all of them. We have a great of mix of consumer and digital brands and are fully integrated into their internal teams. I am really proud of the work we’ve done for musclefood over the last eight years. Some of our campaigns have won awards for us, we’ve helped them win awards and we’ve kept their profile high in the national press. It’s been great to be part of their incredible growth.
Aside from the work, what have been your highlights of the past ten years?
Winning awards has to be a highlight. Who doesn’t love getting dressed up and collecting fabulous awards?! Our recent team trip to Brussels was lots of fun too. I guess the team around me are also a highlight. It’s great to nurture and watch younger team members grow into their roles and develop and to have the support of the MD to allow me to develop my career around the brands and products I’m passionate about.
How do you think PR and the media have changed in the past decade?
There have been lots of technology driven changes in the way people communicate. Ten years ago smartphones were a rare sight and social media was still in it's infancy. Now it's hard to imagine a world without either. As PR professionals we have had to adapt but it's brought many new opportunities for us.
What would your advice be for anyone starting out in their careers now? Do you think PR offers more or less opportunities than when you started out?
My advice would be to consume media – read, listen, watch so you have a great awareness of the stories the press are looking for and the content which different channels will be interested in. Being aware of what’s out there is vital in making sure your clients are getting the coverage and awareness they need. Also have an eye for a story. Motive is a fluff free zone which is why our campaigns do so well.
There are definitely more opportunities than when I started in PR many years ago. Digital wasn’t a thing all those years ago, neither was social media. There will always be a place for hardworking, traditional PR but it’s important to be on top of how the media is changing and the PR role evolving to stay on top of the game.
A final word from me - it's been a pleasure working with you for the past ten years Sarah. Thanks for being such a fantastic colleague! Happy Motiversary.
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