A Week in My Life: Hannah Craig, Head of PHA North, The PHA Group
The PHA Group is a PR and digital agency with offices in Manchester, Leeds, London and Wokingham.
Hannah Craig, Head of PHA North, has a wealth of experience in developing and activating creative PR and digital campaigns, having previously worked in various senior roles for a range of agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi.
Craig has built up the PHA North offering from scratch over the last year, where she has made a number of strategic hires to build the team across Leeds and Manchester.
The agency has a roster of clients including food recipe box Feast Box and sister company Red Rickshaw.
We found out how a recent week in her life went...
Given PHA’s incredibly flexible working policy, most of my Monday’s are at home and the week always starts in the best way – a morning huddle with my amazing team! It’s great to hear how everyone spent their weekend (and any stories or life updates that came out of it!), then we talk through priorities for the week and discuss who, or which clients, need support so we can set ourselves up for a successful week.
When you’re a born and bred PR – you can’t help but have a scan of what’s going on across the media agenda or the latest social trends first thing. Most of my days start in this way so I can be clued up on anything that might relate to my teams or clients that they could react to or be a part of.
Then I joined a meeting with our sales and marketing team to hear updates on what campaigns they are running that week to support PHA as an agency, or which businesses might need our support. Two or three great leads came out of this that I took briefs on regarding business challenges and how PR, social or digital could help solve it.
The rest of my afternoon was spent finalising a PR proposal for a pitch we had on later that week. The brief was an interesting one, focussed on sustainability and how we can harness the power of consumer expectation to force big brands and companies to drive eco-friendly change. PHA specialise in delivering transformational PR campaigns for brands with sustainability at their core, so the team had some brilliant ideas for creative campaigns! I love the thinking phase of a proposal, it feels like you have total creative freedom to take it in whatever direction you like, so bringing ideas like this together is always a joy for me.
Tuesday, I headed into The PHA North office in Manchester, we’re very lucky to have a spot in Bruntwood’s newly renovated building on Spring Gardens, Bloc and it’s always a pleasure to spend the day there!
When I’m in the office I will always try to schedule meetings as despite the shift to digital during the pandemic, for me, nothing beats a face-to-face chat. As a fairly new team, it’s really important to us that we get out and about and become part of the community where we can. I love the ‘people’ part of PR, constantly meeting new people, hearing their stories, and finding new and creative ways to help amplify them.
On this day I met a few interesting people, including a company also based in the same building that were looking for PR support to build industry authority and credibility. We explored the opportunity to raise their profile on a regional and national level. It was a positive meeting, we had a great chemistry and we’re hoping to pick back up again in a few weeks’ time so we can respond to a live brief.
That afternoon I also hosted an agency wide session called Creative Corner. This is a creative thinking session we host across the full agency (we’re a team of approx. 120 overall) where we come together and get inspired! We look at campaigns from the month before, what worked well, what didn’t and what we could learn from them in our own activations. Then we collect a couple of live briefs from different departments within the agency and brainstorm ideas. Each time we try a different brainstorm technique to see if that unlocks any creative thinking. We try to make this a creative safe space where no idea is too big or whacky – the weirder the better!
One of my favourite things about agency life is the fact that one day is never the same, so on Wednesday, I hopped on a train to Glasgow to meet a new potential client.
It’s important for us to get under the skin of all our clients, understand their brands and the sectors they operate in, completely. This helps us ensure our PR strategies are dynamic and aligned to business objectives and values. When we arrived in Glasgow, we set off on a tour of the head office and facilities based there. We met some of the wider team on the ground, heard what their typical day looks like and why they enjoy being a part of the business.
We then sat down and presented some initial thinking on a PR strategy and how we can increase their share of voice, positioning the business as a thought leader on sustainability. Then I hopped back on a train, but this time down to London!
Thursday morning started with some exciting news – a new client win. I had a call with our new clients to chat through kicking off our partnership. There’s no better feeling than winning a new client, and this one is particularly exciting because it’s with a business doing things differently. PR is such a brilliant platform for the bold and it's always music to my ears to hear people say they want to challenge the norm and do it publicly too. This client wants to do just that, so watch this space!
Then Thursday afternoon was special, after two years of waiting and careful organisation from our sports and social team, everyone at The PHA Group came together for the summer party! Hosted at an amazing venue on the Thames with a great view of the 02 Arena, it was a lovely afternoon full of sunshine, laughter and socialising. It was great to see everyone together in one place, resembling ‘normal’ agency life once more.
Usually on a Friday I work from home and tie up any loose ends from the week, or get a head start on the one to come, and we finish at 4pm so we can start the weekend early!
However, this particular Friday was better than most. To show appreciation for the team’s hard work and commitment across the last 18 months, and to celebrate us all being together for the first time in two years, the agency closed for the day and all teams were awarded an extra day’s holiday to switch off.
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