Finn Communications MD shares secrets and advice to gathered industry leaders at the Prolific North PR Dinner

Charlie Spargo's picture

Leading figures from the PR sector came together last night to celebrate the industry, as well as take a look at the first reveal of the Top 50 PR Agencies list, completed by Mustard Research.

The highlight of the evening was a keynote Q&A session with Richard Rawlins, Managing Director of Finn Communications, the Leeds-based integrated marketing agency. 40 from the region's growing PR sector gathered at Manchester Hall for a three-course meal and a first look at the finalised list.

The list, which is published online today, was created by independent research agency Mustard, who have been working hard to create the most accurate representation of the size and growth of the North's PR sector.

Agencies represented at the PR Dinner, hosted at the stylish 1920s-era venue, included Carousel PR, Ramarketing, Barrett Dixon Bell and Citypress - who ultimately took first place in the list.

Following the dinner, Richard Rawlins, MD of Finn Communications, shared stories from his agency's growth in an in-depth question and answer session with David Prior, Editor of Prolific North.

Richard talked about how far Finn has come over the course of its history, and how much he credits its success to the values it stands by - which include 'Embrace ambiguity', 'Stay curious', and 'Don't ask for permission'.

He also mentioned how proud he was to be a regional PR agency, and how this stands Finn in such great stead - having tried a decade ago to open up an office in London, and later coming to the realisation it's not the place for an independent agency. "Regional PR is where it's at," he emphasised, to much agreement in the room.

Why go down to London and compete with "massive agencies" to fight for a small piece of business, he asked.

He spoke about how many are tempted to engage in a "race to the bottom", but it's more important to hire the very smartest and best - and put them in front of clients to create a long-lasting relationship. Invest in the team, Rawlins said, and break out of the generalist agency model.

Prior asked Rawlins about the atmosphere in Leeds right now, with Channel 4 having recently moved their national HQ to the city. Rawlins said there's a real buzz there now, with cranes popping up all the time. It finally feels like a city that's going places, and that's an exciting thing.

The conversation also covered the lucky breaks Finn has encountered, how they and the other agencies gathered can raise their collective game, and why it's a better time than ever to be a PR agency, even in the face of economic uncertainty.

After Rawlins' speech, the final top 10 of the PR Agencies list was revealed one by one, with Citypress being named - for the fifth year running - the number-one PR agency in the North.

Thanks to Richard for sharing his insights and all the agency representatives who joined us and made the PR Dinner a resounding success. The next industry dinner to take place will be the Tech Dinner, happening at the same venue on November 14th.