Monday 1 March 2010

Five-minute Abchat: Quincy Allan, Abchurch

Abchurch's newest Account Executive, Quincy Allan (complete with alice band and affirmations that Quincy is indeed his real name) is the first of the Abchaps to shed a little more light on the world of financial PR...

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always used in an avocatory capacity during my younger years to help settle disputes between friends. Coupled with the fact that my Mum is a lawyer I guess I was pigeonholed into becoming a barrister. I threw a spanner in the works when I decided geology was more my thing, less reading…

How did you get into financial PR?
I had interned at Abchurch about 18 months ago, just after a move back from Singapore where I had been working for an oil and gas consultancy. Up until then I had little idea about the function of Financial PR in the City, and how my oil and gas background could be applied to the industry. I loved my time at Abchurch, learnt a lot, and enjoyed working with a great team. When the chance to join permanently arose, I jumped at the chance.

Describe your role in ten words or less (if that’s possible!):
As an Account Executive, I am responsible for…. Not possible.

If I wasn’t talking to you now, what would you be doing?
I have a couple of update reports I need to finish and send out to clients, as well as a few pitches that need my magic touch.

What is the most interesting thing about your work?
Variety – I get to deal with a wide array of people and businesses everyday, from journalists to fund managers and Chief Executives to sell side analysts. But I especially like listening to smaller, really innovative companies that want to make it in the big time. Makes me feel like a baby “dragon” when they explain their companies and big ideas to us.

Is there a common misconception about PR?
Myth: PR Professionals make up news or distort the truth
Fact: PR Professionals communicate useful, factual news to a targeted audience

Companies that distort the truth will find it difficult to regain public trust once they are “outed”, and their bottom lines can suffer. When working with the media, PR practitioners promote story angles that provide a benefit to their clients’ target markets and the news audience. PR professionals are trained to identify newsworthy opportunities for different types of media outlets and news formats.

How has the industry changed over the last couple of years?
The industry is getting more up to date. With major advancements in social media, blogging, and companies more than ever trying their hands at “tweeting”, it has created a whole new scope for a company to reach its target audience. PRs are experts at managing organisations' reputations, and now more importantly, communication between an organisation and its public. Social media should not just be seen as 'a few tweets' because a damaging message can spread virally in minutes and could potentially undermine all key messages. PRs should now be looking at building a rapport with the public, as we are moving towards a culture where it is the individual who has the sway.

What developments do you expect to see in the next twelve months?
Structural changes in the media, and the challenges of Generation Y - who increasingly run their lives via the internet - and cost pressures that will force publishers and broadcasters to accelerate their online plans. It is here where organisations of all types are crying out for skills and advice from PR agencies.

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