Some quick facts to whet the appetite on Mr Rich Leigh.
He founded the UK’s #1 PR blog
He is the author of 'Myths of PR' (Amazon's once best selling PR tome)
He was listed in PR Week’s 29 under 29 - named one of ‘the brightest young social media communicators’ in the UK
He can usually be found at the forefront of the industry things with his agency, Radioactive PR
He is brave, smart, self-aware and candid. It's a good read, I hope you enjoy.
What would be your perfect client brief?
‘Here’s our problem/challenge. Here’s how much money we are willing to spend if you can come up with a solution and what’s that? Oh God yeah, of COURSE we’ll pay for the time you’ll spend working a proposal up’.
Worst marketing buzzword?
Viral, as in ‘let’s make sure this one goes viral!’. As I said in a Myths of PR chapter, every time somebody asks you to make them go viral, a fairy drops dead.
What’s the one thing you look for in every hire - regardless of level/role/experience?
It sounds so corny, but just a willingness to learn and get stuck in.
There are so many amazing people across PR and marketing that give their time and expertise freely online, be it through Twitter, podcasts, YouTube, blogs and the like - take advantage of it!
When you are gone, what would you like people to write for your obituary?
Bloody hell, David.
You’ve just reminded me that I need to sort my will out, though - I’ve recently upgraded from a 125cc to a much bigger bike and if I died tomorrow, my lack of planning and leaning back on the ‘yeahhh, but I’m still young!!’ would annoy a LOT of people.
Have you ever been in a fight (fisty-cuffs)?
More than I should have been…!
Have you ever had a mentor?
Not especially, but I have had people that have been supportive of me, and that means just as much.
What is your most used, ‘couldn’t live without’ phone app?
What do you spend way too much money on?
Grenade bars, meals out and books I know I’ll struggle to get around to.
What’s the most difficult part of running your own agency?
For somebody that tries not to take themselves too seriously, I’m a real worrier.
I worry about clients being happy; I worry about the team, their development and happiness; I worry about how often I compare us to other agencies and their work; I worry that we’re not where we should be; I worry about our growth versus where I thought we might be. In short, yeah, it’s the worry that gets me. I often wonder if I should have started a business with somebody else, but we’ve got this far, and it’s seen us get through a pandemic thus far, sooo, guess it’s just a case of moving forward positively!
What’s your favourite part of running your own agency?
Building the team, definitely. I don’t always get everything right by any stretch, but I allowed myself a moment at our last Christmas party to look around, see everybody having a good time and give myself a quick pat on the back.
What is something that I could learn right now, that will be useful for the rest of my life?
That you should never spend another second worrying about things you have no control over. There’s enough to think about that you actually can affect. Relatedly, I keep reminding myself that comparison is the thief of joy.
How do you define success?
Success is the freedom to do what makes me and those around me happy, without time or financial constraints.
How do you unwind?
A few different ways. Exercise - I built out a decent garage gym just before lockdown, making my gym mates very jealous, even if I do share it with a few hundred spiders; cooking - since lockdown started I’ve cooked a different cuisine each week for my kids and we’ve really enjoyed that; reading; video games; learning and playing my piano; starting and then pretending I’ll one day finish something artistic or literarily creative.
Most played song on iTunes/Spotify? (no cheating)
That’s a tough one - I try not to listen to the same songs over and over again, but my hip hop playlists get a hammering.
Actually, this is as good a forum as any to spread the word of Song Roulette!
It’s a car-game I invented, where you and your passenger(s) take it in turns to choose a song to play on Spotify. Only, it cannot be premeditated - you give the chooser a five second countdown to pick and whichever song comes to mind first goes on. No changing your mind, no skipping plays. It throws up the most ridiculous playlist. You just go with it, even if, as with the last time I played, the first song to come to mind the second the countdown began was the Gladiators TV show theme tune.
There are 5 empty seats at your table, who are your dream dinner party guests - from any time or place?
I always struggle with this thought, but Derren Brown, Christopher Hitchens and Tim Minchin would be near the top of the list. I’d love to hear what Hitchens thought about the world right now.
Early bird or night owl? I’m rarely in bed before midnight but always up before seven, so… a bit of both!?
Book or boxset? I love each for different reasons. I love a book, but you can’t beat a great boxset, especially when watching with somebody that is as into it as you.
Call or text? I enjoy a good gossip but rarely feel like I have enough time to give to the other person, so texts win out.
Introvert or Extrovert? Extrovert. I tire quickly of my own company.
Netflix or YouTube? YouTube, just about.
Library or museum? Museum
Classic or modern? Modern
Finally – who would you like to see answer these questions in the spotlight?
Let’s go with Jessica Pardoe. She’s great and looks to be doing good things, would be nice to hear from somebody in the first couple of years of their career!
Talk us through your workspace.
What helps you get through the day and do what you need to do?
A 'Hey Foxy' Mug
A cup I stole from one of the team, years ago
A Mac I recently spilled wine on and had to spend a fortune getting fixed.
Obligatory (actually fun) desk toy
A standing desk thing to make me look dynamic
A bank log-on thing that has been going for 5+ years (and without which we wouldn't be able to login to the business bank o_O)
There’s a fully subsidised government scheme at the minute aiming to get young people that are currently out of work into placements, called Kickstart.
It’s an amazing opportunity both for these 16-24 year olds and businesses/organisations around the UK.
I’ve written about it, why I think it’s an absolute GIFT for the PR industry and how to get involved here on PR Moment.