This month, Shout! Communications celebrates its 18th Birthday and I couldn’t be more proud. Here’s the lowdown from how it all started until the point, almost two decades on, when we’ve come of age.
Why we launched Shout! Communications
My co-founder Keren Haynes (right in the “then” and “now” photos above) and I were the broadcast team for a large London technology PR agency when the dot com bubble burst and we could see tough times ahead.
I was recovering from a life changing illness; Keren was a mum with a toddler and a new baby. Call it brave, impetuous, or plain foolish but we decided to go it alone and set up our own specialist broadcast PR agency.
Like name, like nature
We named it Shout! Communications, as anyone who knows us will confirm we’re loud – not offensively so, but we don’t ever require a microphone at events.
Our agency was born out of back bedrooms in Ealing and Surrey and from the early days we delivered fantastic coverage for the big brands of the day including Compaq, Hewlett Packard and Three . One of our first clients was P&O Cruises who we still work with today.
Broadcast coverage is often the icing on the cake for clients. We could see that was challenging for many PR agencies and brands, whose specialism lay in other areas, but to us it was second nature and our passion. We knew how to navigate our way around broadcast newsrooms as both had first careers as successful TV and radio journalists. But, could we make a business out of using our journalistic skills to support clients to achieve their objectives? The answer is yes but it was at times a steep learning curve and we certainly underestimated how tough it is to run your own business.
Have we always been Broadcast PR specialists?
A big resounding YES. It’s our specialism and is important to us and to our clients that we are experts in our field. We have tried not to dilute our brand and pretend to be something we’re not. Admittedly, there’ve been a few changes along the way as we have evolved with the times. The company has so far had three office moves, rebranded three times and built up three strong specialisms: media relations, production ( podcasts and videos) and media training. Ultimately we offer everything you need to secure on-air coverage.
Most conversations start with “I’m ringing as I’d like to pick your brains”. I’ve had calls like this whilst I write this blog. For us it’s what makes our company standout – our consultancy and strategic advice.
From the outset we’ve been honest with our clients. We don’t over promise, we consistently deliver and we know this is why our clients are so loyal and stay with our agency.
Highlights and lowlights
For me, when we achieve mainstream national broadcast coverage for a complicated niche issue, that’s a great result. When the schedule has 30 quality radio and TV interviews for a consumer campaign, that too is a fantastic outcome. And every time we see a direct link between our work and a company’s profit or uptake of services increase , I’m very proud of our team.
But there are inevitably some stand out moments. Live streaming Her Majesty the Queen, launching Britannia, P&O Cruises Flag ship, to the entire fleet at sea and to all broadcasters and online was a first and a feat! Producing the government’s first ever podcast, for DEFRA, was also memorable. And more recently, in the latest honours list, our personal trainer client Lavina Mehta was made an MBE for helping to keep the Asian community fit and healthy over the pandemic. This featured on national ITV News at Ten.
I’m pleased to say lowlights are few. Projects don’t always go as planned and relationships can be complicated. Stories get bumped and strategies undone by events – who’d have predicted the current pandemic . But after 18 years, I’d say we’re pretty robust! I don’t know where we’ll be in another 18 years, but we’re as fired up now as we were at the start.
To learn more about how we support PR agencies and client direct with broadcast PR services, look at What We Do https://shoutcommunications.co.uk/what-we-do/