21st May 2015
I am the managing director and owner of Cobb PR
What made you start Cobb PR?
I had two ambitions in life: to become a national news journalist; to work for myself.
In 1990, aged 27, I joined The Press Association in Fleet Street as a reporter and took over as News Editor in 1993.
I loved the work, but not the commute from Eastbourne to London on the 5.06am train. I started doing freelance PR work, helping companies who wanted to raise their profile through the media. By 1995, I was generating enough additional money to cover the mortgage and a couple of food bills. I decided that it was now time to give up my “day job” and move into the world of PR.
What was my plan at the start?
I wanted to earn enough money to cover all my bills, give me and my wife Sue some spare cash and to be able to spend more time with my growing family.
How has Cobb PR changed over the years?
When I started in 1995 I bought a phone, pager, fax machine and a very basic PC. Emails existed, but most of my business was done via the phone and fax machine. People had to phone me to tell me they had sent an email!
Today, we cannot live without emails, the internet and social media. If my emails fail, it is like having an arm cut off.
Life moves at a faster pace. People demand immediate responses to questions and are anxious if their emails do not get a response within an hour or two.
There is no “down time” in life today. Our emails are constantly feeding us with information and we are constantly monitoring them to ensure we are up to speed on all matters affecting the business.
Having said that, I thrive on instant and total communications. It is addictive and helps you stay at the top of your game.
Highs and lows?
I am very fortunate that I love my work and love my clients. Highs are easy – winning a new client, delivering great results, exceeding client expectations, having our skills and expertise recognised through national awards.
Lows – we are human and sometimes make mistakes.
How do you manage to get over the lows?
We always make amends, but it still causes me pain. It is an opportunity to turn a disappointed client/audience into a raving fan by showing them that 99.9% of the time we deliver excellence.
Have you achieved all your goals?
Cobb PR is a book of many chapters. Each chapter brings new opportunities and new challenges. I see the business as an on-going story. I cannot visualise an ending, rather a fascinating journey that continues to excite me and lead me into new arenas and poses new tasks to deal with. I love it!
Interns from abroad … why?
We love having young dynamic people around us. It keeps our ideas fresh and helps keep us all grounded.
We were young once and should be sympathetic to their needs, desires and ambitions.
We have regular requests from interns in Europe. So long as they can speak English to a good standard, have an outgoing personality and can become a useful member of the team, we are pleased to welcome them on board.
What image and reputation did you want at the start? Have you achieved it?
At the start, my ambitions were simply to earn enough money to pay the bills and avoid having to return to a “proper” job.
As the business grew, I gained a better understanding of what it means to run a successful business. I recognise my strengths and weaknesses and surround myself with a highly-skilled team.
We never know what is lurking round corner, but we should always be prepared for the unexpected. Each day, we should strive to deliver great results and great service to our clients and partners.
We should never become proud or boastful. We should treat every individual as we would like to be treated. We should remember that we are only ever one slip away from a nasty fall.
How do you see Cobb PR in 10 years’ time?
When I started, I had no idea where I would be 10 years later. Today, I feel the same, but I will try to give a better answer.
In 2025, Cobb PR will still enjoy a great reputation in the world of communications. We will be the “go to” agency for larger SMEs looking to raise their profile.
Our colleagues at Cobb Digital will be working closely with us to ensure we deliver online and offline solutions to every challenge posed.
We will keep ahead of the curve and anticipate new trends in how we talk to each other.
We will still see corporate social responsibility as an important part of our work and will continue to help our selected charities.
We will remember our humble beginnings and never take anything for granted.