Daniel Freeman, co-founder and director of Colour PR, discusses the agency’s first year, what the future holds and why he looks to make the agency a platform for marginalised voices.
You’re celebrating your first anniversary, sum up Colour PR’s first year.
I don’t think our first year could have gone any better. From the first day we have steadily built a strong roster of retained and project-based clients and have had the pleasure of working with almost 20 businesses and individuals from sectors as far ranging as the arts, publishing, entertainment, culture, heritage, health and technology.
Our diverse list of clients now includes the National Churches Trust, Wimbledon Art Fair, KPMG’s healthcare division, academic book publisher Routledge and audiobook producer W.F. Howes.
What we love most about our company is having the ability to pick and choose who we work with based on what resonates with us and what we can deliver. Some of our clients have had some extremely inspirational stories to tell and it has been extremely satisfying helping them to bring their stories to life.
Why did you decide to start the agency?
Having worked together for over six years at another arts PR agency, I and fellow founding directors Liz Mallett and Zekra Rahman knew that between us we had all the right experience, credentials and contacts to build a very compelling, fresh agency offering from scratch.
Each director’s skillset and background is different yet complementary, and we bring together a broad mix of marketing, journalism and PR experience from an array of different sectors. Coupled with this, the chemistry between the three of us is spot-on, and in business this is something that should never be underestimated.
I think for many PR professionals and creatives generally, there comes a time in your career when working for yourself and creating something in your own vision is highly appealing and for us the timing was perfect.
What makes Colour PR different from other agencies?
Generally, one of the main industry gripes we hear about time and time again is that hierarchical PR agencies rely too heavily on junior staff to carry out the bulk of client work, while senior members of staff are drawn away to focus on managerial aspects of the business.
At Colour PR we wanted to go back to basics and offer clients our senior-level expertise and support, from strategy to execution, throughout the campaign. This is one of the pillars on which we have built the business and we feel that clients are benefiting from this approach.
This, coupled with our enthusiasm and passion for what our clients do and our ability to convey their stories effectively while achieving great results gives us a cutting edge.
Why did you decide to create five distinctive strands?
When we launched the agency, we spent a lot of time analysing our collective expertise and what we felt clients would require from a modern-day, full-service PR agency. We created five distinctive categories to our proposition – Colour Media, Colour Social, Colour Events, Colour Content and Colour Consultancy – giving clients the ability to mix and match the services as per their objectives.
This has been a very effective approach and I’m pleased that our clients have really taken to it. In our first year, we have worked closely with clients to generate high impact media campaigns and events, implement social and content marketing strategies and provide media training and other consultancy services.
What made you decide to become a platform for marginalised voices and untold stories?
One of the most fulfilling parts of our job is to work with brands and people whose stories are relatively unknown and to tease out a narrative and story which can really resonate with a wide audience. We enjoy nothing more than finding these hidden gems and unleashing their full potential.
During the last year, we have been able to help give a community of ‘lost girls’ a voice through a campaign that raises awareness of girls who suffer silently with autism. We worked with a solo artist Shiv Grewal, on his debut art exhibition on life after death, and used his unique and unheard experiences to help hospitals better understand how art therapy can support patients with rehabilitation.
We were lucky enough to work with a doctor and diplomat who were on the front line of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone to give them a platform to make a real difference in how the world copes with the spread of fatal diseases in the future. We are also really proud to be working with Knights Of, an inclusive publisher who is releasing the first black British children’s detective story by Sharna Jackson this April.
These are all important issues, stories and voices that need to be heard, and which could have otherwise remained untold. It is just one area of our work but it’s certainly the sort of stuff we love getting out of bed for every day.
How to you look to measure the effectiveness of your work?
Every client has its own unique set of business and PR objectives and priorities, which can range from getting tier one media coverage to reaching specific readerships through thought leadership, from achieving spikes in web traffic to attracting an audience to an event, so a one-size-fits-all approach in this line of business really doesn’t work, and never did.
From the very first meeting we work tirelessly to ensure that the client’s objectives are commonly understood and clear, that our strategies and tactics are designed to meet them, and that realistic KPIs are set to achieve what the client wants. We then mutually agree on the types of metrics the client wants to employ in order to measure the success of the campaign.
Finally, what does the future hold for Colour PR?
Our main goal is to continue to grow and build on the solid foundations we have set in place during our first year. We are really excited about the relationships we have established and want to continue working with the people we so enjoy working with, while seeking to connect with brands and businesses which appeal to us.
We’re constantly looking to innovate and diversify our portfolio reaching into relevant sectors where we can continue to offer our expertise and deliver the great results upon which we are building our reputation.