Vicky Stoakes from PR agency Red Setter illuminates the need for public relations in the creative world, and shares the best things about being a client services director.

Tell me a bit about your role as Client Services Director at Red Setter — what does it involve? 

I lead the PR team at Red Setter, overseeing all client activity and generally ensuring everyone is delivering as brilliantly as possible. At a strategic level, I’m constantly looking at the bigger picture for clients, spotting opportunities and hooks. 

I stay as close as possible to what’s happening in the creative industry so that, as a team, our knowledge about trends and insights impacting on design, our clients and the wider creative world, is completely on point. 

What did you study at university, and how did this inform the journey to where you are today? 

Film Studies with History and Theory of Art. As far as degrees go, it was brilliant (considering I wanted to go to art school but sadly didn’t have the talent). It cemented a life-long love and appreciation of the visual world. After working in PR in pretty much most industries (including motoring, finance, food and drink, health, shipping, kids TV), I’ve found my natural home celebrating the design industry every day. 

"The industry needs PR to show the world it’s not just nice packaging and logos"

Red Setter  Mark Vessey 8670
Red Setter Brighton

Can you outline the importance of PR in the creative world, and how Red Setter helps to grow reputations/build client bases?

Design is one of the fastest growing of all the creative industries and it needs to be celebrated. The industry needs PR to show the world it’s not just nice packaging and logos, but that great design and clever thinking sit at the heart of the most successful businesses. That great creative sets brands and companies apart, defines them and helps them build connections and grow. 

PR is the industry’s best friend to build and maintain its reputation, and help show brands why investing in the best creative is absolutely essential. At Red Setter we are championing this cause, putting agencies front of mind for brands, building awareness and reputations.

What skills are essential to your job? 

Common sense and an ability to listen to clients carefully — both what they say and don’t say — are absolutely central to a career in PR. All of our clients are very different, and a one size approach does not fit all. 

PR can be intense, so a sense of humour is essential. And a passion for design in this sector is a must! It also helps to be a proficient writer, as even though we have a team of journalists at Red Setter, writing as a communication tool is part of everything we do. 

"I love that in PR you get to learn about so many different things"

Red Setter  Mark Vessey 8649
Red Setter Brighton

What one thing do you know now, that you wish you’d known at the start of your career? 
That it’s PR, not ER. PR can be high pressured — keeping clients happy, keeping the team happy, and of course a constant demand for generating media coverage and ideas. But it’s good to have some perspective. The day an experienced and astute PR director kindly told me that it’s PR and not ER gave me the ability to laugh a lot more and enjoy the ride (because it is a good one). 

What is the best thing (and worst!) about working in PR?

The best is that everyday clients are sharing clever, meaningful, exciting and effective work. And it’s our job to take their creative and tell the world. I love that in PR you get to learn about so many different things. Even though our agencies are all creative, one day I’m learning about fintech start-ups, the next about low-alcohol drinks, the next placemaking. It’s also a happy coincidence that many of our clients create stunning drinks packaging that I’m a big fan of. 

The worst? There are never enough hours in the day…PR never stops. It’s very much a live it and breathe it industry…so thankfully it’s one I definitely live and breathe.


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