|Interview: Helena Fisher - Talk PR >|
|Interview: Steve McCool >|
|PR Pioneers: Chris Lewis >|
|A Day in the Life of Blue Rubicon’s Chris Norton >|
|A Day in the Life of Frances Abebreseh >|
|Interview: Mark Borkowski >|
|A Day in the Life of Ben Bolton >|
|A Day in the Life of Dominic Stevenson >|
|A Day in the Life of Dan Lambden >|
|A Day in the Life of Paul Nezandonyi >|
|A Day in the Life Rob Dyson >|
|A Day in the Life of David Silverman >|
|A Day in the Life of Charlotte Robertson >|
|A Day in the Life of Graeme Anthony >|
|A Day in the Life of Claude Peters >|
|A Day in the Life of Melissa Mace PR Manager >|
|A Day in the Life of Helen Trevorrow - MD of Green Row >|
|A Day in the Life of Sarah Willoughby - NHS Comms >|
|A Day in the Life of Jason Gale, Director of Handmade UK >|
|A Day in the Life of Rhodri Harries, Managing Director of Kaizo >|
|A Day in the Life of Roberta Whitter >|
|A Day in the Life of Katie Bawler - Account Executive >|
|A Day in the Life of Anna Gawan - Press Officer >|
|A Day in the Life of Dan Humphreys– MarkettiersS4dc >|
|A Day in the Life of… Kizzi Nkwocha - Media consultant >|
|A Day in the Life of… Daljit Bhurji – MD, Diffusion PR >|
|A Day in the Life of… Bieneosa Ebite – Bright Star Public Relations >|
|A Day in the Life of… Dom Whitehurst – 33 Digital Technology PR >|
|A Day in the Life of… Stephen Waddington - Agency MD >|
|A Day in the Life of… James Kingsley >|
|Special interview with Tom Murphy : PR Blogger >|
|A Day in the Life of ... Roman Townsend >|
|A Day in the Life of ... Talia Druker from Finsbury >|
|A Day in the Life of Philip Ost of Alliance Boots >|
|A Day in the Life of Tim Callington, Account Director at Edelman >|
|A Day in the Life of Ben Matthews, Associate at Waughton >|
|A Day in the Life of Katherine Cox, formerly agency Account Executive now Senior Researcher at headhunter Taylor Bennett >|
|A Day in the Life of Charles Reynolds >|
|A Day in the Life of Kate Hinksman, Senior Investor Relations Manager, Vodafone Group Plc >|
|A Day in the Life of Karen Watt, a PR GP >|
|A Day in the Life of Ash Spiegelberg, a Brunswick Account Director >|
|Day in the Life of Leila Reuter, an Investor Relations Manager >||
A Day in the Life of Dan Lambden
25 February 2011
Dan Lambden first worked for creative consumer agency Cake as an intern, having discovered a passion for PR during earlier work experience with a music PR company. As he graduated, a role came up at Cake and, having impressed during his internship, he got an interview and was offered the job. Now an Account Executive with the agency he works with a wide range of clients helping devise and deliver creative campaigns.
By Sarah Stimson
How did you first get into PR?
I first got into PR during my first year at university. I was interested in a career in the music industry, possibly working in A&R or marketing, but when I started researching possible summer work placements I was pointed, by a lovely lady at Universal Music, in the general direction of a small boutique PR company specialising in music called Stoked PR, who were looking for an extra pair of hands. I ended up doing a full work experience placement with them, working on then emerging artists Eliza Doolittle, Daniel Merriweather and Tinchy Stryder. I loved every second of it!
What happened next?
Having got a bite of the PR cherry at Stoked, I began seeking out further work experience whilst still at university. I was lucky enough to be offered a few weeks at Cake in the spring of my final year. Cake was a larger company than Stoked, and was a consumer PR agency, though with music and entertainment at the heart of many of its projects. I thrived being in such a creative environment, and was hugely impressed by how hard everyone worked. From day one I felt like I had to raise my game and be noticed.
So how did the job at Cake come about?
Lucky for me, after I finished university a position at Cake came available and I was asked to come back for an interview. My hard work during those work experience weeks six months earlier had thankfully been noticed and I was offered an Account Assistant position. Since then I have very proudly been promoted to Account Executive working on a great range of clients.
What does your current role involve?
It’s my role to know what’s happening on all my accounts at all levels. I have to manage junior staff and oversee the day-to-day running of projects, as well as providing support to the senior staff and predicting their needs and requirements. Cake is a great place to demonstrate your ability to work in a team, as well as manage your own projects. It’s a real sink or swim position, because there are always 101 things to do, but for me that’s all part of the excitement of the job.
Give us an idea of a typical day at work?
A typical day will consist of me turning on my computer and then getting my head straight into a newspaper to do a morning round-up of the news agenda for my clients. On a good day I’ll have had some coverage land in the papers to send over too. From that moment on, no day is the same. I can be asked to attend any number of brainstorms for briefs, from both current clients and new business, I spend time selling in stories to the press, negotiating budgets with agents and suppliers, and researching blogs. I’ve done everything from having to buy emergency deckchairs for a photo shoot in a snowy January to sourcing animal aerobics instructors!
Tell us a bit about Cake.
Cake is an ideas company that make brands become part of peoples’ lives. We call this “ideas incorporated”. We make it happen via PR, social media and experiential marketing. We have a great range of clients and there are plenty of opportunities to do exciting work. Our social media team is growing every day and our clients are really engaging in online PR and content, which is great, as it’s still so new and exciting. Cake also run the V Festival press office every summer, which is one of my personal highlights of the company’s year because it was Cake’s incredible music festival PR credentials which first interested me about the agency.
Tell us about some recent projects
One of my recent projects was a Christmas campaign for Sky, who wanted to encourage families to sit down together over Christmas and watch the great range of films on offer. Charades is a popular game played over Christmas, so we created a series of interactive videos for the Sky website and Sky Anytime channel with Richard E Grant and Alison Steadman, who acted out the films showing over the Christmas period. It got some great coverage in the national news and had an incredible number of Sky Anytime views.
Some people think that consumer PR is a bit fluffy and full of PR bunnies, is that true?
Consumer PR is far from fluffy! It’s a fast moving industry, where strong ideas and relationships are key to a campaign’s success. I can’t look at a newspaper, blog or advert without my brain frantically thinking of ways our clients can be involved, or could respond reactively. There is an element of parties, festivals and networking, but that means the job is far from 9–5. In the summer months we have lots of events on, so often work a lot of evenings and weekends.
Social media is clearly an increasingly bit part of what you guys do. Why’s it so important?
Social media has transformed the way brands interact with consumers. It’s a medium that is able to find out what real users want, and can therefore tell brands what they need to do to improve, or to better engage audiences. Also, if the campaign idea is strong enough, social media can enhance and widen a fanbase in ways traditional PR cannot.
Plus the power of bloggers and online influencers has never been stronger and it is still growing! We find prior to selling in stories to national press, we now spend a lot of time speaking to our blogger contacts at the early stages of a campaign’s development, to ensure we are creating content relevant to them while making them feel connected and involved; they don’t want to just be sold to on launch day. Bloggers don’t have a daily list to present to an editor like a newspaper journalist, so it’s crucial to give them time to write up their articles.
Do you think there is a lack of ethnic diversity in PR, and how should the industry tackle it?
Having only ever really worked at Cake, which has staff from a wide range of backgrounds, I can’t comment for the whole industry. PR is a very competitive sector, so regardless of a person’s background it should be their ideas and dedication, which shine through.
What advice would you have for anyone considering a career in PR?
Anyone looking for a career in PR needs the following things:
Thick skin – you get lots of knock backs from journalists, ideas you’ve cherished and worked hard on get scrapped. You have to accept these knock backs, and use any critical feedback to improve your future projects.
A diary – If you’re meeting a journalist for breakfast, seeing a supplier after brunch, have a conference call with a client and then back-to-back meetings all afternoon, you need to be organised.
A blog – Having a blog is a great creative output, both to discuss your ideas and interests, and to practice your writing skills. I often use mine to document the campaigns I work on and note things which inspire me.
Who do you admire in the industry?
Since starting at Cake I’ve always looked up to my colleague Greg James. Not only is he a brilliant friend, teacher and mentor, but he has also had an incredible career at Cake. Having started here when the company was in its infancy, Greg was promoted from Account Executive to Account Director in a very short space of time, and then progressed to an associate board member and Head of Content. I admire Greg’s creativity, digital knowledge and project management skills and hope to follow in his career footsteps – largely because he recently relocated to our Cake New York offices!
What is the best piece of PR advice you’ve been given?
I remember in my first few weeks working in PR, I was really feeling the pressure of deadlines and the need to impress, so often ended up working late hours to complete work on time. One evening, when I was on the verge of a breakdown, a colleague took me aside and told me – it’s PR not ER. That piece of advice has always stuck with me and is often quoted around the office when stress and workloads are on overdrive.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Music is a huge passion of mine, so getting the opportunities to spend my summers working at festivals such as the Isle Of Wight Festival, Glastonbury and, of course, V Festival is a definite perk!
What’s the worst thing about your job?
Not being able to switch off from the job. Every magazine I read I am on the search for branding and survey stats. Every blog I visit I look at the SEO and types of content they use. Every newspaper I double check who has written the article. I can’t simply just enjoy the media recreationally like how I used to!
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve been very keen to get involved with pitches and new business at Cake. One of my career highlights is winning the social media account for Carphone Warehouse, which was only my second pitch experience. I have since gone on to play a key role in further pitches and helped expand Cake’s range of clients.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that we couldn’t find on the internet.
I tweet on an hourly basis, so I’m not sure there is much you couldn’t find out about me on the internet already! I have a small collection of limited edition bottles from some of my favourite brands, such as Magners, Evian and Coke, which live on a bookshelf in my flat. So if anyone has any they’d like to send me, feel free!