Emerging Edinburgh – PR
Scott Thornton of Scot PRScot PRM
Scott Thornton knows how to get coverage in The Drum. “I have to say that winning The Drum’s Best Independent Practitioner at the PR Awards helped me pick up three new clients straight off the back of it.” Aw, shucks, Scott, thanks.
Thornton is an old hand in the world of PR, and credit is given where credit is due. Having worked for many years at Reuters, Thornton has taken his brand of PR into many large companies, and begun promoting internal communications.
Thornton believes that his experience has helped him greatly. “I think that if you have a background in the media then you can understand how the relationship between PR and the media works, and can work that to your advantage.”
Scot PR represents a variety of clients in a number of different sectors, from IT to hospitality to the retail sector. The company is busy, but Thornton says that it happens in fits and starts. “Getting clients is like a bus – you stand around waiting for one and then three come at once. But that is why I enjoy what I do; you ever know what is around the corner.”
Hot Tin Roof
Starting up a company can never be easy, but when you are starting up a PR agency in a crowded market the task becomes harder. Sarah Lee started up her company Hot Tin Roof last year, and deals with the new media sector. Her clients include Storm ID and Ambergreen. After working in the public sector, doing in-house PR for East of Scotland Water, and then for Leedex Euro RSCG, Lee decided to go it alone.
“I had always wanted to set up my own company, and whilst I had a target of working for a PR company for two years, I found that I wanted to do it earlier than that. I decided to bite the bullet and set up the company.”
Lee set the company up from home, and has found that her brand of PR is in great demand. “I suppose I am in the lucky position of being able to turn work down, and I can pick and choose things that I am comfortable with. That is what I always do. I think about the client and whether I can do a good enough job for them, before I accept the job. It the only way for me.”
Whilst Crimson Edge used to primarily be a design consultancy, three years ago the company decided to branch into PR. The company has five people within the PR team, and is headed up by Sue Hesketh. Their clients include Scotia UK, Fettes, solicitors Hunters PSM and Thomas Anderson Property.
“We found that we were doing design work for other PR consultancies and we just thought that we could do the job for our clients, instead of telling them to go elsewhere for their PR needs,” says Hesketh.
The business grows through a combination of word-of-mouth referrals, cold calling and also through their ad in the Yellow Pages. “We currently have five staff working in the PR side and it seems to be working. Everyone gets on very well with each other and we manage to brainstorm well. All in all, business is good, and everyone is enjoying themselves.”
With Glasgow Rangers supremo David Murray in place as the company’s chairman, it is understandable that Carnegie Worldwide has the world of sport covered.
Carnegie PR, however, has undergone a transition in the marketplace and is now focusing on both PR and event management. The company represents the likes of the Bank of Scotland and Nordoff Robbins. “Although traditionally we’ve been known as a sports marketing and hospitality company, the past 18 months have seen us strip Carnegie back to focus on a core proposition for the communication consultancy – specifically sponsorship, PR and event entertainment,” says client services director Fife Hyland.
Hyland’s plans for the future are for the company to grow, and also to shake up the traditional world of PR: “It is the same old faces in the Scottish agency scene at the moment, and we’re ready to have a real go at them in 2003.”