Nick Hanlon, Account Manager
How long have you been at Weber Shandwick and what do you do?
I joined Weber Shandwick at the turn of 2014 as a senior account executive and became account manager last summer.
In that time, I’ve worked on a wide variety of clients including Scottish Enterprise, Robertson, JLL, Glenmorangie, Glasgow Hospital Children’s Charity and Barratt Homes. A nice mix of corporate, consumer and third sector!
How did you end up working at Weber Shandwick?
Once I gave up my paper round (I do not miss cycling the wintry streets of Glasgow at 6am with thirty copies of The Herald slung over my shoulder) I joined the Daily Record as a copy boy. At the tender age of 16, it was a real eye opener. Making coffee and buying cigarettes for the editor was fine, but some of the errands were a little stranger – pretending to be a ned with a knife for one of the snappers and returning adult toys to Ann Summers stick in the mind!
A few years later (and after a failed attempt at studying politics at uni), I volunteered to be part of the Record’s fledgling digital efforts, and worked with a small team on building up the website. At the same time, I went back to education and got a degree in multimedia journalism from Glasgow Caledonian.
I was looking for a change of scenery and PR always appealed, so when I saw Weber Shandwick were looking for staff I decided to chance my arm and apply – thankfully they were feeling generous because they didn’t turn me away!
What do you enjoy most about working at Weber Shandwick?
It’s cliché, but the people. We have three offices in Scotland and there’s a real push to bring everyone together and there’s plenty of cross-office clients too.
The night outs are legendary (the morning afters less so) and of course, the annual away day is a real highlight. So far, I’ve gone to Aviemore and Belfast and I actually remember the bulk of it!
What would you say has been your career highlight?
One of my clients is Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity (formerly Yorkhill Children’s Charity). Last year, I took a tour of the new hospital with a young leukaemia survivor and his extended family and it was a privilege to spend time with them.
They were so thankful to the charity for the support they’d given, and it really hammered home how the work we can do can make a genuine difference.
What would you say is the most enjoyable aspect of working in public relations/communications in Scotland?
There’s such a variety to the media landscape in Scotland – too many newspapers to count, strong national broadcasters and a growing (and thriving) online community. Despite that, it never feels too big. In fact, it often feels like everyone working in comms knows everyone. It’s more two degrees of separation than six!
Away from work, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I vary between being the world’s greatest couch potato and an active bootcamper. Thankfully, I’m currently the latter and actually enjoy getting up early on a Saturday morning to hit the track for a sprints session.
I’m also known as the office foodie (by sheer consumption, not necessarily any culinary knowledge). Other than that, I can usually be found on Twitter debating all things Liverpool FC.
— Nick Hanlon (@nickhanlon) February 9, 2016
Who is the one person you admire the most for how they communicate?
Jürgen Klopp. Yes, I’m biased, but the man (the legend!) is a natural born communicator. He holds your attention, doesn’t speak in clichés and gets his point across quickly (and not even in his first language). I think even non-football fans would struggle to fail to be entertained when watching him.
Tell us something not many people know about you
I was once a contestant on BBC’s Ask the Family – not the one everyone watched in the 80s, but the short-lived version hosted by Alan Titchmarsh. Safe to say, it was not a success. My aunt, uncle, cousin and I were demolished in the first round. I still have the consolatory mug. My main memory of it is having an amazing meal in London’s Chinatown the night before filming…
What do you consider to be your guilty pleasure(s)?
It’s a strange one, but I love nothing more than waking up in the middle of the night and realising I don’t need to be up for a few hours. I used to set an alarm to make sure it happened, but now I’m much savvier – I just down a pint of water before bed.
Who is your must read columnist/publication?
I’ve been obsessed with American politics since I first watched The West Wing, so I’m closely following the election. Washington Post’s The Fix is a must read for anyone wanting to find out the latest outrageous thing Donald Trump has said and why it probably won’t hurt him! Closer to home, David Conn in the Guardian deserves a mention for his forensic work on the Hillsborough inquest.
What was the last book you read and last film/boxset watched?
I’m just back from a week in the sun, so I tore through a few books. Most were beach reads – Jack Reacher is an ever-present – but I really enjoyed Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. Frightening and entertaining in equal measure.
The last film I watched was Captain America: Civil War. As a comic book geek, there was little doubt I’d love it and seeing Spidey back on the big screen and done right was fantastic. TV wise, I’ve been bingeing Better Call Saul and Daredevil on Netflix – two of the most accomplished, ambitious shows around. What was the last live event you attended?
Rob Delaney doing stand-up at The Kings. He exceeded expectations, which were already sky high after watching him in the absolutely brilliant Catastrophe on Channel 4.
What would be your advice to someone entering the industry?
Come in with a wide range of skills at your disposal. You don’t have to know how to shoot and edit video, or be a dab hand with Google Analytics, but it’ll definitely give you a much better shot at landing that dream job.
And finally, if you could improve one thing about PR in Scotland, what would it be?
More efforts to bring an already close community closer. There’s a few organisations doing good work to up skill sets and increase networking opportunities, but I think there’s an appetite for more.
LinkedIn: Nick Hanlon