Rory Brown, Account Manager
How long have you been at Weber Shandwick and what do you do?
I’ve been with Weber Shandwick in Edinburgh since July 2015, working within the PR team across a mix of corporate, consumer and digital accounts.
How did you end up working at Weber Shandwick?
When I graduated with a degree in social anthropology in 2013 I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I did know I’d always liked reading, writing and keeping up with current affairs.
After Googling my career prospects for a few weeks, I got my break at Indigo PR in Leith, joining as an account assistant. Working with some great people and clients, it was there where I cut my teeth working within its PR and Public Affairs teams. Having heard only good things about working at Weber Shandwick, I jumped at the chance to apply when a position came up at 9 York Place.
What do you enjoy most about working at Weber Shandwick?
Working in the heart of the city is a big bonus. The sense of community in the Edinburgh office, and the camaraderie with our colleagues across Scotland is really invaluable when it comes to working and having fun.
What would you say has been your career highlight?
Quite early into my time at Weber Shandwick I was given the opportunity to lead a press trip in the Netherlands on my own, accompanying German and French journalists writing about modern architecture and modified wood. Engaging with international media, building relationships with clients, and getting out of the office to see a beautiful part of the world was really a treat and a great learning experience.
I also got to meet a few players from the Netherlands national football team, who were coincidentally staying in the same hotel!
What would you say is the most enjoyable aspect of working in public relations/communications in Scotland?
Broadly speaking, agency consultants in Scotland aren’t exclusively pigeon-holed into specialisms like tech, health, corporate or fashion. This means every day, week and month is a real mix. Not only does it keep you on your toes, it also means you’re always learning.
Away from work, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Weekdays it’s usually football, running or cycling.
On Saturdays and Sundays I like to mix it up a bit. These days my big thing is following my girlfriend around IKEA for a few hours. When it’s all over I get a reward of meatballs and an ice cream to remind myself it’s actually the weekend.
Who is the one person (in this industry or outside) you admire the most for how they communicate?
Laura Kuenssberg has stepped things up a notch in the way politics is covered by the BBC. Utterly respected by politicians and audiences alike, she cuts through the fluff, delivers the facts and knows how to tell the story. In an increasingly fraught and complex political landscape, that’s no mean feat.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
I’ve got a pointed right ear, which I’m told makes me look like an elf.
What do you consider to be your guilty pleasure(s)?
Eating breakfast foods for lunch or dinner.
Who is your must read columnist / publication?
Giles Coren in the Times is always a good read. His pitiless take on current affairs and amusing observations on British people are often entangled or segued into restaurant reviews which I think is just great.
Who is your must follow on social media?
Accidental Partridge on Twitter (@AccidentalP) – for a steady stream of the world’s best unintentional Alan Partridge moments. Back of the net!
What was the last book you read and last film/boxset watched?
The last book was Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, a micro-insight of Nazi Berlin and one couple’s daring defiance of the Nazis – a proper cat and mouse thriller written in 1947 and based on a true story. Film was The Conformist – a beautifully shot Italian political drama from the 70s.
What was the last live event you attended?
A school show of the musical Barnum at Broxburn Academy where my mum’s a teacher.
What would be your advice to someone entering the industry?
PR moves fast. So ask lots of questions and learn from the people working around you to really develop your skill set. Speak your mind in meetings, be open to working on projects outside of your comfort zone, and take your chances as you get them.
And finally, if you could improve one thing about PR in Scotland, what would it be?
Consumption of digital media has been a revelation for the industry in Scotland, but the fallout felt by traditional media has probably hindered media relations.
I understand that meeting for lunch or catching up off the record with journalists might have been the norm 10 years ago, but relationships between PR people and journalists seems to have become more transactional, at least since I’ve worked in PR.
I think more could be done to properly reignite relationships between the two, especially now when both camps are still transitioning between old and new media.