60 Seconds with GK Strategy’s Robin Grainger

GK Strategy’s co-founding director, Robin Grainger, discusses the agency’s success, surviving in the current media environment and why you should never say “no comment”.

Robin Grainger

GK Strategy picked up the Specialist Adviser of the Year award at the Private Equity Awards recently, what’s been the secret to the agency’s success?

Always being open-minded to how products and services can be improved and being self-critical. We always try to be the first to the market with new services – this started with political due diligence and has continued with digital, ESG and cyber diligence.

GK says it is “equipped to meet the communication challenges of tomorrow”. What are some of the current challenges in corporate comms and how do you aim to combat them?

The way people consume media is ever-changing – it is more democratic and pluralised than ever before and people move freely between the forms of media and information they take in. Understanding what information influences people, where they are congregating to consume it and what methods are working to get ideas heard is our challenge.

Our commitment to clients, has and always will be, that we will invest in expertise, technology and training. The most recent example of this has been our investment in a digital and data insights team and sister agency onefourzero. It has made us think differently about how tackle problems.

GK has seen business growth year after year, how have you remained strong in a tricky economic climate?

We are not scared to diversify the services we offer and are always searching for new markets to sell them in to.

Our client retention level is really high and, thankfully, they want to work on new projects with us all the time! We listen to their needs and respond to them by developing innovative products they can’t find elsewhere.

We have only ever known a “tricky economic climate” and so have been obsessed with ensuring the work GK does becomes a critical part of a business’ commercial strategy,  directly benefiting their bottom lines.

In terms of culture, our business was started in a recession  and whilst nobody is completely downturn-proof this has instilled a certain resilience in how we tackle hard times when they come around. We are good at utilising our time if quiet periods take hold so we are ready to go again when demand starts to grow again.

How has PR changed since you began the agency with your partner Luke Kennedy eight years ago?

I think every area of communications was very narrow in its focus – decisions were made  in silos. We started as public affairs agency and now this is just one weapon within a much wider corporate communications armoury.

What are your clients currently asking you about/for advice on?

It is unsurprising that the outcome of the general election and Brexit negotiations are front of mind for clients at the moment – several prevailing issues dominate – workforce, pensions, the funding of the NHS and social care to name but a few.

What the best PR advice you’ve received?

Don’t ever say “no comment” and focus on building trust.

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