Chris Grabowski, client services director at Stir, talks about a decade in PR, his favourite Stir campaign – and where you’ll find him on a Friday night.
Stir recently unveiled a new brand identity. What has changed, and what’s the philosophy this new identity aims to convey?
The philosophy has not changed: as an agency, Stir has always been focused on creating campaigns built on real insights that have a tangible impact for clients.
The new “Enquire to Enrich” proposition is essentially an evolution of this – a way of bringing this to life in the most concise way we could.
In line with the new proposition, it felt like the right time to review the brand identity, bringing in a new look, feel and lock-up that was in keeping with this and reflected the agency now and the work we are producing.
You recently moved to Stir from PrettyGreen, where you were creative director. How are you settling into the new role and team?
It is definitely a broader role. But the fundamental, central part is the same – it’s always about solving problems. As creative director, this obviously stemmed from creative challenges. But as client services director, the challenges can come from anywhere.
I love having a more hands-on role, across a broader range of challenges. As creative director, your involvement in the day-to-day is often limited, as you roll from one brief to the next, meaning you miss out on some of the most exciting parts of agency life.
You’ve worked in PR for more than a decade. In your opinion, what’s the biggest change the industry has undergone in that time?
Thankfully, I think it’s the focus on creativity and understanding what really makes a good idea. You are seeing agencies investing in planning and strategy directors and putting more and more spend behind creative time and developing the creative and strategic understanding of the agency team. Well, that is what we are doing.
The role of client services director has changed in that time, too. How important would you say it is to have an in-depth understanding of your client’s businesses and the challenges they face?
I think whatever role you do, it is absolutely paramount that you “get” the brands you work on. The trick is how you use that knowledge to pick the right brand elements to craft great activations.
What’s your favourite Stir campaign, and why?
I love them all, obviously, but the work the guys did for Woodford Reserve, ‘Refashioning the Old Fashioned’, was one of the many things that attracted me to Stir. The simplicity of the idea and the impact it had for what was a relatively unknown brand demonstrates exactly what good PR is.
It’s Friday night and you’re going for a drink in Shoreditch with your colleagues. Which bar do you choose and why?
The Owl – does anyone go anywhere else? And, it’s the nearest. On occasion, we go to the Well & Bucket for the massive G&Ts.