Guy Walsingham, founder and CEO of B2B tech agency Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, discusses why he started the agency, his fight against “factory PR” and the thinking behind the name.
Why did you found an agency focused on B2B tech PR?
I come from an in-house background in B2B tech and have experienced some of the opportunities and frustrations of working with PR agencies. I simply thought that we could do things better.
What’s the story behind the agency’s name?
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry is one of those tongue twisters taught in school. Our job is to make things that are difficult to articulate easy.
When it comes to B2B tech customer comms, how important is tone of voice?
Tone of voice and the way an organisation communicates underpins its brand and values. Too many businesses spend money on a visual brand or expensive advertising creative, only to let themselves down with the tone of voice of their social media, internal comms or customer service.
Long, corporate, jargon-filled content does nothing to engage customers or potential buyers. Comms isn’t just what your marketing department pushes out.
Why did you choose to expand internationally and what are the most important things to bear in mind when breaking into new markets?
Many of our clients are global names and technology is a global business. Our international presence – through either our own offices or our Convoy agency partner network – helps us to deliver often complex stories consistently worldwide.
Local goals, markets and cultures mean that campaign planning should include a local perspective that feeds up into the global strategy. This is often the piece that is missed by central corporate comms teams.
You’re on record as looking to fight back against “factory PR”. What is this and why is it something to be avoided?
B2B technology PR is a knowledge-based creative service. Often the need to deliver client work efficiently – or indeed too much work – drives agencies to load account teams with numerous projects at any one time.
We often interview account managers who are asked to deal with eight or 10 clients across different sectors in teams of 10 or more junior PRs. This factory approach results in high volume tactical work and cannot possibly deliver the strategic insights and advice that add value to a client’s communications.
So, what can be done to avoid factory PR?
The command and control, work ’em hard model of some PR agencies isn’t good for clients, employees or ultimately the agency itself. We believe in industry-focused teams, with no account manager managing more than five clients’ campaigns.
Each team has the time to get to grips with the nuances of a client’s strategy, market landscape and messaging, to build strong relationships and deliver informed, high-quality content and advice.
Finally, which upcoming tech launch are you most looking forward to?
The next one – the industry and our clients are constantly pushing the boundaries.