Sophie Mackintosh, Account Assistant at London PR agency TopLine Communications, highlights some famous people who started their careers in PR.
PR offers such a wide-ranging and varied career path, it’s not surprising that an interesting assortment of famous figures have started out in PR, and for me this proves once and for all that it’s one of the most versatile careers around. So here’s a closer look at some unexpected figures who started out in PR, one or two of whom might surprise you...
Proving that PR is timeless, this 18th Century duchess used her influence and campaigning skills to support Charles James Fox, a Whig politician. She did this through press contacts, through the endorsement of her famous friends, and lobbying. However, political campaigning for a woman in her era wasn’t always straightforward – she was sometimes insulted and mocked for it, with some establishments even refusing to let her leave until she had exchanged kisses in return for votes. Not something that tends to happen in PR campaigns nowadays, as much as some TopLine staff believe it’s a technique that should make a comeback.
You’d think that Pearson, one of the world’s biggest publishers, would be headed by an old-school publishing giant. However, the new CEO of Pearson has a background in political comms rather than the more traditional editorial-based roles that most people associate with publishing. Some PR publications even hailed this move as a step towards getting more respect for PR, which is often looked down upon in large corporations.
Before he became one of the world’s most influential figures in house music, David Guetta could be found working in PR during his teens, helping promote Paris’s electronic music scene – one he would later go on to dominate with his own tunes. PR helped him learn what people liked, how to promote himself and his music, and how to interact with the press, which turned out to all be valuable steps in furthering his music career.
What’s scarier than a Tory? A Tory who used to work in PR. Yes, before entering the political world David Cameron was director of Corporate Affairs for Carlton, a fairly plush job that famously saw him netting the equivalent of £130,000 a year. Since then he’s gone on to use the techniques learnt in the PR world to reinvent himself and his party – according to sources he wasn’t always the “progressive” Tory he likes to portray himself as. At least after working for Philip Green, the infamously volatile retail tycoon, coping with the country’s PR must feel easy in comparison.
Good to know that PR’s not the bottom of the barrel. Why not read interviews with some of the industry’s top leaders in our PR leadership series?
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The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.
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