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Business focus: Target PR

PUBLISHED: 15:06 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:16 19 July 2017

Target PR

Target PR

Archant

Most companies are familiar with the 360-degree appraisal system, where employees from the office junior to the CEO are critically-analysed by colleagues. In a new series of features, we’ve applied the same principles to a company - this month, it’s Target PR

For the past 40 years. Cheltenham-based Target PR has been offering clients strategic advice and hands-on support to help buisnesses of all shapes and sizes achieve their goals.

From strategy and planning to content creation, relationship building to events and social media, they’ve got comms covered. Big-business clients span sectors including engineering, manufacturing, heating and plumbing, landscape architects and solicitors.

Here, three PR professionals from the director down talk leadership, prospects and work-life balance.

The Director

Sam KandiyaliSam Kandiyali

Name: Sam Kandiyali

Age: 43

Posistion: Director

How long have you worked at the company? Nearly 18 years

What’s your style of leadership?

This is something I’ve been particularly exploring over the last few years, thanks to QuoLux and their leadership development programmes, LEAD and GOLD. Having this practical support, together with the theory and insight from key leaders along with a fantastic peer-to-peer learning network has been immensely valuable in evolving my role as a leader. It’s also helped to uncover some of my own leadership attributes and highlighted those areas for development.

What motivates you?

Positive response. Whether that’s from journalists, clients, members of the team, potential recruits, or networking contacts – good feedback about our work, our business or our culture is always incredibly motivating.

I also get a real buzz from client relationships. We want to help our clients communicate brilliantly – we want them to succeed, so look to add value to their businesses and get immersed in helping them to achieve their business objectives. Those relationships where we are viewed as partners, rather than suppliers, are some of the most rewarding.

What keeps Target at the top of its game? And how do you drive its success?

This year Target celebrates its 40th anniversary. Testament to the agency’s longevity and success has been its ability to adapt and change as the industry has, continually developing its offering to suit our clients’ needs. This has been supported by a loyal and strong owner-director team committed to seeing the agency thrive. Innovation is key and remains a focus for our future. Continual review, critical thinking and creativity will help drive our success.

Explain the company’s vision...

We have the vision of becoming one of the most well-regarded PR agencies in the UK, recognised though our work, culture, and reputation.

Our work – communications – is what we do and aim to be brilliant at, thanks to a dedicated team of bright PR professionals. Our employees are our biggest assets, so creating the best culture is key to ensure that they are engaged and motivated. If we get these two things right then our reputation follows.

Any successes you’re particularly proud of?

It’s hard to pick out one over 18 years. We’ve been lucky enough to pick up industry or regional awards for pretty much every year I’ve been at Target, serving as great recognition for the work we have done. While our relationship with Specsavers has spanned more than 16 years, growing from a one store account to now more than 160, involving the development of various processes and systems to ensure its effective management and delivery.

What’s the most challenging thing about your role - or the company itself?

I think agency life brings with it its own challenges. Economic pressures, changes to strategy or client personnel means that clients often review communications budgets – which can then impact on us and make our own business planning more difficult.

The challenge to me and my role is of juggling. And of being disciplined in my allocation of time between client work, staff needs and business management.

How do you recruit new staff? How do you know when they’re right for the business?

Fortunately, we don’t have a high staff turnover. But when we do need to recruit we usually use our own social channels to reach out to potential employees in the first instance. We are also lucky in that we often get speculative enquiries through too – so there’s usually a pool of potential recruits who we can approach.

Culture is key to our success. So of course, getting the right person, in terms of fit for the team and business, is just as important as having the necessary skills and qualifications. But most of all we want to employ people who really want to work with us.

If you could give me one top tip for business success, what would it be?

Take an honest look in the mirror. How are you / your business really perceived? What do your customers really value? All too often it’s easy to assume rather than really question or gain feedback on the reality. And that doesn’t mean to say it’s going to be negative, but without questioning you’ll never really know.

What does the future hold?

We want to keep helping our clients to communicate brilliantly, and help more do just the same. To do this we’re aiming to grow, develop and support our great team – and to offer them a great place to work. Here’s to the next 40 years.

Mid-Level

Name: Rachel Meagher

Age: 38

Rachel MeagherRachel Meagher

Posistion: Associate Director

How long have worked at the company? 12 years

Briefly tell me about your job role and how many people you’re responsible for?

I lead activity for most of our B2B clients which includes some of the most dynamic and innovative manufacturing businesses in Gloucestershire. This includes everything from running strategy and messaging workshops, planning media relations activities with the team, meeting with key media contacts, and attending trade shows and events. My role is making sure that we’re on top of all opportunities for clients and that what we deliver is of the highest standard. I’m also involved in developing new business opportunities, whether that’s growing existing clients or spotting potential in other businesses that we think we could help.

What attracted you to work at Target? And what keeps you there?

I moved back to Cheltenham after working in London and when I researched local agencies, Target impressed me with the work they were doing for huge brands like Specsavers. The business has changed a lot and what keeps me here is the breadth and diversity of what we do, not only are we still working with household names, we also work with smaller businesses doing really exciting things. And I’ve been able to channel my skills into B2B comms.

What are the best things about working here?

Probably the team and the culture, right now we’ve got the perfect blend. Our board directors have also put time and effort into developing their leadership skills and that’s had a really positive impact on how we operate, how we work with each other and with clients, and what we deliver.

What opportunities have you been given in your role?

I report to our CEO, Sarah Bryars, so I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot from her. I’m also part of team that has created some brilliant award-winning campaigns and helped to shape our clients’ communications so that they contribute towards the growth of their businesses.

What changes have you seen since you started here?

I started at Target in 2005 as a Senior Account Executive and we were an integrated full-service agency but then the 2008 recession hit and brought changes for us and our clients, just like everyone else. Since then we’ve focused on PR but this has now evolved into a much broader spectrum of communications. I’ve also risen through the ranks so my role has changed and now I’m leading a lot of what we deliver for clients.

What motivates you?

Something as simple as seeing coverage we’ve achieved for our clients - it might be an old PR cliché but I still get a kick out of seeing something we’ve taken time and effort to craft when it comes out in print.

Or on a bigger scale, seeing the positive impact that great communications can have on a business – we’ve worked with ADEY for around seven years now and they’ve achieved amazing things.

What does the future hold for you?

It’s our 40th anniversary so it would be nice to think the future holds many more years of growth and success for the business. I hope I’ll play a key role in delivering that success.

Employee

Madeleine GayferMadeleine Gayfer

Name: Madeleine Gayfer

Age: 26

Posistion: Account Executive

How long have you worked at the company? A year and a half

Briefly tell me about your job role.

I am responsible for the execution of activity for four client accounts, ranging from magnetic filters to equestrian products. My role includes a huge amount of writing – whether it’s press releases, features, blogs, web stories, case studies or product pieces – and building up relationships with journalists to sell these in and to promote my clients. I manage social media across two of my accounts, which includes planning and implementing both organic and paid-for campaigns. My other responsibilities include media monitoring and evaluating activity, providing support at industry events and shows, organising photocalls and –playing a role in networking and business development.

What attracted you to work at Target? And what keeps you there?

Being relatively new to Cheltenham and the PR industry, I was looking to expand my horizons with an agency that would throw me in at the deep end. I was initially attracted to Target by the huge portfolio of experience they have working with businesses in a variety of different sectors; I felt that I would gain some valuable opportunities within a challenging environment. I noticed that many of the senior management team had been working for Target for several years, which signalled that there was a fantastic working environment and the opportunity for progression.

What would you say are the best things about working here?

There is a real emphasis on mutual support and respect within the team, which nurtures great relationships and the confidence to put forward ideas and suggestions at any level. There is also a genuine drive to achieve noticeable results for clients, meaning that there is a strong work ethic. I have been really encouraged by my directors to pursue training and personal development opportunities in areas of interest, which has meant that I can not only boost my own CV, but also pass on knowledge to improve activity on my client accounts.

What opportunities have you been given?

During appraisals, you are encouraged to set a series of personal and professional goals to plan and track your development. I have been given several opportunities through this to help me towards my professional ambitions, including the chance to create and assist with a new business pitch and significant training opportunities to develop new skills.

What changes have you seen since you started here?

Target is definitely a forward-thinking and ambitious agency, which means that the business is constantly moving and growing. Since I started, there have been changes in Target’s own marketing agenda, which I supported through the redesign of the website and kickstarting Target’s social media presence.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by the feeling of success and appreciation for a job well done. I love the feeling of creating something that a client loves, and that achieves great results. Working with directors that I have a huge amount of respect for, I get a real sense of achievement when I am awarded increased responsibility or opportunities that show they have faith in my abilities. I’m sure that my colleagues would also say I have a slight competitive edge too...

Tell me about the relationship between staff and management...

The friendly and considerate culture at Target means that the whole team gels well together, and you feel that you can approach any of the management team with ideas or issues. Despite being friendly with each other, there is still a level of professionalism maintained which means that the management team maintains a clear directive and supportive role.

What does the future hold for you?

I’m working towards the next step in my career, which means taking on greater responsibility in the management of my client accounts. I would like to gain some more formalized training in communications.

Read May’s Business Focus with Allcooper here!

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