Answering the #FridayFive today is Jonjo Murphy, Account Director at Lionbridge PR.
Tell us a bit about your job?
I’m an Account Director at Lionbridge PR. We’re a full service communications agency with clients in a range of sectors, including heritage, FMCG [fast-moving consumer goods], telecoms and healthcare. As an Account Director, I’m the day-to-day lead on a number of accounts, responsible for the strategy and delivery of campaigns and our client relationships. I also directly manage some of our team and have responsibilities for business development and internal culture and policy at the agency. We’re a boutique agency, so it’s a much more varied role than you’d find at this level in a bigger agency, which I really enjoy.
What are the key ingredients for success?
I suppose that depends on how you define success, but for me, ingredients that I think help bring you success in any area of your life are proactivity, honesty, a willingness to listen and an ability to step back and look at a situation holistically. To my mind, the most successful people I’ve met and worked with have those four attributes, and I try to exhibit them too (most of the time, at least).
Could you describe a normal day?
It’s a bit of a cliché, but there isn’t really such a thing as a ‘normal’ day in PR. I spent one day this week drafting a statement for a client facing an external crisis, writing a profile for a children’s book character we’re developing as part of a wider campaign, speaking to a new business prospect about a product they’re about to launch that they need PR support for, and facilitating an interview between the founder of one of the brands we represent and a journalist. The variety is one of the aspects of the job I enjoy most.
For those trying to break into the industry, could you explain how you got to where you are today?
I fell into PR initially. I’d done a degree in American Studies at Sussex University and also spent a year studying in California at Berkeley, and while I’d got a sense of what I liked and was interested in, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do vocationally. I went to my first interview at a PR agency without a clear idea about what PR was. My vague understanding was that PR involved media relations, copywriting and pitching campaign ideas, and I thought my skills lent themselves to that. Fortunately, the agency founder looked past my general naivety and gave me a job. I quickly realised that while PR did cover off those things, it’s so much broader than that and often, the skillset required for one client can be entirely different from that required for another.
Particularly in agency life, I think so much of your success comes down to whether you have an ability to get things done for your clients, make their lives easier, and add value for them that they can’t always access internally. If you can do that, you’ll be onto a winner.
What are you reading, watching and listening to now?
My girlfriend and I have just had our second baby, so I don’t have as much time as I’d like for reading, watching and listening at the moment! For that reason, what I am currently reading is a book called French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman. As well as having some useful practical tips, it’s a really amusing study of the differences between Anglophone parents and French parents, which seems to be mainly that English and American parents are far more neurotic than French parents.
I’ve just watched The Sixth Commandment, a four-part BBC true crime drama. It was excellent. The only non-musical thing I listen to consistently is Desert Island Discs. It’s always a relaxing, interesting listen amid the general chaos of having two little kids.