1. Kev, you – meaning the business, obviously – turned 3 years old last week. Congratulations! How does it feel?
It feels amazing ... my biggest fear has always been getting bored at work and that certainly hasn’t happened in the last three years. Equally, with a dream portfolio, cool colleagues, clever clients and a great new office, everything has a lovely Instagram-style rose tint to it. Perhaps ask me again on Monday morning.
2. Having run the agency for 3 years now, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
That the work itself is king. Without good, creative, smart work, we’re all wasting our time. One will never win clients or recruit great talent without strong, well thought-out campaigns under the agency’s belt.
3. Looking back at the first 6 months to now, how do you think you’ve changed on both a professional and personal level?
I’d like to think I’ve grown up a lot … ish. I’m also a little less self-involved (ignoring www.instagram.com/kevinos22 of course). The happiness of my family, friends and Surnames, as well as the satisfaction of our clients, are paramount. Awwww.
4. What’s been the biggest celebration you’ve had as a team?
Oh dear. Christmas at my apartment was pretty unforgettable. Between alienating my neighbours with group karaoke, hazing everybody’s boyfriends and girlfriends and leaving my pad in total cheese-stained disarray, it’s still a touchy subject. Bloody good fun though!
5. Part of your success has come from how well you and Lotte work together. Which film characters most resemble your working relationship and why?
At the very beginning, we were a little like those Jurassic Park kids, Lex and Tim, with the T-Rex attacking the car. Muddy, screaming yet hopeful. We’re now a bit more like Bonnie and Clyde, just going around town, looking cool and generally killing it.
6. As a creative team, when you’re stuck for ideas, what do you do to inspire you?
Speak to people – friends, family, clients, strangers, experts, our brothers and sisters at Blue Rubicon and Open Road. We get the best stimulus from other people … and Google images.
7. There is never a day in our office where we don’t have afternoon snacks. What are your team’s favourite afternoon treats?
Pret A Manger’s ‘Cranberries in Coats’.
8. How do you think the consumer PR landscape has changed over the last 3 years?
Well, there are about 30+ brands that have experienced a never-before-seen standard in consumer PR, thanks to Surname & Surname. I think the opportunity to deliver great, creative work has grown in that time. An alchemy of braver briefs, the blurring between marketing disciplines and strong talent means that we’ll be seeing more PR-led consumer campaigns and an even bigger presence at places like the Cannes Lions.
9. I know your team are very sociable and go out regularly. Do you have any funny stories from nights out that you’re allowed to share?
Nah, we mostly just discuss Sartre and Nietzsche over a range of herbal teas.
10. I know they’re supposed to be a secret, but can you let us in on one of Surname & Surname’s birthday wishes?
An office puppy or kitten depending on which Surname you ask. Screw it, I’m the boss – a puppy.
11. Lots of independent creative consumer PR agencies have recently popped up in London. How do you plan to make sure Surname & Surname carry on standing out from the crowd?
Invest in the right talent. We ensure that our team is remunerated better than elsewhere and then trained and nurtured to be the best out there.
12. What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge facing the consumer PR industry over the next 3 years?
Those pesky digital natives … becoming a PR dinosaur is really very easy. It’s crucial that we can accept and interpret how this generation differs to those before them. It isn’t as simple as saying, “They’re all online”.
13. Finally, what will Surname & Surname look like in another 3 years?
Bigger and bolder perhaps, but our DNA won’t have changed. The work itself will always be king in 3, 30 or 300 years.