This is the second interview in our “Interview with a Founder” series. Enjoy!
I’m Holly Pither, MD and founder of Tribe PR. We’re an independent communications agency based in Oxfordshire, specialising in earned media to help organisations of all sizes increase their brand advocacy.
We work in partnership with both B2B and B2C brands, earning them a reputation, helping them understand their audience and deepening their media relationships.
We’re a new player in the PR agency world, though I have over a decade of experience working in PR personally. We have been in business since April 2019.
I guess I have always grown up knowing I wanted to be my own boss. I come from entrepreneurial parents who always ran their own business, so in many ways I just feel like I was meant to do this.
When I was a child, I spent many a dinner time listening to my mum and dad talk about company financials, sales, staffing and so forth. From then on it was always something I aspired to do.
In terms of where the idea came from, well I believe that increasingly these days the gap between B2B and B2C communications is narrowing. This means that instead of focusing on one discipline or the other, we need to help clients reach a far more essential audience; that of people. And people don’t just buy brands, they join them to be part of their tribe.
This means that good brand communication is about engaging directly with people, understanding what makes them tick, responding to their needs and turning them into fans. These people then become brand advocates and tell the brand’s story for them. Tribe PR is therefore all about helping brands start movements, creating brand advocates and great storytelling.
I guess I had wanted to start my own business for a while, but just needed the confidence to make the jump. Moving from idea to execution wasn’t all that difficult. I had already built up my contact book and had three clients from day one, so I knew I was covered financially.
From there it was more about getting used to understanding the finances, growing the business and getting my head around all the other things you need to do like creating a website, doing my own branding, ensuring I had all the right tools I needed to do my job etc.
My only strategy is being passionate about what I do and being driven to do great work for my clients. Clients have said my passion is infectious and, to me, there is no better compliment.
Nope not yet. To be honest, I’m just loving every minute of what I’m doing right now.
I couldn’t be without the project management tool Trello. It’s the way we run all our client accounts and keep a track of everything we are working on. PR is fast paced so a simple and intuitive tool like this is brilliant.
I regularly use the HMRC website to keep a track of what I need to do with regards to PAYE, VAT etc. I have a great accountant, but feel it’s really important I stay on top of the changing landscape too. The financials are certainly not my favourite aspect of the business (I am a creative ultimately and this doesn’t come naturally to me) but I feel it’s essential to understand as much as possible.
I would definitely recommend Mumboss by Vicki Psarias (Founder of Honest Mum). It’s an inspiring read and really gave me the motivation to go it alone. I love it.
As a marketeer I am not a massive fan of newsletters to be honest and prefer a much more personal approach. I always find newsletters are far too salesy (broadcasting about how great that brand is) rather than talking about issues that resonate directly with the customer.
That’s a massive generalisation of course, but I have read far too many like that and I have been put off.
I would recommend that – even when setting up – people avoid working for free. I think it’s important to value your services properly, and as such, I have tried to avoid contra-deals and reducing my costs to try and get my foot in the door of a new industry. Start as you mean to go on and people will take you more seriously.
Gosh there are so many to pick from, but one of my favourites is from Sheryl Sandberg who says:
If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.
That’s basically how I have always conducted myself.