Behind the Headlines with Laura Oliphant

Posted by: Laura Oliphant

Stand Agency’s MD, Laura Oliphant, was recently interviewed by Gorkana on cutting her teeth in charity PR, why research is so important to ensure good judgement calls and plans for unaided yoga headstands by this time next year.

The interview is available on Gorkana’s website here.

Before I reach the office in the morning, I’ve already…
Checked my emails, had a coffee and, if it’s a school day, probably searched for some lost homework and signed a permission slip.

You’ll mostly find emails about…in my inbox.
Client work. However big and busy we get I like to stay involved in accounts. It keeps me in touch with the business and means I can support teams with ideas and practical support. It’s also something our clients really value. The rest of my inbox will be a combination of general Stand business, news alerts, celebrity news, buzz feed and the odd inspirational quote to keep me positive for the day!

I know I’ve had a good day if…
I can feel the energy and excitement in the office. Some days it feels like it is bursting out the walls and it is something that everyone comments on when they visit either of our offices. A really good day ends with Champagne in the office because that means we’ve had a new business win.

My first job was…
As a press officer for an RSPCA charity run from John O’Groats to Lands’ End. It was a real sink or swim opportunity because I had limited experience. I (just) kept afloat and now I always try and give our more junior staff a little taste of ‘the fear’ so they can see that they can do more than they think they can.

I can tell a campaign is succeeding when…
I see and hear it everywhere. From the newspaper review in the morning to my Twitter feed. Another test is if non-PR friends tell me about it. However, success is ultimately when we have exceeded client expectations and what we have achieved links back to a business measure.

I eat….when nobody is watching.
Nut butter from the jar.

The first time I pitched to a journalist…
Was with a review of a Housemartins concert I had written for the university newspaper in my first few weeks there. They took it, so the pitch and the content must have been OK.

The worst thing anyone has said to me is…
That I was emotionally fragile at work. It was sexist, inappropriately delivered and just plain wrong.

The last book I read was…
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. In the past few years I pick up my book recommendations from people I follow on social media. I take a screen shot and load it on my kindle and months later get round to reading it. It means every book is a surprise.

I’ve never really understood why…
People make judgments without doing their research. Whether that’s on what kind of person you are, the way you work as an agency, or what you are going to say before you even open your mouth. We respect everyone’s views at Stand and our assumptions are based on good old research.

If I could go back and talk to my 10-year-old self, I’d say…
Don’t give yourself such a hard time for the next 20 years. Listen more to yourself than other people and never lose your belief that anything is possible. I have a great family that encouraged me and I try and do the same for others.

This time next year, I’ll be…
Wondering where the past year has gone. I know you can’t stop time but you can learn to make the most of it which is what I try and do all the time. I will also be doing unaided yoga headstands!

 

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