This month, our non-exec chairman Stephen Waddington goes under the Admiral spotlight to give us some insight into his world as a PR moderniser and recent author of Brand Anarchy, his new book.
What do you do to relax?
I split my time between London and the North East and spend all my spare time at home in the Coquet Valley. Relaxation for me is pottering around the garden and wandering around Northumberland discovering new places.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
It’s far easier to ask for forgiveness than permission and that a smile will see you through most tricky situations. It was given to me by my Grandfather who has the mind of a wise 30-year old and heart of a three-year-old. He’s 101 so its guidance that has clearly seen him right.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
Raising and nurturing my children, and encouraging them to develop confidence, independence and explore their passions.
Who are your heroes, both in and out of business?
Tim Smit, creator, The Eden Project
Monty Don, horticulturalist and writer
Sir Ken Robinson, thinker and educationalist
What made you want to work in the PR industry?
I crossed the fence from journalism after recognising that the people pitching me stories about their clients were paid almost twice what I was getting to write about their clients. But I miss journalism everyday which is almost certainly why I write so much.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Starting my own PR firm in 1998 with one of my best friends and then selling it to a large marketing services group in 2007.
What is your key tool in any PR campaign?
Can I have two please? Google for its data insight, real time news and internet search, and Twitter for insight into the conversations that are taking place in different markets and as an early warning system.
What is the best thing about social media?
It completely democratises communication. Anyone can create and share content with a global audience and become a stakeholder in any issue that they chose for good or bad.
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
The variety of the work, the opportunity to work with so many smart people, and the opportunity to make a very real difference to our clients’ businesses.
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – Nelson Mandela.