I’m Holly Pither, MD and founder of Tribe PR, mum blogger at PitterPatterPither, novice mummy to baby Amelia (two years old and a diva) and doting wife to a police inspector.
Tribe PR is an independent communications agency, 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 reputation, helping them understand their audience and deepening their media relationships.
What inspired you to start Tribe PR?
I’ve worked both in-house at HSBC and agency side for over 10 years now and it just felt like the right time to start my own agency. I had thought about starting my own business for years, but never quite had the courage to go it alone or felt like I was ready. In addition to that, being my own boss and working more flexibly made more sense personally too, given my husband’s role and his shift work. I felt I was losing about two hours a day just doing my commute and was desperate to get that time back and spend it with my baby daughter. Plus, it meant I would have more headspace to be there for her rather than worrying about office politics at a bigger agency. So, as 2018 drew to a close, I just knew I wanted to start 2019 doing what I loved but doing it on my own terms. Tribe PR was therefore born and I haven’t looked back!
Why the name Tribe?
Well 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 help our clients reach a far more essential audience; that of people. And people don’t just buy brands, they join them. 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. Hence the word tribe!
Plus it describes how we work too – if we can’t do something here at the agency, then I will look to my tribe or likeminded people to help. This means we can do everything from video to website design but all with one brand guardian delivering one set look and feel. The other advantage of working within a tribe is that it allows you to make the right connections and be surrounded with like-minded people. Creating a conversation with other entrepreneurial minds helps to refine ideas, inspire creativity and ensures greater knowledge.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
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.
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
Doing things on your own terms. I don’t have to ask permission, apologise if I’m late, worry about doing a gym workout midmorning or double check it’s ok to leave early to collect my daughter. I do things on my own terms and I love that feeling of freedom. The other thing is the fact I get to (to an extent anyway) work with the right kind of clients. Clients who I am passionate about, clients who want to make a difference, clients who want to grow their brand fans and don’t just want PR for PRs sake. This is a fantastic aspect of the job as it means we all put in double the effort and my clients treat me like a partner, rather than a mere supplier. I can’t tell you how good it feels. Ultimately, I probably work harder than ever before with Tribe PR, but the work feels so rewarding and I’m so passionate about my clients, it makes everything worthwhile.
Describe your typical day?
This is a hard one. My day changes from one day to the next. One day I could be drafting corporate copy at my desk on artificial intelligence for a management consulting client and the next I could be tasting CBD beer (my fab new client) in a brewery in London. I look after such a range of clients from corporate organisations across to some really exciting consumer clients, so there is a never a dull day.
Tell us three business tips that you would give to yourself if you were first starting out?
Get an accountant as early as possible. Before I started up my own business, I was most concerned about the financial side of things. I was worried about learning and fully comprehending all the financial jargon from ‘dividends’ to ‘net profit’ to ‘depreciation’ and being able to talk about them with any kind of certainty. But in actual fact the financials are just a very small part of running a business and like all things, the moment you start doing it, the moment it becomes a whole lot less intimidating. With a good accountant from day one, you need not feel out of your depth.
Don’t work 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.
Be human. I have always tried to be honest about who I am and how I work. I am not a machine who will work 24/7. I have a baby. I have a life. This means if I need to take some time off because my daughter is sick or want to be there with her to help her go through a new milestone I will be. I’m honest about this with my clients and I know they appreciate that.
What would be your plan B?
That’s a hard one, because I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I just love what I do so much.