PRmoment Podcast

Tony Langham on the PRmoment podcast

February 08, 2019
PRmoment Podcast
Tony Langham on the PRmoment podcast
Chapters
PRmoment Podcast
Tony Langham on the PRmoment podcast
Feb 08, 2019
PRmoment
Tony Langham on the PRmoment podcast
Show Notes

This week on the PRmoment Podcast, in the latest of our life stories series, I’m pleased to welcome co-founder and CEO of Lansons Tony Langham.

Lansons is one of the UK's largest independent PR consultancies - with a fee income of circa £14m.

The business was founded in 1989 by Tony and his now wife Clare Parsons. Lansons has about 110 employees.

Here is a summary of what Tony and I discussed:

[00:00:42] Tony tells us about the series of events that led to him and Clare launching Lansons.

[00:02:56] Why, despite maxing out his and Clare Parson's new AMEX cards when they launched Lansons, they didn't really see it as a risk.

[00:03:55] Tony tells us what it's like running a business with his wife for nearly 30 years.

[00:06:47] Tony talks us through Lansons' ownership structure - where half of the business is owned by employees and approximately 50 percent is owned by Clare and Tony. 

[00:07:28] and [00:05:23] Why Lansons tends to follow a business cycle of investment where profits flatten for a while before it goes off on another growth spurt.

[00:08:25] How, driven by uncertainty around Brexit, Lansons is hedging its bets by looking at international expansion. 

[00:11:11] The process of how Lansons has "themes" of investments it would like to make and then attempts to recruit the right person or people for the opportunity.

[00:11:55] Why the need for consolidation in the agency market is an opportunity for independent cash rich firms like Lansons. 

[00:14:56] How does entrepreneurship manifest itself within an agency environment?

[00:15:56] Why every single entrepreneurial decision has an upside and a downside.

[00:18:33] Tony talks us through the investment decisions he made for Hope&Glory and Opinium Research, the combined revenues of which are now almost the same and Lansons. 

[00:23:28] Why Tony believes the British are too cautious investors in business and why he worries that we're getting more cautious.

[00:24:36] Tony tells us why he decided to write a book on Reputation Management: The Future of Corporate Communications and Public Relations. 

[00:26:20] Why Tony believes the PR sector is not defining its contribution to business in the right way.

[00:29:22] How writing a book meant he only got four and a half hours sleep for six months.

[00:33:49] How Tony sees the PR agency model changing.

[00:38:12] Why holding companies like WPP and Omnicom seem to be accepting that agency brand names aren't that important.

[00:39:20] Whether an agency’s customers buy its services because they trust the brand or because of the quality of its people.

[00:40:19] Tony identifies which agencies he believes are on the up. 

[00:42:04] Why Tony believes that "if the (PR) industry has a danger, it is that it's running itself at too lower margin and it's competing too aggressively." 

[00:42:41] How the differential in remuneration between management consultancies and investment banks on the one side and PR firms on the other has increased during Tony's career - and why he worries this will impact the future talent the sector is able to attract.    



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