This week, on the PRmoment Podcast, I’m pleased to welcome founder and managing director of W Communications Warren Johnson.
Warren established W nine years ago and the business now has a fee income of circa £7.5m. W is the largest of a group of independent consumer agencies in London which are leading PR’s fight for creative work.
Here is a flavour of what Warren and I discussed:
Why he once left a career in PR to be become a builder
Why if you’ve worked for someone for 10 years – you don’t really know what you know.
Why he didn’t want to start W Communications
Why Warren fell out of love with PR – first-time round
Why Warren is a better senior PR person than a junior PR person
Why Warren is ultimately driven by commercial success, not the quality of work
Why people who confuse PR as a form of art are misguided
Why Warren decided to self-fund his business, rather than taking backing or getting a partner
What the growth path was of W Communications, from year one to now
Why you work harder if you don’t have a backer
Why PR firms shouldn’t need investment
Why a sole owner business is often more collaborative
Why Warren is more proud about his business success, than PR success.
How W has kept growing and broken the £7m fee income barrier
Why Warren has never written a business plan for W
Why Warren believes any proper entrepreneur has to blend their business and personal lives
Why social energy creates opportunity
Why W bought in Mark Perkins as executive creative director and Adam Mack as CEO about a year ago
Why W has bought a number of smaller PR firms in recent years
Why W has managed to win larger clients in the last 12 months
How PR firms with circa £1m fee income often struggle to grow
Warren’s regrets and learnings about the House PR integration with W Communications
Why Warren doesn’t want to buy firms and merge them into W Communications
Why Warren has not sold W Communications
Why, if an independent business is growing, most deals mean that the buyer is paying the founder from his or her own profits
Why Warren expects a new wave of buyers for PR firms in the next five years
Why PR people are the most agile and entrepreneurial of all the marcoms disciplines
Why Warren believes PR firms will be competing with ad agencies for the big creative budgets sooner than people think
Why the PR industry needs more swagger