Business Matters caught up with Clare George-Hilley, founder of technology and fintech specialist PR agency Centropy, as the company celebrates three years of trading.
Clare discusses the highs and lows of launching a challenger PR agency, the outlook for businesses and how technology is set to transform traditional working patterns beyond all recognition.
What do you currently do?
I am co-founder of Centropy PR, the Shoreditch-based tech and fintech agency which helps companies raise their profile in the media. We work with a diverse portfolio of clients, covering all sorts of topics including cryptocurrency, analytics, cyber skills and automation. Trophy clients include UK industry body techUK, FTSE 250 IT firms and the UK government’s Institute of Coding.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I’ve always been fascinated by technology and increasingly IT is playing a critical role in all aspects of our daily lives. From smart cities, connected economies to driverless vehicles, there is a huge amount of exciting innovation set to transform the way we work and live in the coming years.
We wanted to build a PR agency that could put humanity back into technology storytelling, helping brands large and small communicate how their IT solutions could transform lives for the better. Centropy PR’s unique selling point is that it is the first agency to successfully combine quality tech communications with public policy expertise, allowing our campaigns to resonate with journalists and political decision-makers simultaneously.
What defines your way of doing business?
Most agencies become bloated due to overly complex administrative processes, we wanted Centropy PR to focus on delivering first class, efficient services to clients without delay. We invest heavily in training our team to focus on client outcomes, promoting creative thinking and entrepreneurialism across the business at all times.
What do you admire?
I admire people who take risks for the greater good and stick to their principles. Centropy was founded with a very clear target audience in mind and a good idea about the kinds of clients we wanted to win.
Despite a lot of early missteps, we have stayed true to who we are, worked hard and grown our portfolio dramatically.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Hindsight is such a wonderful thing! If anything, I’d have launched our agency even earlier and been bolder in the first few months. However, I’m really enjoying being my own boss and each and every day brings new challenges.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Starting out on your own can be tough, lonely and at times quite disheartening. It’s vital that you enjoy the job you’re doing and are certain there is a clear demand or target market out there for what you’re selling. Invest in the right technology to help you out, there are a lot of sales and marketing services which can be purchased online, instantly, without any fuss or heavy costs.
Always believe in yourself but be prepared to change direction and alter processes if you are not growing as fast as you’d hoped. Above all, stay positive, success can only come from long hours and hard work, so throw yourself into the job and don’t look back until you’ve achieved your goals.
Clare George-Hilley is co-founder at Centropy PR