Date Posted: Wednesday 21st November 2018
DIARY directory recently caught up with Carri Kilpatrick, Founder of beauty, health and wellbeing PR & digital communications agency Kilpatrick. Formerly PR Manager at a variety of luxury brands including, Chanel, Prestige & Collections and Helena Rubinstein, Carri founded Kilpatrick in 1995 with the goal of providing brands with an in-house experience in an agency setting. Having evolved over the years from a one-man band to a team of over 20+ members, we caught up with Carri to find out why Kilpatrick stands out as an agency, how they've adapted to the changing print/social media climate and what they look for when delivering influencer collaborations.
You dropped the ‘PR’ from your agency name to emphasize your digital and social offering - what are you doing differently?
We dropped the PR a while ago but it wasn’t just to emphasise our digital and social offering. We offer and deliver a totally bespoke, blended strategy to each of our clients, whether it’s a one-off project or an ongoing retainer. We cover traditional media outreach of course, as well as online titles and bloggers. But we also have a stand-alone digital division which does everything from social media campaigns and content creation, website design and build to full scale direct to consumer digital activations.
We also have exceptionally close working relationships with influencers and our remit can be anything from organic day to day seeding and product placement to negotiating brand ambassador deals. Our events team are as busy as ever, whether that’s organising an intimate soiree for a luxury beauty brand, or roundtable discussion groups open to the public or a party for 200 to celebrate brand success. Increasingly we are being asked to market our clients in overseas market as well.
Do you work with your clients on suggesting and implementing brand collaborations? What do you look for that would make a successful collaboration?
We are very proactive in approaching our clients with creative collaboration ideas. A successful one is just that – it needs to be a mutually and equally beneficial collaboration. The best brand ones are those that cross promote to different audiences but have an intersection where the audience will understand and appreciate the collaboration. A successful collaboration will beat a client’s KPIs such as: reaching a new audience, uplift in brand sentiment, uplift in sales etc.
Kilpatrick have been DIARY directory members for decades. With new features such as sort contacts by social stats and region filters for media titles including blogs, how does having a DIARY directory membership benefit you as an agency?
I remember the print version of DIARY very well!! It was a must have on any PR’s desk. DIARY is indispensable when scheduling events and keeping abreast of journalist moves and updates. The editorial requests section is also useful. We all read the Diary daily update emails too – it keeps us all up to date, even on those days when we only have a few minutes spare to read the industry news round ups.
You've got many long-standing clients, including Pixiwoo’s make-up brush brand, Real Techniques. What's the trick to maintaining a long-term relationship with such brands?
Partnership. That’s the key. When I first set up Kilpatrick many years ago, my background had always been in-house and my goal was to work like an in-house PR department for each of our clients. It was never purely about winning clients, it was always – and still is – about growing our businesses together. We are really, really good at what we do, and we have the most amazing and talented team. Each of us, without exception, runs the business and our clients’ business, from the heart. You can’t get better than that.
What have been your biggest difficulties as an agency owner?
For a long time, I have suffered from a severe lack of confidence and setting up and running your own business can be a very lonely place. That combination of insecurity and loneliness can be pretty tough. So I have learnt to try and be braver, to ask for help and to surround myself with brilliant people. I also think talking is the most important tool we have. It’s easy to hide behind screens – emails and text messages – but we’re missing whole chunks of life and of the great things that other people have to offer. So be brave, pick up the phone or go out and meet people and talk. It is enriching, inspiring and life-affirming.
How do you feel about Brexit? Do you see this affecting you as a business?
The Brexit result was like a massive pack of cards thrown up in the air and who knows yet how it’s going to land. Negotiations are at a critical phase right now and it’s impossible to predict how it’s going to end. Of course, it will affect us whatever the outcome. In fact, I think we are a critical point in history right now. I think it’s worth remembering, though, that with any change comes the possibility for growth and opportunity.
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