We spend 5 minutes with one of Australia's most influential and esteemed PR Queens, Pru Corrigan.
1. You have over 20 years experience in PR, where did it all begin for you?
I was thrown into the world of PR when I was at a 21st birthday party in Melbourne wearing a Christopher Chronis jacket - he was huge back then, Google him! The sister of the guys’s 21st I was attending - had just landed a job at Sportsgirl as marketing manager, the year – 1999. The girl came over to me at the party and said she liked my jacket – we started chatting and by the end of the conversation, I had a job interview on the Monday at Sporstgirl head office in Hawthorn.
Sportsgirl was quite a damaged brand back then and I wasn’t sure if it was the right move but, I was in my third and final year studying Media and Comm’s majoring in PR and felt a part time job would help me with my assignments
and real experience in the field.
I started two days a week as a marketing coordinator, I finished my uni degree and stayed with Sportsgirl for 6 years with my last role being Brand Manager. This was really a matter of being in the right place at the right time, taking pride in my appearance and being able to hold a conversation. My PR journey had just begun at a party – how apt!
2. You co-founded Two Birds Talking in 2006 and then went on to creating One Daydream PR in 2015. What made you want to create your own businesses instead of working for others?
My ex business partner from Two Birds Talking and I had been friends for a long time. We didn’t go to the same school but we always vibed. We lived our lives after school and met up again on a project between Disney and Sportsgirl that we managed together. We stood on Chapel St and both spoke about wanting to own our own businesses - we were both PR trained and felt we could bring new life and energy to the industry. In 2006, Two Birds Talking was created and we became the top PR agency in Australia opening an office in Sydney & New Zealand, working with some of world’s most well known brands including; Nike, Target, Kookai, Witchery, Laurent-Perrier, Bondi Sands, ELK, Cotton On, DFO & Smiggle.
My father had his own business, so for me, starting my own didn’t seem scary – you worked to survive. I did have the option to leave the industry in 2015 after I had my child however; I could see our industry shifting and I felt One Daydream could really lead the way in supporting people and brands to really live their dreams. The agency now works on getting brands and people to dream big and to create a vision that will make a difference …There’s brainstorming, lots of talk and a real sense of family that One Daydream now creates for clients.
I love working for myself but there’s not a lot of down time and I rarely switch off. Would I work for someone else again? Consulting is really working for others anyway and I would never say no to an opportunity if I felt it was the next level for me.
3. What was the biggest challenge in starting a PR agency?
Biggest challenge was my age and experience in 2006. Owning a business sees so many new responsibilities and understanding how to manage and balance the mind. It wasn’t about me anymore – there were staff, a business partner, landlords, clients who all demanded attention and needed leadership. So for me it wasn’t the work that was the issue, it was the management of running a business day to day.
4. You work with huge, global brands like The Body Shop, Vegemite and Sephora. What is your point of difference when pitching to potential new clients?
I have been so fortunate to work with these brands at One Daydream. Listening to the client is key, but also giving my opinion and working on a formula which will translate for the Australian market is the secret.
Sometimes global brands have different ideas for our small little country! I also ask loads of questions and talk about culture and the right fit as an agency vs. the work that is being done.
For me - culture is king with relationships and I think this is what sets us apart. We know we can do the work – that’s only half of the solution. The dreamers are a unique and savvy bunch who respect people and their work everyday. We have fun and we work hard and no task is ever too big or small. I’m always accessible to anyone / anytime of the day and I think that’s important in our game.
5. You recently launched The Dream Team, a talent division of One Daydream, what inspired this venture?
I’m all about talent / influencers but I do believe they should have a skill set they can share and become credible for on the social scene. They are simply a new form of advertising and can often be quite cost effective to a targeted audience. It’s reality TV on speed – but it’s more ‘real’ because you can actually talk with them and become part of their online community.
I had hired Ellie Gonsalves for a project in 2017 – she was fresh back from LA and she asked me to manage her. I had rejected many people before, but with her, I felt we could create some magic. Soon after I chased Lana Wilkinson. I could see all her hard work and felt I could support her to the next level of her career.
18 months later Ellie had launched her first Hollywood film with a string of amazing campaigns and Lana has now launched her own shoe collection. It was about building dreams together and really removing the fear - this inspires me daily. Watch this space to see what the rest of the DREAM TEAM get up to in 2020 – I’m excited!
6. Influencer marketing takes up a huge part of PR and advertising these days but there are still skeptics out there. What would your top piece of advice be for a brand wanting to engage an influencer?
I would say absolutely invest in them. But make sure it’s a genuine connection for them and you. Immerse them into the brand, educate them, involve them for more than one post.
Turn them into an advocate for your brand. Use them for more than social – PR stories, events, masterclasses. They are real people, not billboards in people’s hands daily – think of the power that is possible.
Don’t forget your marketing mix either – websites, PR, Events, Campaigns, EDM’s and your own social media need to complete the 360 approach.
7. Finally, what PR/social media trends do you see for 2020?
We love a trend and haven’t we seen a lot of trends in our game over the past 4 years. I think the BIG event is back - think 4D – a total immersion into a brand involving media and influencers but also your consumers. Touch the senses and create memorable occasions for your market.
Virtual Reality and Drones should also make bigger impact this year. A Grade Influencer collaborations will be used more and more for new collections / ranges - Influencers will be offered “skin in the game”.
Magazines might finally take their last bow. Online Magazines will grow but the tangible magazine is on its last legs.
Instagram ad’s – yes, yes and yes! – buy them!
IG TV will become more powerful than the Instagram post and stories.