What motivated your expansion of your services?
Initially we were responding to the requirements of our luxury hotel clients who wanted the Mason Rose offering in other markets and had been unable to find alternative suitable solutions. We started with a niche offering for a couple of hotels but with an overwhelmingly positive response this started to expand very quickly in terms of the number of hotel clients and geographical markets.
How have the expectations of your major luxury hospitality clients changed over the past years? How have you adapted your offering?
When we first started out, budgets were more generous and it was fairly common for our clients to work with individual PR and Marketing agencies in various markets. Budgets started to tighten and our clients began to reduce the number of international agencies they would work with. Additionally, clients have become more focused on ROI and tracking and the need to see measurable returns on their investment. We have reworked our tracking for both Sales and PR various times over the years to provide useful KPIs. We have also internally tightened our working practices to ensure that every activity counts towards our clients’ goals.
Besides PR, you also provide sales services. Is this comparable to sales representation for certain geographical area Tell us more.
Yes we were one of the first, if not the first, agency of our kind to recognise the benefit of offering combined PR and Sales to our clients – and have continued to add other services. We offer Sales in the UK and 5 European markets and this continues to grow. The 360 approach is highly effective for clients and has a far greater impact on the bottom line than just providing one service.
Are there instances or clients you offer both PR and sales services? What are your key competitive advantages?
Yes many instances – and these continue to grow. The key here is to offer flexibility. As mentioned, marketing budgets (particularly for independent hotels) can often be tight. By offering both of these services (as well as additional services – eg digital marketing, partnership marketing etc) under one roof and from one trusted team, we are able to adapt nimbly and cost efficiently to our clients’ changing business needs. Most clients tell us the reason they hire us and continue to work with us is down to our reputation as well as the variety of services we offer
The role of a PR or sales professional has evolved by becoming more complex, especially with the growing importance of digital and social media. What is your approach towards human resources? How do you nurture and retain talent nowadays?
There is no doubt in my mind that our success is 100% down to our team. Therefore looking after them is paramount. One of the concerns that clients often have with agencies is that staff turnover can be high. We are extremely fortunate to keep our team members for long periods of time. All senior members of our team have been with the company over 5 years and several over 10. We do this through a combination of flexibility (many are working mothers) and providing the opportunity to grow whilst at the agency, taking on new roles and responsibilities. There is a significant amount of trust and open dialogue that takes place within the team at all levels.
Is there an ideal profile of a Mason Rose PR / sales client?
We only work with clients that we believe we can perform for – that’s the bottom line. We spend a lot of time asking questions about a new client’s business before we engage in working together so that we can be clear on goals and be confident we are the right agency match for them. We generally only work at the luxury end of the market, not for any other reason than that’s what we are known for and the media and buyers we work with assume that any client in the Mason Rose collection is amongst the very best in the world within their field
How important is to offer best value for money and ROI?
Very. This can be hard as staffing overheads in particular are high. As mentioned, we have an excellent team as we believe this is a necessity in order to provide the very best service. Value for money doesn’t necessarily mean low fees however – we pitch our fees at a level that we feel is fair (we provide clear ROI of output versus fees to our clients at the end of every year) but at the same time we need to ensure that we continue to run a successful business and can reward our team appropriately
Which are the biggest disruptors your business sector is facing? How are you prepared to counter these disruptors?
Many might say consolidation – numerous niche PR agencies in our space are merging or have been bought by larger agencies. However, the result of this consolidation has been that many independent clients are looking for a bespoke, personal service and the size of a niche agency appeals to them. So for us this hasn’t presented itself as a threat but more of an opportunity.
There are naturally many questions around the current political and economic climate of course but to date we continue to see strong business coming out of the UK and new clients investing in this market. Plus of course we have now grown our business from other international markets as well as offering services such as digital, therefore we are forecasting a positive year ahead
Is there an innovative approach which you consider as a signature service of Mason Rose?
Our 360 approach – offering PR, Sales, Partnership Marketing, bespoke events, digital marketing, international services, wellness PR and much more to come – all under one roof. The desire and ability to constantly evolve in response to our clients’ needs continues to work well for our business and for our clients.
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