CommsPeople Profile: Stephen H

Describe what you do in a couple of sentences…

I work in comms/PR and have experience working on B2C and B2B brands including Disney and Verizon Media working with senior stakeholders across multi-national media and entertainment businesses.  I understand reputation and have worked on partnerships with brands and projects across a number of areas.

Tell us about your best freelancing gig…

A press trip to Ile de Re, France, with Caroline Gammell and her young family. It was for a Daily Mail travel feature to promote a Joan Collins film. It was May, the weather was gorgeous, the island was empty and the food amazing.  I spent a couple of days with them on a beautiful island, cycling, and swimming in the sea.  Much better than the film it was promoting!

What are the benefits for clients of working with a freelancer?

A client can pay for the expertise that they need, for the time period it is required and work with people who can give an honest and objective overview of what it’s possible to achieve.

In your opinion, which brand(s) gets their communications consistently spot on?

Challenger bank Starling has a consistent and fresh approach to banking making it distinct from its longer established High St bank rivals.  This is reflected in its debit card and app, which given that all customer interactions take place here is key. I like Rapha too, they have created great touch points to engage a cycling audience: in store, the Rapha clubhouse, rides and events like Festive 500. All of which have a consistent link to the brand, products and fosters a community of cyclists.

What is your pet peeve when it comes to working with clients?

Sometimes, there can be more focus on what coverage they would like to achieve, prior to a comms and business plan being put into place of how to get there.  Great results, need originality, inspiration, planning and patience

What are your top tips for anyone about to start working with freelancers?

Be clear about expectations.  Are freelancers supplementing your existing comms team, helping a specific project, or covering a busier period? What’s your main motivation for working with a freelancer(s)?  What does success look like for the business?  What does success look like for the freelancer and the project, given the time available?

What advice would you give to someone embarking on a freelance career?

Build and find relationships where clients will ideally want to work with you again. Choose your clients well and aim to deliver the right result at the right time.  Understand that your clients’ needs will evolve, one size doesn’t fit all and you will both need to be adaptive and responsive.


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