Hailing from a wide range of business and personal backgrounds, what’s also fascinating about these individuals is their choice of PR strategy to ensure that their business brands stand out in a hugely competitive and increasingly global marketplace.
Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, London's largest independent plumbing company, has been particularly adept with his use of PR, winning masses of coverage in the national press and making television appearances, including BBC1's Posh Plumbers and Channel 4's The Secret Millionaire. All this from someone who left school at 15 with no qualifications to train as a plumber, but had the vision to change public perceptions of the plumbing business, at that time, tainted by cowboys and shoddy tradespeople, and eventually create his own plumbing empire.
But he has always believed in the power of the media and recognised the benefits that good publicity can bring to a business.
Part of an effective PR strategy includes knowing what makes a good story and how to make it work for your business. A few years ago, with age discrimination and equal opportunities high on the employment agenda, the press, including many of the national newspapers, had a field day with the inspiring story of Pimlico Plumbers’ hiring of centurion Buster Martin, believed to the UK’s oldest employee, who sadly died last year aged 104.
One of the last taboos – discussing your pay with your fellow workers – was broken when Charlie asked his employees to divulge the contents of their pay packets to each other. The move was controversial, as not everyone was earning the same money for doing the same job, but as part of an insight into finding a fairer system of pay, Pimlico’s plumbers made it onto the recent Channel 4 documentary Show Me Your Money.
The real key to securing good media coverage is having experienced PR professionals to coordinate it all. As well as an in house PR guru Karl Plunkett, whose job involves generating news making stories on interesting activities, communicating with journalists, and looking after the firm’s social media and social networking activities, Pimlico Plumbers is also represented by two PR agencies, Recognition PR and Max Clifford Associates.
But that doesn’t stop Charlie from staying closely involved with his own PR strategy and dedicating a large proportion of his time to promoting the company, working alongside Max Clifford, with who he says he shares similar business values and work ethic.
Success in media does help to breed success, and it is Pimlico’s ability to win quality coverage that has, in part, helped it to become the £17 million business that it is today, with a celebrity client base, offering a prestigious plumbing service in the industry, and generating further media interest and opportunities that will continue to promote the brand.
Budding entrepreneurs, take note.
If you would like more information on the Entrepreneur Country Forum please visit - www.entrepreneurcountryforum.com or use the below ticket form to register for this event: