The birth of Stir PR, as told by c0-founder and Chairman Paul Seligman
You know, every so often you walk into a room and go ‘wow’. The ‘wow’ can be that you’ve fallen in love, you have entered a space that is amazing in some way, or, as in my case, you have met someone who you think is exceedingly talented. This is what happened when I walked into a client meeting and heard Alicia presenting. At the time, she was working at a well-known, good agency, but I thought she stood head and shoulders above her colleagues.
Now I have always been an admirer of PR and wanted to start a PR agency, but have invariably been disappointed by its practioners (all too often ‘fluffy’ and non strategic). It was a few weeks later that I heard Alicia had left the agency and was sailing across the Atlantic (as one does). I called her and suggested we chat about starting an agency – and so, upon her return – five years ago, we did just that. Fortunately, we decided not to call the agency “Bitch’, but Stir, and Alicia and I set out on the hard road to win clients.
Let me be frank, I may have strong views on PR, but don’t exactly have much grounding in the profession (read: I knew absolutely nothing about PR!). And, as anyone who knows me will testify, I am not always the most diplomatic of people! So, I was relegated to being Alicia’s bagman – with a brief not to say too much in any meeting with potential clients. The strategy worked. Alicia talked; I nodded my head in sage agreement; we won clients. Our first client was Champagne Lanson – not only a great client, but one with whom we were able to produce some great work. They always say, ‘if you start with Champagne, you have a great day’. We did; in fact, we’ve had a great five years.
It’s funny how your first client has a major impact on how an agency develops. Premium alcohol is something I love and if your first client is a Champagne, you invariably win more alcohol brands. So today, Stir, true to its roots, works for a number of great drinks brands, but we have also managed to broaden our horizons to clients in FMCG, hospitality, lifestyle and wellbeing.
We have grown in people, personality and wisdom, along with many great clients. But, what I hope we never lose is that original passion and entrepreneurial spirit we had from the start! At least I am allowed to talk now!