To celebrate Azaria PR’s 15th anniversary, PreschoolNews.net spoke to managing director Amber Steventon about the last 15 years, the nature of PR in the preschool category and what’s in store for the future.
Congratulations on your 15 years! Tell us how it all began?
“Thank you! I am so proud of Azaria and all we have achieved over the last 15 years. I started out with two small clients in London but fast-forward to today and we have helped over 100 brands, has held 61 events, attended 45 Baby Shows, written over 720 press releases and secured over 75,000 pieces of media coverage. We’ve been quite busy! I do love it and I feel as passionate now, as the day I started.”
Which campaign or client are you most proud of over the last 15 years? What makes them so special?
“I have been proud of so many of our campaigns! The most rewarding have been those which have served a purpose and looked to help and educate; working with celebrities at The Baby Show to promote baby first aid courses for The British Red Cross from 2012-15 and launching the Small Wonders campaign for premature baby charity Best Beginnings in 2012, for example. We have had a lot of fun over the years with Little Tikes as well!”
How has the nature of PR changed since Azaria first began?
“PR used to be pretty clear cut. We wrote press releases, met with journalists and if they liked us and our story, it went to print and people read your news. Now PR covers so much more, it’s so wide-reaching you can’t even pinpoint it. It’s about creating a brand voice, with brand values and staying true to those. It’s about reaching your audience, ideally without them even knowing, so you slip in to their psyche and they like you and want to be part of whatever story you’re creating. It’s about social media, digital, print, interaction, experiential, virtual. I love that everything is linked and you can impact audiences on so many levels. That is particularly rewarding in our industry when (usually) first-time parents are crying out for information and resources as they embark on a crazy new chapter of their lives.”
How do you think the PR business will develop over the next 15 years? Will we still be using social media?
“With Instagram having over 1 billion active users in 2018, social media isn’t going anywhere for now! But it is a very interesting time for brand comms. Social media is being scrutinized more than ever to be transparent and accountable; it will be interesting to see how that pans out as Facebook tries to maintain its vast income from brands hungry for likes and engagement whilst trying to show a sense of responsibility to its audience. The basics of brands speaking to the right audience in the right way, at the right time and in the right place hasn’t changed, but navigating the minefield of how to do this has – and ultimately that’s where working with PR agencies who know their stuff reaps all the rewards.”
What are your plans for the next few years?
“I am loving life! Azaria is such an awesome business, with the best team and the nicest of clients. I want to continue to do what we do best; get results that our clients are proud of and work on fun, interesting, exciting campaigns.”
Are you doing anything special to celebrate the 15th anniversary?
“I’m not great at stopping and taking stock (I am always looking forward, planning, creating, driving) but 15 years is a long time and no mean feat, so I feel a real sense of achievement. I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who has supported Azaria over the years, clients, staff, media, influencers, experts, third parties, past and present. We are sharing the love with some birthday gifts for our nearest and dearest (it’s not a birthday without fizz, right?) and I will be taking my gorgeous team out to celebrate.”