The Female Focus: Clo PR
The female focus series was devised to introduce you to some of our favourite female founders we've had the pleasure of meeting since we started Mac&Moore two years ago. We've been lucky enough to collaborate with Claudia, the founder of Clo PR on some amazing projects this year and jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions about her business journey.
What did you want to be when you were at school?
I always wanted to be a journalist for Vogue. When I was younger I was obsessed with fashion - my parents told me I was carrying around a handbag at the age of two. My mum used to have a subscription to Vogue and I’d collect all the editions and build scrapbooks of colours, textures and styles I loved. It was only later on I realised that I wasn’t bitchy or shallow enough (sorry) to carry the dream forward.
Did you have a female role model?
Without a doubt my mum. She’s my best friend and she’s always kept my spirits high on my darkest days. She’s really young at heart and she’s inspired me to never take life too seriously (I am still learning). And I also need to make a shout-out to all the women I know and admire, who are trying to push the boundaries for change in their respective fields. Their determination and creativity pushes me forward.
What did your further education prepare you for and what did you learn?
I was very influenced - some would say forced - by my dad to study Biology and Spanish, which weren’t naturally easy for me. It meant 4 years of never feeling like I was very good at something. I had to be very disciplined to work hard to stay above water. This sounds depressing but it did light the fire in me to be hard-working and resilient - to never give up - even when everything seemed too hard and against me. I also thrived on the independence to form lasting friendships and keep myself alive without the shadow of mum and dad feeding me and washing my clothes.
How do you keep learning more whilst building a business?
Well, the very act of building a business means I’m learning all the time. No one’s watching over me to make sure I am doing the job or managing how I do it. I am a podcast obsessive and avaricious for business podcasts like How I built this and Monocle Entrepreneurs. They both expertly tease out entrepreneur stories and come to conclusions of why businesses fail or succeed. Sometimes there’s too much theory attached to learning how to build a business - the best way to learn is to experience it first-hand. Making mistakes is a good thing (only when done once).
What are you currently reading / listening too?
I am currently reading Reni Eddo-Lodge’s, ‘Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race’ and it’s eye-opening. It’s made me enter serious self-reflection of what it means to be a black person in a society that has always systemically favoured white people. Reni proves that there are many layers of racism in this country, to which we can be blind - wilfully or un-wilfully.
What led you to start CLO PR?
Where do I start?! I have always gone against the grain and bit by bit I started to realise that I needed to explore a new way of doing PR and having a career. I’ve never been good at being managed and having to conform in someone else’s business. I felt under-appreciated and uninspired by the very people I was supposed to look up to. All too often in my experience, men don’t inherently champion women and women rarely champion women. It just never sat well with me. Forced hierarchy creates fear and loathing. I knew I didn’t need to be part of that game to be successful. Setting up CLO PR was a way for me to be free (and line my own pockets).
Why do you promote positive impact?
Because I believe that every business needs to be fighting for a positive outcome in anything it does. For its workforce, its supply chain and its customers or audience. And that PR is one tiny cog to make this happen. Also, I feel strongly that positive attitude wins out, every time. I AM positivity (just not when I’m on my period).
What are PR agencies doing right / wrong in 2018?
Some - not all - are complete replicas of each other and it bores me to tears. I also can’t stand the greed attached to some of these businesses. I worked somewhere once where they were charging a charity £20k for a PDF! I want to make money just like the next person but I believe there needs to be compassion and respect at the base of every client relationship and ripping them off does not encourage a long-lasting partnership.
What advice can you give to businesses to make the most out of PR?
Don’t underestimate the power of PR. And we’re not all airheads either, we can be strategic and laser sharp in our approach to create impact. But before leaping into PR, know who you are as a brand and stick to it. You need to get under the skin of your brand identity. It will bring clarity when it comes to crafting a compelling story about your purpose. If you believe in your story, then so will others.
Name a "best in class" piece of PR and tell us why you love it!
There are countless examples of great PR but the stunt performed by CALM this year really resonated with me. The suicide prevention charity sparked discussion and engagement with eighty-four sculptures of men with hoods covering their faces on top of the ITV South Bank Studios to raise awareness of male suicide. All of the figures were based on a real people who had committed suicide in the UK. Impactful, shocking and made you think, in one beautiful execution.
What have been the essential factors that have enabled you to be an entrepreneur that you'd think you'd struggle without?
Without doubt my husband, Mat. He has encouraged me from the beginning to follow this path and ultimately helped me to work it out for myself. And I look at the number of friends - all girls - who kept telling me I could do it without a sign of doubt and I never believed them. It’s funny how you can be surrounded by your fiercest cheerleaders but you never see them until you break down your own boundaries (in my case, my insecurities).
What's your biggest learning so far since starting CLO PR?
That I underestimate myself every bloody second! That I need to be told by other people that I have created a viable, profitable venture. I used to think that setting up a business was for people who had bountiful levels of confidence, even arrogance. Now I know that there’s something inside me that’s stronger than my lack of confidence. It’s the drive to succeed. I am never satisfied today, I am already living for tomorrow.
Who's a woman you watch or someone you admire in 2018?
Sharon Horgan. For putting women writers, comedians and creatives on the map, where there was previously no door for them. For writing and starring in the hilarious TV show, ‘Catastrophe’, which beautifully strikes a chord between humour and sensibility, as if you’re in the room. And for setting up a seriously kickass agency, Merman, which champions women creatives. She’s a symbol that you CAN have it all. The looks, the brains, the humour, the success, the money. Champion.
What's the quote you live by?
"As you rise, you must send the elevator back down" by author Bonin Bough. He’s a male author and his quote symbolises my mission to promote community over competition. We can create positive impact by supporting each other rather than fearing that someone will rise above us and leave us behind. I also love where I found it. Whenever I go onto the Forbes website. a fresh quote pops up which always gives me a small pang of motivation. It’s like a shot of caffeine.
If you want to find out more about Clo or her kick-ass agency Clo PR then visit her website and get in touch!