10 Questions With… Rhodri Harries, Managing Director at Kaizo

1. How long have you been Managing Director at Kaizo and what led you down this path?

I joined in 2007 from GCI London where I was Deputy MD, that agency was later merged into Cohn and Wolfe and in July 2011 I led a MBO of the business. I guess what led me to here was wanting to run and subsequently have some equity in an independent agency. There is greater sense of ownership and responsibility, the ideas you have, the advice you give and the routes you choose for clients and colleagues aren’t based on some corporate structure and excel spreadsheet somewhere but on genuine beliefs.

2. What do you love to do outside of work?

Most of my non work hours time is spent with my family- wife Julia, daughter Tegan and son Cai, which is what I love. Outside of time with them I am somewhat fanatical about Welsh rugby.

3. What inspires you creatively?

No one thing; I think if you are curious naturally (and I am) then you draw on anything and everything; could be cultural, technological, people you meet, even bad jokes… Sometimes ideas come from the strangest places.

4. What is your top tip for creating a successful PR strategy?

Know what you want to achieve and never lose sight of it. Way too many PR campaigns are PR for PR sake, with no real value to the client’s business.

5. What’s the best professional advice you have been given?

Hire people more talented than yourself.

6. How do you see PR changing in the next 5 years?

More emphasis on value and consultancy and less on commodity services; more insights, more technology, more integration but a continued focus on earned influence (even if paid PR activity is a big part of the mix to amplify this). It worries me when I see some predictions which essentially morph PR into where the AD industry is… There will only be one winner if that happens.

7. Why do you like using Meltwater and how does it benefit you/ Kaizo?

I think Meltwater gives a great overview especially for multi country clients. It offers real transparency and helps us spend less time collating and more time analysing and advising.

8. What was your all-time favourite project to work on and why?

There have been many of course, but if I had to pick one it would be Flip Video, a handheld camcorder which shone brightly before being acquired by Cisco for $650 million and then closed down a year later. They could have been GoPro today. We worked with the two UK sales guys to take them to number one in the UK market, with no advertising spend, no big resources, just lots of creative ideas that tied directly into sales. It’s my favourite because we all saw what we were achieving in real time.

9. What’s your favourite city and why?

I love London, but it has to be Cape Town; amazing food, great wines and no better natural beauty with Table Mountain present wherever you are.

10. Who is your professional idol?

I have two … My wife Julia Harries who co-founded one of the best healthcare PR agencies in 2005, and my fellow director and co-owner at Kaizo, Steph MacLeod.