1976 was Britain’s best ever year according to a study – it was also when Derby based Paskett Public Relations was formed!

Earlier this week Paskett PR was profiled in the Derby Telegraph!

Read the full write up here…

1976 was Britain’s best ever year according to a study – it was also when Derby based Paskett Public Relations was formed!

An economic survey published by a national Sunday newspaper identified 1976 as Britain’s best ever year – Concorde flew for the first time, there was a heatwave, petrol was 77p a gallon and a pint of beer cost just 32p – it was also when Graham Paskett formed his public relations consultancy in Derby.

Graham was in good company in forming a new business that year and a couple of others you might have heard of also opened their doors for the first time – The Body Shop and, although computers were largely in the future, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started a little company called Apple.

“Both have done a tad better than me but it’s been an exciting time,” jokes Graham whose business has grown to be the UK’s leading specialist in gardening public relations consultancy with brand leading clients right across the sector.

Originally the pr agency was set up in Derby in 1976 and had offices on Friar Gate until 2008 when the company moved to its current location in Friar Gate Studios.

The company did not start out specialising in gardening. Graham trained as a journalist on a newspaper in Coventry and worked on several other regional papers. He then set up the pr department for Century Oils in Stoke on Trent. That brought him and his young family to Staffordshire, where they still live.

Graham had, for a number of years, wanted to start his own consultancy and after an exciting time in the oil industry he took the plunge. One of the first moves in to consumer and retail public relations for Paskett PR was winning the Thorntons Confectionery account and the ATS Tyres business. Then in 1990 Liz Harris, who was running the pr department for Qualcast lawnmowers in Derby, had lunch with Graham.

“Qualcast was moving to Suffolk but Liz wanted to stay in Derby and approached me to see if she could join Paskett PR, bringing the Qualcast business with her. She and I worked together for more than ten years and it was the start of our relationship with gardening,” explains Graham.

Graham’s wife Jennifer, also an ex-journalist, worked for the company for more than 18 years and recently retired, although she remains a director.

Current Paskett PR clients are at their strongest level ever and include Briggs & Stratton, the revolutionary range of EGO Power+ battery powered garden products, the best-selling Expert range of gardening books, Henton and Chattell, Keter, The Posh Shed Company, Wilkinson Sword and WOLF-Garten. They also handle publicity for a large number of shopping centres based around the country – an account that the company has retained for more than 25 years.

“PR today is an entirely different world from when I started the firm when we focussed entirely on the print and broadcast media. Social media now plays an enormously important role in our work and we embrace this change in all our work, although we do still link in closely with specialist gardening media across”, he explained.

Now, 39 years since its founding, Paskett PR continues to go from strength to strength and it looks like promising times are to come as the company has recently been appointed to handle the public relations for three new clients; Irrigatia, Worldwide Garden Tours and BASF garden products. Recent account wins have all been in the garden sector and many have come as a result of recommendations from leading gardening journalists.

“Another route to new business is from people we have worked with in the past who move to new companies and get back in touch with us to quote for their pr work. I find that particularly encouraging,” adds Graham.

Having now spent more than 25 years in the gardening sector Graham believes it is timely to bring new, younger talent into the business. In light of this and the recent account wins, the company has enacted staffing changes, new appointments and a team restructure.

Holly Daulby, who joined the team two years ago in November 2013, having just moved to Derby from Rutland, has become a director to help Graham lead the team and she now effectively runs the business alongside him. Aroonaa Sharrma has worked at the company in total for almost ten years – taking maternity leave and returning on a part-time basis. Other team members include Fay Wilkinson, Sophie Rowe and Jenny Bostock.

“I have a large number of contacts right across the UK and European garden products sector, particularly in the media. Working with Holly and other members of the team brings an entirely new dimension and fresh thinking into the business and the campaigns we develop for clients. The press and traditional media still play a significant role but social media and all of the other new communication techniques open up entirely new opportunities and this is why our team approach works so well,” he says.

Despite digital developments, Paskett PR retains excellent relationships with the national media. Something which is demonstrated on the company’s website where a selection of quotes and references from leading journalists and national newspapers editors are showcased – not a thing that many agencies can boast and something that the Paskett PR team is very proud of.

Graham believes that one of the companies’ other strengths is its location. “Our clients are based all over the country so being in the heart of the east midlands is of huge benefit. More specifically being in Friar Gate Studios has many perks (and not just Bean Café downstairs!). We work with a number of other companies within the studios and, all being in the same physical building, is rather like have a huge number of specialists departments. The enormous benefit is that we have access to all of these skills, quite literally on the doorstep but without carrying them as an overhead.”

“It does not matter whether it is a social media post, a blog or a press release, everything we do is about effective communication between a client and its target audiences. I think the most significant changes that have taken place over my career are the speed of communication, which is now instant, and the fact that we are all so bombarded with messages and don’t have time to give them sufficient consideration. It is our skill and expertise to make sure that our messages do at least get read,” says Graham.

For more information about Paskett PR visit the website at www.paskettpr.co.uk or phone Graham or Holly on 01332 258335.

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