PRmoment Podcast
PRmoment Podcast
Jan 20, 2020
Gerry Hopkinson, owner and CEO of Unity, on The PRmoment podcast
47 min

This week on the PRmoment podcast, I’m interviewing Gerry Hopkinson, owner and CEO of Unity.

Unity is a £2.7m fee income consumer PR consultancy based in London. Clients include the likes of Axa, Vue, Freesat and AEG. Unity’s fee income has grown by 30% in the last 12 months.

Gerry is a Canadian who came to the UK aged 24. His early career was spent at PR agencies QBO and Band and Brown. He also had a stint in-house at Mastercard. Gerry co-launched Unity with Nik Govier in 2005.

As many of our listeners will know Nik Govier left Unity in 2018. 

[00:01:43] Gerry tells us about Unity's hectic couple of years

[00:04:59] What do brands want from their public relations? What is its function? What needs does public relations answer for clients and for wider society?

[00:06:55] Why truth is, by its very nature, subjective. 

[00:07:23] How do you bring emotion to ideas and facts so that people really feel them and act upon them?

[00:08:07] Why most politicians are either engineers or magicians. 

[00:10:42] Why modern public relations needs to be about psychology, social science and behavioural science.

[00:13:15] Gerry talks about the concept of social proof and its relevance in communications – how we as humans tend to believe and want to do what others are doing.

[00:16:03] Gerry describes the break up of his and Nik Govier’s partnership as "like a divorce" and how he still has still has "huge affection and admiration and respect for her."

[00:16:20] How for many "relationships, there is a natural course. All things come to an end." 

[00:17:26] How Gerry went through a pretty formal process of self-criticism when Nik Govier left the business. Where he asked himself "What am I good at?” and "What am I not good at?"

[00:24:12] Gerry explains what he means by the statement "Unity is my life".

[00:25:06] Gerry identifies three things "that had come unstuck" at Unity version one. 

[00:28:31] Why learning is what gives Gerry the most enjoyment at work.

[00:28:53] Why Gerry believes "for capitalism to survive, it must evolve."

[00:30:01] How a lack of trust is eroding a lot of what we take for granted in civil society.

[00:30:50] Why the way we create wealth and create jobs is starting to have a pretty serious and unsustainable impact on the world.

[00:33:35] What does purpose mean to the SMEs of this world?

[00:35:57] Over the course of his career, who have Gerry's mentors been and what has he learnt from them? 

[00:38:40] Why Gerry has built Unity's employer brand on "hustlers and dreamers."

[00:40:22] Gerry talks us through the lessons he's learnt during Unity's tough times and the good times. 

[00:41:11] Why agencies must decide if they are consultants or outsourcers.

[00:44:01] Unity as a business has often hovered just below the £3 million pound fee income level – Gerry talks about how he wants to break through that.

[00:46:07] Why Gerry hopes Unity will make an acquisition or two...

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