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...