Jennifer Sanchis caught up with Sian Gaskell, Managing Director of Oxfordshire-based CubanEight to find out about this mid-sized business-to-business PR agency.
How would you describe your agency?
CubanEight is a mid-sized business-to-business agency with a focus on technology based in Chesterton, just outside Bicester in Oxfordshire. We are running campaigns for global brands and fast-growing companies based here in the UK as well as the US and across Europe. We have a collaborative and proactive approach to everything we do and it may sound a bit cheesy, but the team are at the heart of everything at CubanEight, allowing us to combine great work with real passion.
We think Oxfordshire is a pretty great place to be based – we have a beautiful office on a farm-turned-business park, where the only traffic we encounter on the morning commute is sheep on the drive. We’re minutes away from Bicester Village and 15 minutes on the train from Oxford, and less than an hour away from London.
What is at the core of CubanEight’s activities?
We work for global businesses and market-leaders who are transforming how we live, work and play. We work collaboratively with clients to understand their business objectives, get under the skin of an organisation and create bespoke communications strategies and PR campaigns that deliver.
What that means on a day-to-day basis is planning and delivering strategic and meaningful PR including creative campaign planning, media relations, content creation, rapid response, social media and account management.
You talk on your website about an ‘intelligent’ PR approach. What does this mean?
Our key focus since we started has always been about delivering PR that has a real impact for our clients. That means taking time at the start of campaigns, and then on a regular basis, to understand what clients want to achieve – be that increase sales, expand into new markets or recruit the best talent. We work to ensure that these objectives are properly understood, and then focus PR in order to achieve them.
Intelligent PR is also about working smartly and understanding that everything is connected. We have always worked to ensure content and themes are tailored and used across various relevant platforms, to help make content, and budgets work harder. We now also offer a full integrated offering on a PESO (paid, earned, social, owned) model, expanding this to other areas, not traditionally in the PR bucket.
And, it may sound obvious since we are all in the business of communications but really maintaining open and frequent channels of communication is massively important, both within our team, and with our clients and partners.
Is there a specific campaign you have run that you are particularly proud of?
We have been working with Selligent Marketing Cloud on an ongoing thought leadership programme since they launched in the UK in 2016, when they had very limited presence. We developed a programme which resonated with their core vertical sectors, retail and travel as well as the marketing trade press.
At the heart of all thought leadership is how marketers can satisfy, what Selligent terms, ‘entitled consumers’. As we’ve had very little news and no access to the brands they work with, so we’ve had to think creatively and strategically in order to ensure a constant flow of coverage. Our approach has been to maximise all of Selligent’s own content into thought leadership articles, and make it work harder.
We’ve also undertaken a relentless media relations programme, to the point where we now have contacts across many of the top-tier marketing and vertical publications coming to us. In the space of two years, from the media having no awareness of Selligent, they now frequently approach us for comment and byline contribution on topics as they know we will deliver content which is topical to their industries. The PR has had a proven impact on sales figures for Selligent, and we have a fantastic relationship with the client with whom we work creatively and collaboratively.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes in to force shortly. Do you have any advice about how to prepare?
I read that GDPR is a process, not a deadline, which has been helpful in terms of understanding what it really means for businesses, and individuals. Despite any preconceptions about GDPR, it is giving consumers (and businesses) a clean slate when it comes to communications. The content rush of the last few years has left all of us bombarded with content, and as communicators we now need to shift our focus away from broadcasting messages to viewing communication as a privilege, not a right. Putting our readers, viewers or listeners first and always considering what they want and need will stand us all in good stead as we navigate the post GDPR world.
I’ve seen on your website that you were recruiting?
We are! We have won a number of new clients over recent months and so are looking to bolster our team at all levels, but are particularly on the lookout for Senior Account Managers or Account Managers. So if you are looking for a new challenge, like working on creative and meaningful PR for dynamic brands, and enjoy cake and working with a bunch of likeminded PRs please do get in touch.