StopPress Exclusive Q&A: Angela March, Brainchild

Angela March, Director of PR agency Brainchild, was chosen last year as the sole representative from New Zealand to participate in the Global Women in Public Relations Empower programme.

StopPress caught up with the Hamilton-based PR professional to discuss the programme, and what she has learned from it so far.

What does taking part in the Global Women in Public Relations Empower programme involve?

The programme is a great mix of one-on-one mentoring, networking with my fellow mentees and insightful masterclasses. My mentor sessions are the most valuable hour of my month. Jumping on a video call with the General Manager of Havas PR Spain – Ana Pico Alvarez, is a fantastic opportunity. I am so grateful for her generosity in sharing her time, knowledge, and insights into how to run my agency and serve our clients better.

What are some of the topics you are covering in the programme?

The topics are varied, but leadership is the common thread. One of the early sessions was on leading with gravitas, which was particularly insightful. It is the kind of thing no one teaches you, and yet, at some point in your career, you start to need this ability – even if you can’t quite put a name to it. I also learnt a lot during a recent class on negotiation. Having to lead my team in a simulated negotiation over Zoom put me out of my comfort zone, but it was a great way to build confidence and practice what we learnt during the session.

What is the single most useful insight you have gained?

‘Stop negotiating with yourself’ is a gold nugget I picked up from Bob Groves in our negotiation session. As an agency, we are obsessed with delivering value – but sometimes those imaginary price negotiations we have before we’ve even pitched to a client mean we undervalue the results we deliver.

How early do you have to wake up for your classes?

This one varies but because my fellow mentees are from all corners of the world, they are often at obscure times for New Zealand. Recently, I had a session at 2:30am. Next week, I have a masterclass at 1am. It’s hard going (especially when you still have to get up in the morning for two little ones), but I see these late-night learning opportunities as an incredible privilege.

How would you describe your PR philosophy?

In a word, holistic. Customers rarely follow a linear path from consideration to purchase, so integrating a strong, consistent narrative across all touchpoints is critical to success.

Stories are the currency of brand-building. But to craft one worth anything, you must understand your audience, what matters to them, and what business goals you are trying to achieve. From there, with a 360 approach – you can find the right ways to tell it – in the places your audience already is.

Internally, our guiding principle is always to ask, ‘who cares and why.’ This informs everything we do, from the initial strategy to every release, social post, or influencer campaign. This attention to relevance and impact ensures every piece of work resonates with the right audience and aligns with client goals.

Storytelling runs in our lifeblood as PR professionals. We are adept at weaving diverse narratives across various channels, making us natural leaders in this space.

What is the most memorable project you have worked on?

A three-way tie between launching JB Hi-Fi’s first new store in seven years with a growth focussed media relations campaign and an engaging activation; the many data-driven stories we get across media channels for realestate.co.nz month after month; and, finally, a creative, content-led campaign for iCLAW where we announced that the law firm was starting an academy for preschool-aged lawyers.

It was an April Fools’ joke with a deeper message about their internal culture and support for working parents. It sat alongside a bigger recruitment campaign we worked on with them. Fully integrated with wrap-around digital, OOH, and earned media relations activity – we more than delivered on the brief for this client, who was eager to push boundaries.

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