What it’s really like to be a PR account manager?
In this blog, Annie Brafield reflects on half a decade as a Cartwrighter.
Annie Brafield joined the Cartwright Communications team in 2013, starting her tenure as a PR account manager at the agency.
Now, she is an account director who specialises in delivering integrated campaigns for clients within the property and construction industry.
Life before Cartwright
Prior to joining Cartwright, I think it’s probably safe to say that I’d struggled to find a role that really suited me, so I moved around quite a bit in pursuit of new experiences and to build my skill set.
I finished my postgraduate journalism course in 2008 and was incredibly lucky that I had already started working part-time at Nottingham Rugby, looking after all things PR and communications at the club, and was able to move into a full-time role after finishing my course.
I’d always wanted to work in an agency, but fell into an in-house role when jobs were really tough to come by, so I was really grateful to be able to build some experience one way or another.
Cartwright Communications had always been an agency I’d had my eye on because of its expertise within the property sector, but it took a couple more in-house roles and a year spent at another agency before joining the team here.
I remember at my interview being struck by how friendly everyone in the team was – and I wasn’t disappointed when I arrived!
I know it sounds like a dreadful cliché, but the real strength of the agency is the people.
We have grown considerably since I started here as we have extended our client base, developed new services and so on, but the supportive and collaborative team culture is something that we have never lost sight of and I think that really sets us apart.
As a PR account manager and then senior PR account manager, I really found this invaluable.
Working in an agency can be extremely demanding and stressful, so it’s really nice to know that the people around you are happy and willing to lend you an ear or a hand when you’re really struggling or just need a Friday gin to wind down the week!
Shaping your career
My family background is in property and development, so ultimately I knew that was where I wanted to specialise and Cartwright’s client list was a perfect fit for me.
As an account manager, my client portfolio was really varied and I was given the opportunity to try something a bit different – I have worked on everything from arts festivals to shopping centres, and plenty in between – but have also been able to really focus on what interests me as my career has progressed.
As an agency, we are very keen to ensure that you are given the opportunity to work on clients that you’re interested in where resource allows, so being able to take on more and more work in that sector was brilliant and has led to me being able to specialise virtually exclusively in property and construction as I have moved up through the ranks.
I have also been given the support to involve myself in numerous networking groups within the region’s property scene too, which has been something I’ve really enjoyed being given the autonomy to do.
It’s one of the great things about working here; you are given the freedom to spend time focussing on an area that interests you.
For me, it was networking and business development, but for other team members it’s digital training or focussing on marketing.
You have the option to shape your own career path with the guidance of the senior team.
Most recently, I was able to go on short-term secondment with a contractor to focus more on business development and build my skill set in a different area.
Being given the opportunity and support to do something like that was brilliant; I’m not sure there are many agencies where it would have been possible.
A great place to work
All employers will tell you it’s a great place to work; it’s the ultimate interview cliché along with not having interns just making tea (we don’t) or our culture isn’t just organised fun (it isn’t).
For me though, and this is why I have stayed here for five years, Cartwright really does have a lot to offer its team.
We have a broad range of different skills, interests and personalities within the team – and a supportive culture that is really well embedded, so you always feel there is someone you can lean on.
We also have a lot of fun (only some of which is organised!).
Career progression is also hugely important here.
I have been able to work my way up from account manager through to account director, specialise in an area I am really interested in and have been given the opportunity to really build up areas of my expertise that I have wanted to.
As an agency, we are very keen to invest in our staff – and I am proof of that.
We’re expanding and looking for an experienced PR account manager to join our friendly team in Nottingham.
If you’re an excellent writer and communicator, well organised, a team player, great at building relationships, and looking for your next challenge, we’d love to hear from you.
Please send your CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Annie Brafield
Annie is an expert in leading B2B and B2C accounts working across a range of sectors including property, retail, construction, professional services and the arts. She is creative and results-driven and builds excellent relationships with clients and journalists alike. Annie is also a qualified journalist.Contact