In our Headliners series of conversations, we get under the skin of PR and communications leaders around the world who have made PRovoke Media headlines recently, uncovering what they see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for the industry, where they find inspiration (and how they switch off), what they’ve learned about themselves, as well as the creative campaigns they love and the work they are most proud of.

In this week's Q&A, we speak to industry veteran Andrew Bloch, whose latest venture is as non-executive chairman of new agency collective, Stakked, founded by Lizzie Earl. 

What are the greatest challenges and opportunities for the PR and communications industry over the next 12 months?

To run a successful business, agencies need to be more focused than ever on their margins. They need to ensure that their costs are in line with their revenue and protect their bottom line. There’s no point running an agency that isn’t profitable. The industry also needs to ensure it is moving forward, in terms of breadth of service offering and technological innovation. Standing still is not an option. In fact, if you’re standing still, you’re going backwards. Technological innovation and specifically AI will provide a huge opportunity for agencies. The key will be allowing top talent to collaborate with AI tools at scale and use the increased efficiencies it offers to pass on the value to clients by allowing them to invest their budgets into higher value work that gets the results.

What’s the best PR campaign you’ve seen recently and why?

I loved the ‘Flush Your Ex’ campaign from eco-friendly toilet paper brand Who Gives A Crap,. They launched it around Valentine’s Day and gave scorned lovers the opportunity to send in old love letters to be recycled into, as they put it, ‘something useful’. What’s not to love above something that is environmentally friendly and gives you closure! Simple, effective, very on-brand and generated a tonne of heavily branded coverage and no doubt sales.

What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?

I don’t actually have a team. When I started up my consultancy business, Andrew Bloch & Associates in 2020 I wanted to do things a bit differently, and that meant no staff! I have built a trusted network of the very best people in the industry and remain fiercely independent so that when people work with me, they can be confident that I will know just the right fit for their business – whether that’s an agency, freelancer, brand, celebrity or influencer. The achievements from people I’ve worked with in the past year are too many to mention, but it’s fair to say that I’m proud on pretty much a daily basis.

What have you learned about yourself over the past couple of years?

I’ve learnt the value of a strong network and how to use that to benefit myself and others commercially. I’m also really lucky to be able to work closely with some of the biggest and brightest minds out there and I’ve learnt so much from the people I work with, in particular Victoria Fox, CEO of AAR, Ben Doltis, founder of M&A firm PCB Partners, Howard Kosky founder of AFO Group and Lizzie Earl, CEO of Stakked. Their hunger, drive, relentless pursuit of growth and ambition to deliver meaningful change to move our industry forward has been inspiring to me. 

How do you switch off and maintain wellness?

I’m not very good at switching off. My girlfriend is teaching me to eat better, exercise more and switch off. It’s work in progress. 

What cultural source (eg book/podcast/movie/TV show/music artist) has provided creative inspiration for you lately?

Book: Die With Zero, Bill Perkins; podcast: Creator Playbooks with Callum McDonnell; movie: Wonka; TV show: The Gentlemen; music artists: Travis Scott, Taylor Swift, Kanye West.

If I wasn’t working in PR/comms I would be…