Meet the Team: From Mars to Neo PR

Meet the Team: From Mars to Neo PR

Since the beginning of the year, Neo PR has been recruiting for a number of roles, and onboarding some great new additions to the team. Meet Gemma, our new Account Director, who has been with us now for little over a month. Gemma takes us through her PR journey below – from supporting Beagle 2 and reacting to natural disasters, to now working in B2B tech PR with us! 

Supporting Beagle 2 

Like a lot of PRs my age, a career in public relations wasn’t something I’d planned on. In fact, when I studied ‘Art History’ at university, I really didn’t have a plan, just a love for the creative arts. Then I spent my holidays supporting Beagle 2, the British mission to land a rover on Mars. 

Celebrity engagement was at the heart of the Beagle 2 press strategy, so in my very first job, I was lucky enough to be picking up the phone not only to Blur and Damian Hirst, but also to the world’s media. I was right in the thick of it and I absolutely loved it. I also developed a brand new appreciation for science and technology, and in turn, I found my calling – science and technology PR. 

It’s not straying so far from the arts as you might think. It’s only when you’re in it that you realise how creative PR is, or can be. Whether it’s winning coverage with seemingly nothing, crafting compelling words, or thinking up a whole creative campaign from the drawing board to the revenue stream – PR is the art of persuasion, and it’s a fine one. Combine that with groundbreaking science and cutting-edge technology, and it’s a match made in career heaven. At least I think so, which is lucky for me.

Natural Disaster PR

So with this in mind, I spent a good few years in-house at The Open University, eventually leading its science and technology media profile. When the team wasn’t getting coverage for BBC co-productions, like the Attenborough-fronted Life and Frozen Planet, we were doing some very reactive PR around natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. The week the ash cloud went off, we had media experts on multiple news channels, all at the same time. 

I was ready to jump in at the deep end of the London agency scene, which was eye-poppingly exciting until eating dinner from a plastic M&S tub on the late train home suddenly looked like a life I was getting too old for. Ten years ago and pre-pandemic, the working world wasn’t sold on the idea of remote working. So I struck out freelance. It turns out an office in the countryside works very well indeed, an opinion Neo PR obviously shares; while many agencies post-pandemic are falling over themselves to offer their teams more flexibility, Neo PR’s already doing hybrid working with ease.

Life in the Countryside at Neo PR

Nestled deep in the Buckinghamshire countryside, you wouldn’t notice Neo HQ if you were cycling past, which oddly I often did. If I’d known what was hiding in those converted stables, I’d have emailed my credentials years ago. Because it’s not just hybrid working, a border collie and complimentary wellies that Neo PR does so well, it’s the product. 

Neo PR does for its clients exactly what it says on the tin: PR. So few agencies do this. Too many position themselves as a fashionably integrated solution and roundly succeed in being a ‘Jack of all trades’, master of none. 

You only need to look at the volume and quality of coverage Neo PR wins for its clients each month to know that these guys are masters of their profession. If you’re lucky enough to be a client of Neo PR, you will get exactly what you pay for – good, honest, impressive PR. That’s exciting. It’s no wonder the portfolio and the team’s expanding, and I’m genuinely thrilled to be a part of it.

To find out more about Gemma, you can follow her on Twitter here, or Linkedin here.

Gemma Bessant

Account Director