Meet Paul Barlow

Hi Paul, what’s in the mug?

A caramel cappuccino or (if I am being good) a ginger tea.

What’s your story? What inspired you to take the reins of the business in 2010 with Cathy? PR is quite different from your past careers!

I had just retired from 28 years with Stockport Youth & Community Service. In a former life, I was an Electrical Engineer and certainly didn’t want to go back to it! So, together we decided to take a risk and buy what was a highly-regarded but fading PR agency.

Although I didn’t know the language and intricacies of PR, I had spent most of my working life advocating on behalf of young people and communities. In other words, creating PR opportunities for young people to present themselves as the future of adult society. My skill set complemented Cathy’s, she knew about PR. I knew how to run an office and department. We were and are a “match made in heaven”.

You’re certainly the dream team! So, what’s the secret to running a successful PR agency?

It’s partly the same as in any industry you can think of: good customer service… no job should be too much trouble. Don’t be afraid to give your opinion to clients. Sometimes, they may not like what you say but that’s what they hired you to do. You just have remember that the client makes the final decision.

Finally, only work with people who make you happy and behave respectfully (both clients & staff). It costs nothing to be nice and life’s too short to work with people who drain the energy out of you.

If someone’s wondering whether SG’s going to be the right agency for them, what would you say?

Come and talk to us first. Once potential clients meet us, they can feel our enthusiasm for the industry and the knowledge we have built up over the years. Our aim is always to establish long-term working relationships and make ourselves part of our client’s team.

And who would you say we’re not a good fit for?

You asked, here goes! We don’t do fluffy PR. We won’t spend your money taking you out for fancy dinners. We have to start from a position of trust. If you don’t start off with some degree of faith in us and the process, then that sets us both up for a negative working relationship, which no one wants. Mutual honesty, understanding, respect and passion are the backbone of any great working relationship.

Describe yourself at work in three words:

Approachable, direct, meticulous.

You just like to get the best results! What about at home?

Romantic, stubborn, chilled.

Any hobbies?

I have a vast music collection, which I love to sort through, rearrange and make playlists from. I’m an ardent season ticket holding supporter of Manchester City. I’ve been a rock climber for over 25 years, more fair weather than hard core these days. I also love a good film or box set, especially fantasy, Marvel type stuff.

Who or what inspires you?

My wife, Cathy. She is my best friend. She is the Polly Anna to my Eeyore, the Ying to my Yang. We balance each other out. We work together, play together and plan the takeover of the PR-Construction world together.

Any final words or words of wisdom to sign out with?

Perception is everything!

Only ask the question, if you really want to know the answer!