5 Questions With ... Rosie Shephard

Briony Sturgis

The Launchmetrics 5 Questions With... interview series provides a way to connect industry leaders from the fashion, luxury, and beauty industries, and gives a platform for them to share their best advice and expertise. For this episode of the series, we spoke with Rosie Shephard, Founder of the Luxury Communications Council, and Shephard Communications.

With 17 years of luxury brand experience, a superb network and a holistic view of the luxury industry, Rosie is well placed to advise on everything from brand positioning and messaging, visual representation and communication and marketing strategies. Current Shephard Communications clients include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Diageo, The Mandrake Hotel, and The Other House (launching June 21). Prior to founding Shephard Communications, Rosie was the Global Head of Communications for Rocco Forte Hotels, overseeing the consumer strategy for the eleven-hotel properties as well as the companies’ corporate reputation and profile of the Forte family. Rosie is also a regular contributor to the Evening Standard and The Independent, two of the UK’s leading newspapers and websites.

Interview with Rosie Shephard, Founder of the Luxury Communications Council, and Shephard Communications

1. What do you love most about your job?

As the founder of the Luxury Communications Council, and Shephard Communications, no two days are the same. This morning I was with the Soho House Group chatting and doing an event in one of their spaces at 180 House in London. This afternoon, I'm going to be with the Buckingham Palace lot, we’ll be looking after PR for the Jubilee. It's all very exciting and very diverse, which I love! I'm constantly learning with the Luxury Communications Council, and we're always across all trends as well as what new, exciting things brands are doing - which I absolutely love. It really keeps the job interesting. 

2. How has the industry changed since you started your career?

So I started my career back when we were sending out press releases by fax… that's how old I am - I mean, I was an intern back then, but it was back in the day. So naturally, it has changed a lot. Obviously the digital revolution has been amazing to observe, and we actually really pride ourselves on keeping up with the changing times. But it does get tough sometimes though, every time you create a sort of 360 degree campaign you have to rethink it 10 minutes later. But it's amazing to watch, and it's a really exciting time to be working in this tech revolution.

3. What lessons have you learned from these new virtual worlds that we've had to adapt to?

Watching people adapt during this time has been, I mean, really inspiring. It's actually amazing the human capacity to adapt so often and quickly. From a comms perspective, I think the brands who have adapted to doing things in a more local way have really been the winners - whether that's adapting campaigns to be more local or working with local influencers and people. It has been very interesting to see, it really goes to show that the brands can be really nimble, and don’t have so much of a corporate approval structure.

And you know, Great Britain, we've got a really good sense of humor. So whilst we have been tragic, we've also laughed at the lockdown side of things, and some things that have been fun and amusing, entertaining, as well as educating.

We've actually had the Luxury Communications Council run their first phygital event, which was at Nobu, London. We had all the speakers in person but a digital audience, which was really funny to do [this sort of combination] we'd never thought we'd do it! We've had to do lots of online events, which has actually worked out really well and widened our audience demographic past London, which is fantastic. So, we've all adapted and I think there are some really good, positive things that have come out of it.

3. If you had a magic wand and could create one tool that would help your company operate better, what would it be?

In public relations, your contacts are your currency and so storing those in a really amazing, comprehensive way is really important. I'm sure there are some sales tools which do this, but I haven't yet found one that's really PR friendly, in which you can put all the notes from contacts and you can sort of show linear partnerships of where people are and who knows who. Almost like a spider deck diagram of how people know people and how you know them, along with notes about them and that sort of thing. So that would be really helpful if you wouldn't mind creating it at Launchmetrics, please!

4. What is one tip that you would give to your younger self?

There's one tip that I really live by - I guess, mantra that I live by - which is "If not now, when?" What that means is don't procrastinate. If you don't do it now, when are you going to do it? Chances are it's just a little task that's come onto your desk that you probably want to push away for next week. 

The little things or big things, if you don't start the company, if you don't do that project, you don’t do that campaign, when are you going to do it? If you don’t. somebody else will. Or the time will pass and it will not be relevant to the times. If something comes to your desk that you just really don't want to do, if you think about procrastinating, chances are something bigger is going to come on your desk later, so If not now, when? Just bloody get on with it!

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Rosie shephard

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