Kirsty Leighton | CEO | Milk & Honey PR

Milk & Honey PR: Disrupting the PR Space with a Customer-centric Approach

“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” British business magnate Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group has aptly put the importance and necessity of public relations in any business. However, just as other businesses every PR firm comes with unique approaches and offerings that make them stand out from the competition.

Milk & Honey PR based in London, UK stands out for its passion for creativity and people-first approach in service. A brainchild of Kirsty Leighton, Founder and CEO, Milk & Honey PR is known for paving the path of success for its clients which has helped the company establish its name in top PR firms in the UK.

Read the following interview where Kirsty shares how her zest for creating something of her own led to Milk & Honey PR and how the company has thrived since its inception now aiming to widen the company’s reach to support the success of more individuals and businesses post-pandemic.

Please brief our audience about Milk & Honey PR, its USPs, and how the company is currently positioned as a leading player in the PR and Marketing space.

I founded Milk & Honey PR in 2017 to create a land of opportunity where PR is done differently. Here, we start with people, not numbers. Passion and creativity are prized, and we always go the extra mile for our clients.

In practice, this looks like a range of things. In 2019, we set ourselves apart by becoming one of the first five PR agencies to earn B Corp status – a celebration of companies operating to the highest environmental and social standards. Last year we earned accreditation to Investors in People, putting us in the top two percent of companies.

We see these things as the baseline, not the gold standard. We bring this dedication to our clients and achieve industry recognition for over 90 percent of those who we’ve worked with for over a year.

What other services does your company offer, and how are these making an impact on the industry and your clients?

Along with our award-winning PR services, our team also brings an award-winning element to our digital campaigns. Recently, we were shortlisted for the ‘Best Use of Content Marketing in a Campaign’ award from the PRCA Digital Awards, reflecting our team’s constant commitment to bringing the best value to our clients.

We know that PR is not a vacuum, so we don’t just work to get results for our clients, but we change the wider industry as well. With this in mind, we have committed to reaching out to our former schools, working with inner-city groups, diversity charities, and starting our webinar series. All of this is to reach 250 diverse individuals and support their success in PR by 2025.

Brief us about your journey in the PR and Marketing industry, and how you have contributed to the company’s success.

Before founding Milk & Honey PR, I was an MD at Hudson Sandler. Their client list was enviable and my time at the agency was extremely exciting, but secretly I yearned to do something on my terms. That’s why I started Milk & Honey PR. I wanted to create a land opportunity where people come first, and our clients are celebrated. With this mindset, the agency has grown from one to 31 internationally in just four years.

We’ve managed this growth by involving all of our team in a shared goal. After two years, everyone is eligible to become a co-owner, giving them a stake in the way the business is run. But we also invest back in our team.

In 2020, we gained accreditation to Investors in People, putting Milk & Honey PR in the top 1.5% of businesses in the UK. It is because of this that we have managed to create an atmosphere where our team can grow and thrive together.

Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on what impact have the adoption of modern technologies such as AI, big data, and machine learning had on the PR and Marketing niches and what more could be expected in the future?

Over the last year, we have seen a massive impact technology has had on our industry. Those of us who have been able to handle the transfer to remote working has been able to thrive in the pandemic. But what’s most impressive is how this has impacted global client relationships. Remote workers aren’t add-ons anymore and client relationships have become much easier on a global basis.

With future technology, I can only expect this trend to continue. The physical distance between us and our clients may not close, but closer communication, better conference software, video networking, and data sharing will all power the industry forward.

Taking into consideration the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?

We have managed to not only survive in the pandemic but also thrive. This is because we put our people first. At the beginning of the first lockdown, we instituted grants to purchase 17 pieces of furniture to build home offices across the country. We knew we were in this for the long run, and our team needed to be as comfortable as possible in their new home offices. From ergonomic chairs and desks to new computers, we made sure they had what they needed.

The difficulty for us, like most agencies, was keeping a sense of community going. We didn’t want anyone feeling isolated in lockdown, so we doubled our teams’ connections, began a monthly book club, started morning yoga sessions, and even hosted a Milk & Honey gameshow or two to raise money for our charity partner.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the PR and Marketing space?

No one knows everything when they first start in PR, and no one expects you to. Spend as much time as you can with senior PRs and think about what you want to learn from each account that you’re on, how you can get there, and who can help you.

Most importantly, come with the right attitude. People related to people. Showing that you’re keen, capable, and ready to get stuck in will get you at least halfway to where you need to be.

How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2021?

In 2021, we launched our new purpose offer. The model will be led by our own Fiona Gildea and will work with our established Purpose Academy. Reaching out the offer to our current retainer clients first, we will encourage and facilitate them to rewire their business model to combine sustainable growth and a purpose agenda.

Many of our clients already have the values and desire to begin this journey, but they don’t know how to turn these values into action. As consultants, it’s our job to help them on this journey.

Exhibiting excellence

“BigCommerce has worked with Milk & Honey since BigCommerce opened a UK office in July 2018 – and they have been instrumental in helping build our brand awareness locally.”

 – Rachael Genson, senior PR manager, BigCommerce

“Working with Milk & Honey PR has been a joy. They have far exceeded our expectations. In fact, the very first story they landed on was the online top story in WIRED. Since then, we have been in The Metro, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Mirror, Daily Star, Which? and Love Money regularly.”

– Olof Karp, PriceSpy head of business development