In the first of our focused blogs on the Padua Communications team, we speak to Nicky Rudd, managing director and founder of the company.
How did you first get into PR?
I used to be a teacher and knew I didn’t want to do that forever so decided that I wanted to get into PR or advertising. Luckily one of the parents of someone in my tutor group was a very senior chief in advertising and he explained the difference between the two disciplines. I’ve always been more of a words person so PR it was! I talked my way into a PR agency and worked for free for the summer months to get some experience and then got a job in a London agency and it all started from there. I was very ambitious and at the time was commuting from Banbury into the Barbican so very early starts!! My first client was Adobe.
Why did you set up Padua Communications?
I was working at an agency that I didn’t think was offering very good customer service but was charging crazy rates. I thought I can do better than this. I was planning on leaving and then was made redundant so merrily skipped out of the building. By 10am on that first day, the company was born, logo designed and some of the copy written for the first website. I’d owned the company domain name for eight years so I think subliminally I always thought I’d do it. I just needed the timing to be right. I believe that things happen for a reason and I have learned a lot of lessons from both the good and bad experiences I’ve had. I definitely have a better understanding of the customer perspective, which underlies how we deal with customers at Padua Communications.
What clients have you worked with over the years?
So many! I’ve worked with large corporates and also start-ups and smaller businesses. I have lot of experience of working in tech and print PR and handled the PR for Fujifilm and Wacom for over 13 years. Working with the team at Fujifilm was great fun – we did a lot of international events and some great press trips. Sailing on the Solent and an international press party with a company called Spanner in the Works. Really great fun. We also worked with Brighter Option (now part of Buddy Media) so we learnt a lot about Facebook advertising. Then we’ve also worked with startups, where we get a real buzz of seeing how things we are suggesting have a massive impact. A lot of the things I enjoy about my job are the people I get to work with and also, because Padua Communications works across industries, I love learning about new clients and their markets and challenges. Also I love taking really technical jargon and making it simple to understand. I think that’s one of the best skills I’ve learnt over the years.
You’ve also worked on the other side of the fence as a journalist – how did that happen?
I was working at an agency where we had superb client retention, which is very unusual in the world of PR. Because I was working with the same clients and journalists, I thought I’d try something different to keep my skills fresh. I love working in PR and comms so knew I didn’t want to give it up so I thought turning it on its head would be interesting. With our clients, we didn’t do a lot of broadcast work so I thought I’d get some experience in TV and radio to make my skills a bit more rounded. I worked with the Media Trust making a couple of programmes for the BBC’s Learning Zone and then worked at BBC Radio Northampton, producing and presenting.
What qualifications do you have?
I have an English and French BA Honours degree from Southampton University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the Institute of Education at London University.
You do quite a bit of volunteering – which charities do you work with and why?
I’m a trustee at City YMCA in the Barbican and also volunteer regularly for Surrey Young Carers. I think giving something back to society is extremely important, as well as being immensely rewarding. I like working with charities that work with young people as I was extremely lucky and had a very supportive family. I was brought up to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to as long as I worked hard enough. A lot of the young people that I work with are doing adult jobs or facing adult situations as a young person but with no support. If I can help with that a little, then I think that’s a pretty good way of spending my time.
What fact do people not know about you?
I think a lot of people think they know quite a bit about me because I’m very open, but actually I have a very private side. Only a few people know that I was shortlisted to be the voice of the speaking clock a few years ago.
I spend time with people who make me happy. I take time to enjoy the little things in life and I write, think and listen to music a lot. Last year, I decided to do some creative writing to make a change from case studies and press releases. I wrote a play and it won a competition and now I’m going to make a short film about it. I love going to the theatre and that more than anything else helps me to relax.
You can follow Nicky on Twitter @nickyrudd01