#CarbonLIVE meets: Laura Ronnie Nelson

Say hello to PR, marketing and influencer guru Laura Ronnie Nelson…

She’s worked in PR for the likes of H&M, Marks & Spencer, VeryExclusive and Office Shoes, and now runs her own influencer agency managing Belle & Bunty, Ellis Ranson and Kelly Harrington. It’s safe to say Laura Ronnie knows her stuff.

So naturally we were BEYOND excited when Laura agreed to come on board CarbonLIVE as our event mentor, helping us secure everything from goodie bag prizes to planning our venues and engagement strategy.

We caught up with Laura to get the inside track on her career path, her day to day job, and what it means to be a part of #CarbonLIVE…

Where did you do internships and what did you find most valuable about them?

I interned at the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, an independent magazine, the Warehouse marketing team and in the M&S press office.  The most valuable thing about interning is the insight you gain into the industry.  It is really important to watch and listen to see how the teams work and to gain a true understanding of how a press and marketing department operates.  Doing this will help you easily fit into your first paid role and you’ll hit the ground running.   

You’ve worked in PR at Marks & Spencer, H&M, Office and VeryExclusive –  how do you think the industry has changed throughout your career?

When I started out ten years ago, blogging was in it’s infancy and Instagram wasn’t even a thing!  Social media has made the biggest impact on the industry and the way people consume fashion media is much more fast-paced and instant.  Trends move quicker, consumers are more impatient and brands are now able to market directly to their consumer, where in the past they needed to do this through publications. 

Why did you make the jump from traditional PR to influencer marketing?

I noticed that more and more of the PR budgets within brands was being spent on influencer marketing or influencer activity and at the same time I watched a number of high profile publications close.  I recognised that the media landscape was changing fast and knew I needed to diversify in order to stay relevant within the world of fashion media.  

Who are the influencers you represent and how do you work with them?

At Laura Ronnie Management we work with our influencers to help them delve their channels and connect them with brands and secure commercial partnerships which are relevant to the influencers audience. We currently represent 12 influencers who work within the fashion, beauty, interiors and lifestyle field: Reena Simon, Aaron Carlo, Fran Bacon, Belle & Bunty, Lisa Potter-Dixon, Jonathan Barakat, Kelly Harrington, Alex Light, Gemma Hardiman, Ellis Ranson, Daniel Webster and Alexandra Fullerton.

Can you describe your average day?

I check my emails first thing before even getting out of bed and reply to anything urgent.  I look at each of my influencers channels and engage with their content.  I often have a breakfast meeting in Soho House with a PR to discuss potential collaborations with our talent.  I then head into our office where I have a quick update meeting with our Talent Manager about any issues or concerns we have.  I also catch-up with our Social Media Exec about what content we will be posting on the agency Instagram in the coming week. I then spend the day doing a mixture of pitching our talent out to brands, working with our influencers to plan their creative and plot their posting schedule and also sending performance insights back to brands to show how well a campaign worked.  We are a start-up business and have a very small team, so I have to look after everything from HR, facilities management to accounting!  

What advice would you give to students entering the industry now?

Be willing to diversify!  Stay on top of emerging technological and social media trends in order to stay relevant!  

What key skills do you need to work in PR/marketing?

You need to be a good communicator, think outside the box, have great organisational skills and be persuasive!   But most importantly you need to be memorable!

How do you go about building contacts and how do you maintain them?

Try to find something in common with everyone you meet.  Remember their birthdays, children’s names, where they went on holiday!  The people you will be talking to will receive hundreds of emails a day, so you need to stand out and try and give them a reason to remember you and then nurture them. 

Is there a moment in your career you’re particularly proud of?

I’m really proud of lots of moments! Launching the David Beckham x H&M Swimwear collection with a big star-studded party in London, hosting a Very Exclusive Press & Influencer trip to Coachella, but the thing I’m most proud of is taking the risk to set-up my own business focusing on influencers at a time when the industry still wasn’t 100% sure they would be sticking around.  Almost 3 years on and we’re still here! 

What challenges do you come across in your work?

The biggest challenge is the uncertain nature of the influencer world and the nervousness some brands have about investing in influencer activity.   Influencer marketing has proven to be hugely successful for brands and is one of the first marketing mediums that is completely tangible in terms of commercial return of investment. However, some more traditional brands are slower at getting on board than others. Another challenge the industry faces is the ever changing Advertising Standards Authority regulations and ensuring the agency and all of its talent are constantly up to date with the rules of brand partnership declarations and are legally sound and transparent with their audience the working with a brand.  

What do you think students will learn about the industry from planning CarbonLIVE?

Planning CarbonLIVE is going to prove invaluable for the students.  Planning an event in theory is definitely useful, but it isn’t until you have to actual execute your plan that you realise all of the potential challenges that you may be faced with.  It will teach the students how to be prepared and also how to crisis manage.  Hosting an event takes an awful lot of work, particularly something on the scale of CarbonLIVE, so it is no mean feat!  I think the students will feel a great sense of achievement and find a new love for event planning once they see their audience enjoying the brilliant events they have produced! 

An enormous thanks to Laura Ronnie who has helped us on the CarbonLIVE journey – we couldn’t have done this without you!