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Research Case studies

Anthony Caton: AC-PR

What is AC_PR?

AC-PR is a PR and marketing communications consultancy geared towards providing cost effective services in commercial, lifestyle, art, fashion PR and Marketing, based in Leeds.

Tell us about AC-Creative Boutique

AC-Creative Boutique is a flexible and integrated creative outlet focused towards providing a diverse range of creative personnel, producers and components for advertising, art/design and editorial based assignments for business start-ups, medium and larger organisations. Across our whole team, there are 25 individuals involved, ranging from: PR executives, graphic/ web designers, photographers, illustrators, video producers and photographers, make-up artists and art directors. We created this division of our business to enable larger and smaller businesses to deliver their corporate messages through a variety of mediums while creating different sensory experiences for their stakeholders using a variety of media platforms and points of engagement.

These two sides of the business allow us to be more responsive and flexible as the media landscape is changing at a fast pace. We use traditional and contemporary media tools to disseminate messages on behalf of our clients. Since founding the business, I have worked with brands such as the NHS, the MOBOs, Evisu, Ed Hardy and Swedish cosmetics house Or-Flame.

What are you currently working on?

AC-PR & Creative Boutique is currently working on an internal communications assignment for the NHS in Manchester, which is a combination of communications and capturing still/moving image. We’re also working with a prolific artist (of over 40 years) of the name Marcus Levey, on his behalf, we are delivering an integrated marketing campaign using traditional platforms and social media channels to present his artwork and accessories.

Can you describe a typical day?

At our organisation, there is no such thing as a typical day; everyday is different as we are usually working on a few different projects. The day does usually begin at 6:30 where I usually check our emails and social media accounts and get up to date with current news and trends and media opportunities for our clients and ourselves.

Depending on what campaigns we are working on we will be communicating via different media channels to disseminate messages collaborating with media outlets, which are both online and offline. It doesn’t stop here: we meet our clients regularly to update them on their campaigns and marketing opportunities. As well as working closely with our clients and developing strategies for them, we make documentaries, photographic campaigns (for our fashion clients) and run events. It is not uncommon for the day to begin at 6:30 am and end the following day at 2am, we work very hard!

What inspired you to start up?

During my first year at university I did a work placement at one of the biggest PR consultancies in the city. While I was there I observed how the different departments and individuals worked together and thought that I could do this myself at a very small scale. Fast-forward to the summer and I had written my business plan and then launched my business at the beginning of the second year of university. It was a funny time as most of my peers didn’t understand what I was doing and didn’t take me seriously in the beginning. I was lucky enough to employ myself during my sandwich year and during my final year I approached Business Start-up for advice and successfully applied for their £1000 Proof of Concept grant which I used on promotional activities and a website. After graduating from BA (Hons) Public Relations in 2010, I was the only student from my year to become self-employed.

One of the highlights of my experience so far was being invited back to Leeds Beckett University to deliver a guest-lecture on Entrepreneurship and Public Relations to the MA PR students.

My advice to anybody thinking of starting a business is to do your research before hand and find your niche (it is very hard to please everybody). Also, take yourself seriously when others look at you within the confines of their own abilities. And of course, invest in some good PR *smiles*.

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