Julia Sammons

Account Director - Ogilvy PR

How are you using AI in your role at present?

A lot, it's a game-changer for aiding creativity and efficiency. This technology will shape the world around us, not to mention our industry, more than any other innovation in recent history. At Ogilvy, we have access to an AI platform which integrates different tools and makes sure all information submitted stays secure. I'm only scratching the surface in its applications, but it's my go-to starting point for everything from competitor analysis to copywriting. The first time I used it, it felt like a watershed moment. How I imagine people in the 90s felt sending their first emails! 

Which social media platform do you use more than others, and why? 

I love Reddit. It's not just a 'nerdy' corner of the internet, it's a really underrated resource for PRs. If you want to know what people are saying about almost any topic you could think of, then look no further. It's one of the first places I go to seek out zeitgeisty strategic insights. Some brands have entire sub-Reddits dedicated to them, so overlook those at your peril. Not to mention, when I'm doing a risk assessment on an influencer or celebrity, it's an excellent jumping off point for investigating scandals. Tools like Newswhip have made harnessing the power of 'the front page of the internet' so much easier as well. 

What's the secret to good client/agency relationships? 

Creativity first: always. That's one of the reasons why I feel so at home at Ogilvy. In an industry where we have 'Creative' as a job title, it's easy to think that being creative is someone else's job. But it isn't. No matter how big or small the challenge, there's a different way to think about it so always try to apply a creative lens to it. All it takes is thinking "how can I do this better" and you're already on your way to improving your work and the client/agency relationship. 

If you could change any one thing about the comms industry, what would it be? 

The industry is going in the right direction when it comes to representation, but there's a long way to go. I'm very passionate about social mobility. I mentor through The Promise Foundation to support an aspiring PR of the next generation. I have also volunteered as a mentor for Lancaster University, which has one of the highest proportions of state-educated students in the UK. I find it so rewarding and I'd encourage others to mentor too. With big systemic challenges, creating change can feel overwhelming. Start small, see if you can be that difference in one person's life. 

In your view, how can PR employers better retain talent? 

Particularly in the early stages of your PR career, progression feels like the most important thing, climbing up the ladder, getting the next promotion. That's so important, but there's sometimes an over focus on that instead of more rounded development. Employers who allow employees the flexibility to commit to training, development and opportunities outside of their immediate day job will be the ones who succeed at talent retention. I've personally been so lucky to lean into my passions and shape my career this way.