Natalie Phillips

Assistant PR & Social Media Manager - Marks and Spencer

What is your proudest professional achievement?

(Other than this of course), has got to be the success of M&S Food's 2024 Easter campaign which I led across PR and social. As well as managing the PR, including various pun filled press releases which landed 137 media articles, I also implemented a seeding strategy where I gifted 25 influencers and celebs an Easter themed creative mailer (a very cute bunny shaped box filled with some of our amazing Easter products) which generated over 20 pieces of social coverage, which reached over 5.2 million people. As a result, we saw an increase in sales on some of the products included in the mailer.

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

Social media plays a really important part in my role at M&S. Our lead platform is Instagram, where we post exciting food/event/campaign content. From a PR perspective, we use social media reactions to new products/campaigns to generate news stories such as 'shoppers go wild', where we include views, engagement figures and positive comments in media alerts to consumer press to drive coverage and buzz.

What’s the secret to good client agency relationships

At M&S, we treat our agencies as if they are part of the team, not an outside source. We strongly believe they should feel like an extension of the team, therefore we ensure regular meetings and check ins are in the diary and always keep them updated on campaigns and key activity across the business. I also believe communication, honesty and realism are key to maintaining good client/agency relationships. Being realistic about tasks and targets and being clear on objectives is so important in making the best use of their time and to get the best possible results.

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

One thing I would change about the comms industry is the perception from the outside looking in. I would love for people to have a deeper understanding of what it means to work in the industry - from the outside it looks full of glam events, mixing with celebs, champagne and caviar etc, however there is A LOT of hard work that goes on day to day and behind the scenes that isn't glam. I would like to see an element of realism presented to show this side of the industry as we always show the end product but we don't show what it takes to get there‚ the hard graft!

What is the motto you live by?

The motto I live by, which I say multiple times a week is 'what a time to be alive'. Every day in PR at M&S is so different and you literally never know what you're going to get. It's unexpected and exciting and of course has ups and downs but there is nothing else I could ever see myself doing. I started out at M&S in food product development and took a huge leap to join the PR team and I've genuinely never looked back. I say it in a way of being appreciative and grateful of everything my career has given me and for the team taking a chance on me.