We meet Lysbeth Fox, Managing Director of luxury travel, wellness and gourmet agency Fox PR, whose portfolio of clients includes some of the most prestigious in the world. Prior to founding Fox PR, Lysbeth previously set up and ran PR companies and built specific travel & lifestyle divisions for some of the major players in the industry. During this time she provided high quality and strategic media campaigns to some of the best-known brands across the globe.
Starting from a consumer PR grounding, Lysbeth has worked across travel, health, food and FMCG within the luxury sector. Past clients have included Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition, which encompassed the prestigious Necker Island as well as the launch of Kasbah Tamadot. In 2008 she was responsible for the repositioning of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in the UK and across Europe. Working closely with the team in the US, she implemented strategic campaigns that resulted in high impact awareness for the brand across Europe.
Her background covers launching and repositioning new and existing companies and brands including her role as communications director at Jet Republic, a start-up private aviation company, where she was responsible for press and publicity in Europe across 21 countries, overseeing a team of 13 international agencies.During her time at Weber Shandwick, Lysbeth was responsible for launching one of the firm’s largest healthcare brands, after Weber Lysbeth was MD at Talk Luxury which meant a temporary relocation to Los Angeles. With over 20 years in the industry, Lysbeth is passionate about public relations –and not a day goes by that she doesn’t find something she loves about her work. Whether it’s meeting a new client, discovering a new destination or trend to finding a newsworthy angle that engages the press – she is tenacious, insightful, creative and an ardent proponent of the power of good PR.
Hi Lysbeth, we would like to start off by asking what inspired you to start a PR company?
With a career that has spanned over 20 years, I’ve worked with a wide range of companies, from small agencies to the big corporates. I’ve worked both in-house and on the agency side, set up PR companies for other people and specialist divisions that enabled the business to grow organically. Building on this, I wanted to put all this knowledge from every side of the PR spectrum into an agency that was ultimately under my leadership. Whilst working for other people offered a stability and certain comfort, I felt restricted in some areas of business and PR. I wanted to be able to inspire and empower my staff to create a business that we are all incredibly proud of and excited at the thought of coming in to work every day.
What is a typical day for you like?
I typically start off my day with exercise, then reading the papers and checking social /digital media channels, knowing what the news agenda is for the day and what’s trending. Depending on the day it could be a breakfast meeting with a journalist, pitching story angles to them, or a super smoothie with an editor in the world of wellness; I might be doing a ring round – which entails picking up the phone, YES picking up the phone and calling press contacts or emailing editors with new pitches or perhaps crafting a press release. Admin and responding to emails takes up a lot of the day; our clients have stakeholders to report to and so it’s important we are able to show the return of their investment from our PR efforts. We organise a lot of trips abroad with journalists and celebrities so that involves a fair amount of back and forth with editors and other publicists. And at least once a week we have a creative brainstorm with the team, ensuring we are on brand and driving news stories. Update meetings or brand strategy updates is an integral part of our client work. And then an invite to a launch or glamorous event is frequently a lovely way to end a busy day.
How important is the aspect of networking within PR?
Very. I’d say it’s a huge part of my day and week. Networking with journalists – whether it is meeting them to pitch stories directly or meeting at events – is very important, as it puts a face to the email which will encourage them to open my email amongst the hundreds they receive in their inbox every day. It’s great to meet new people that might impact your business, other industries that you might be able to cross-brand a client with or from which you can obtain ideas. So yes, networking is imperative to the day in the life of a PR.
How do you think PR benefits businesses?
PR benefits businesses by creating sales and raising brand awareness. PR creates a want that drives a consumer to purchase that particular product or service over and above a competitor. At Fox PR we are very creative, we spend a lot of time researching new trends, which in turn we advise our clients to incorporate into their offering. This will highlight the client’s product or service over and above their competitors; catch a journalist’s eye when looking for a news story or offer a reason to cover a certain topic.
Do you think with the rise of social media and the fact that small business owners can raise brand awareness through that channel could have a negative effect on a PR company?
Not at all, at Fox PR we empower our clients to do their own social media, we host workshops and give them the creative content that they can then upload to their own social media channels. Social media is brilliant for the client to interact directly with the consumer; why wouldn’t they want to be able to talk to their own customer? This gives them an opportunity to discover the experience of their brand or product and to continue engaging with the customer so they come back time and time again.
You have had over 20 years of experience, what would you say is the highlight of your career so far?
Oh my goodness that’s so hard, there have been so many. It’s probably owning and running my own company. The clients we represent are amazing and some of the best in their field, and our team is second to none – inspiring, creative, professional and extremely fun to be around. The daily challenge of running my own business is more rewarding than I could ever put down in words – even for a wordsmith!
Who has been the most exciting client to work with?
I’ve worked on so many clients in different sectors that it makes it another hard question to answer. Crisis management is adrenaline-fueled; knowing the inside scoop on a celebrity, Government or Corporation, yet trying to position the ‘crisis’ in a favourable light and managing the press intrusion, is truly fascinating and mind-blowing.
I’ve worked with some famous clients and been privileged enough to spend time with them on their private islands or luxury hotels. I think my favourite client have to be ones where we’ve created and built a brand where people start talking to you about it in conversations; when they don’t realise you are the one that’s responsible for putting the brand to where it is today. That gives me so much satisfaction and delight. There’s nothing like seeing a big feature in the media on your client, nothing.
What is the downside to a career in PR?
There’s not a definitive finish line. The reality is, it never ends… we can always come up with another idea to get our clients in the press, you can always know another journalist, pitch another story, it’s endless, but that makes it exciting as well.
Any tips for succeeding and building a career path in PR?
It may be simple, but read the papers and online sites, listen and watch as much TV & Radio as possible, and never neglect social media. It is of paramount importance to learn how each medium and publication differs in style to help you tailor your pitches and releases for each client. I would recommend to anyone thinking of going into PR to undertake some internships at a few agencies in different sectors or in-house in order to get a sense of what area they like and where to focus in their own career. You might find they don’t actually like working day-to-day on your hobby and better suited to a completely different area of expertise. Look at who’s representing the brands you like, or campaigns you think looks particularly interesting and innovative, and approach that agency to work with them. Flattery about a project they’ve done that’s caught your eye would be a good way in. Good luck!