SUCCESS: Adam Rutherford
GLAMOROUS PARTIES and networking with the rich and famous is often the typical perception of the world of public relations.
PR companies work behind the scenes with the media to enhance the reputation of a brand, a company or even an individual.
Adam Rutherford has made such an impact on the PR world that he says his company has an eight-figure turnover.
Rutherford is the chief executive officer of PRactice, a PR and brand-marketing agency. With more than a decade’s worth of experience in the industry, he has become one of the most recognisable names and faces in the field.
In his book,
The 37-year-old got into the industry almost by accident. After completing a BTEC Higher National Diploma business and finance management course, he thought his route would take him down the advertising path.
“I thought I was going to work in advertising, but advertising, like most industries, is very competitive and I couldn’t get a foothold in there,” he told The Voice.
So he began sending out his CVs to public relations companies and managed to secure a job as a PR assistant at Vexed Music PR.
“I didn’t really know much about PR at that time when I left college, but I touched on it in my studies.
“It was only when I started working and got a real taste of what it’s about that I thought it was much better suited to my personality,” he said.
Rutherford was to make such an impression with his bosses with his ideas and creativity, that it did not take him long to work his way up the career ladder.
He joined EMI/Parlophone records where he played a major role in launching the career of r’n’b singer Jamelia.
“She was a new artist, and the thing with Parlophone at the time is that we had very well established artists like Blur and Supergrass, and a lot of their budgets were going on those artists.
“Jamelia at the time for them was a bit of a wildcard, as she was an unknown artist at the time,” he said.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, he worked hard to catapult Jamelia into the public sphere.
“I got her a full page in the lifestyle publication Dazed and Confused, and we built on it from there,” he said.
Eight UK top 10 hit singles, three albums, four MOBO awards and six Brit nominations later, Adam is pleased with the success that Jamelia has achieved.
“One of my strongest skills was taking something quite niche and bringing it to the mainstream. You’re pushing and selling someone and blowing it up that it becomes a part of public culture,” he said.
Rutherford made his mark handling accounts such as the Queen’s Jubilee celebration, the Prince’s Trust Urban Music Festival and Tommy Hilfiger, to name a few.
He decided the time was right for him to strike out on his own after being approached by up and coming businesses and brands to help with their PR.
“I thought to myself it was now or never,” he said.
Utilising the contacts that he had made over the years, he managed to get office space for his business, and began working hard to develop it.
“It was a very hands-on job. I did all the junior jobs like newspaper cuttings, and when you’re running a small company it’s all hands on deck - there’s no time for hierarchy,” he said.
Soon he was representing a wealth of clients, including 50 Cent, Kanye West, Vivica A. Fox, former tennis star Anna Kournikova and brands such as L’Oreal and Nokia.
“We concentrated on many different areas; we did a lot of music, consumer brands, and celebrities.”
In five years he went on to turn his dream into a profitable business.
“You don’t really have time to take it in as a black man in this business. I have done exceedingly well but in terms of my peers its kind of average. The thing about doing well is that you keep going,” he said.
Despite his successes, he says black people still face barriers getting into senior roles.
“I would love to see more black men involved in PR. In the 14 years that I’ve been in the industry, two black men other than myself were working in senior levels at PR,” he said.
He said while there are a lot of perks such as chauffeur driven transport around London, dining at the best restaurants, free clothes, parties and travel on private jets, the best is making a brand or an individual a resounding success.
“When you can see a brand or a person become successful because of the work that you do, that ticks the boxes,” he said.
He is currently concentrating on developing ways to expand his business and make even more money.
“Over the next five years it’s about continuing to grow and doing really good work for my clients, and working on giving back to the community,” he said.