Arun is an Associate Director at Hope&Glory, a creative consumer comms agency based in London.
He first joined back in 2018, spending four years working on some of their largest clients including Sony, LinkedIn, American Airlines and Argos. After a year away at John Doe running the Guinness, Captain Morgan, Instagram and Tesco Mobile accounts, he’s now back, looking after a mix of drinks and lifestyle brands including Courvoisier, Makers Mark and NOW.
He gets his kicks from work that allows him to bring brands authentically into culture, using a mix of channels that meets audiences where they are.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Indian-Welsh-Israeli South Londoner
How did you get into PR/communications?
After graduating with a psychology degree and falling into teaching for three years, I decided it just wasn’t a long-term career for me. So I met a friend for coffee to find out what they did for work, got sold the PR dream and 10 months later (including two half-term internships) landed myself a job at a consumer agency called Dynamo.
I’ll forever be grateful to the founders of the agency, Paul Cockerton and Peter Bowles, who saw the potential in the ‘transferrable skills’ I kept banging on about and gave me the shot to career shift – I haven’t looked back since.
What do you love about your job?
Day to day, I get to work in a buzzy environment with smart people that are also my friends, on brands and campaigns that I would naturally engage with in my everyday life – that’s all pretty satisfying.
Agency life gives me the chance to work across a variety of accounts, which keeps things fresh and the fast pace means I’m constantly challenged and developing, which as a ‘life long learner’ is really key to me.
And ultimately, the most satisfying thing on any given day is seeing a plan materialise as coverage, content or an experience that people genuinely engage with.
What are you most proud of?
Being a dad to my incredible two-year-old girl, whilst managing to switch jobs and do award-winning work along the way.
Before parenthood, no one prepared me for the relentless challenge of fitting nursery runs, exercise routines, social commitments and everything else around demanding workdays that begin and end with childcare.
Forget that campaign that really flew, doing all of the above – and consistently doing it well – is the biggest win.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
To be a good client and team handler, you can’t please everyone.
Every personality test I’ve done tells me I like everyone to be happy at all times, but the more senior I’ve become, the less that’s been possible – or required in fact.
Clients hire us to be their strategic counsel, challenging them when we don’t agree with an approach and pushing them to be bold. Internal teams require you to be encouraging, supportive and defensive of them, whist also setting high expectations and having tough conversations when needed to make sure the job is getting done to the right standard.
I like to think I’ve found the right balance – being approachable and maintaining good relationships, whilst making sure sh*t gets done.
Who are your favourite people in PR and why?
I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people in my career so far, but someone that deserves a special shout out is an ex-colleague and good friend of mine, Sheeraz Gulsher. He’s not only a very bright PR, but has done some extremely impactful work in the DE&I space over the past few years.
He co-founded People Like Us, a community that champions and celebrates comms pros from ethnic minority backgrounds. He’s created and executed DE&I focused campaigns that have clearly pushed clients out of their comfort zone. He’s even lobbied the government to make ethnic pay gap reporting mandatory for companies across the country.
On top of that, he’s also a great connector that seems to know everyone. Need a job? Hit him up. Need a photographer? Hit him up.
Simply put, we need more people like him in the industry to help make the face of comms look more representative and appealing to people like us…
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
I once got told to “be a swan” and it’s never left me.
It’s about maintaining your calm – even if your feet are flapping wildly under the water, you should be seen to be gliding gracefully above. We work in a fast-paced and often frantic environment so it’s one of those skills I think everyone needs to learn, especially if you are client facing or manage others.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Instagram by a mile. I’m just here for the memes and enjoying my carefully curated sub-feed of dogs with punny names and unreleased house music.
I spend a fair but of time on LinkedIn too though, it’s a well of inspiration and useful information if you follow the right people + pages.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
I’ve listened to most episodes of Steven Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO. People often think it’s solely about business and leadership, but it really isn’t. My favourite episodes have taught me how to avoid distraction in our increasingly chaotic world, the importance of gut health and how to find fulfilment at work. The variety is a joy.
1Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Before Twitter (X) got terrible, I loved reading Caitlin Moran’s feed. She provides witty takes on current affairs and her op ed pieces for the Times are almost always spot on. They tend to make you question your own opinion on a topic – a sign of a great journalist.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t overthink it.
As someone that cares about the details, I used to struggle to finalise things because there’s always another way to write something, another build to a plan, another opinion to factor in.
One of my colleagues lives by the mantra of “what’s the worst that can happen?” and absorbing some of this energy has been a game-changer. Generally, nothing disastrous tends to happen.
Biggest PR campaign fail and yay of 2023 so far?
Yay – Heinz x Morley’s – If you haven’t lived in South London, you might not know about it, but I grew up on Morley’s – an ICONIC fried chicken shop that was an after school staple for most people of my generation.
The collab saw the two brands come together with a limited-edition fried chicken sauce and elevated menu, serving up everything from Heinz wings to desserts covered in Heinz Ketchup sherbert. It was all brought to life at a month-long pop at The Standard (one of London’s top bars) bringing two very distant worlds together in an unusually premium and fun way.
It’s one of those that isn’t aimed at everyone, but for those that know, it hits the absolute sweet spot of nostalgia and cultural relevance. And they had Chip perform at the launch party – 16 year old me couldn’t have asked for more.
Fail – I could reel off a list of campaigns that didn’t hit the mark with the message they were trying to land by either by being rooted in no insight or just being culturally insensitive, but there’s something that I just can’t ignore for this answer – blatant rip offs which are executed badly.
CGI campaigns blew up earlier this year, led by the likes of Jacquemus’ oversized handbags rolling through Parisian streets and Maybelline’s mascara wands adding volume to ‘eyelashes’ on London tubes. These went viral with good reason – they were produced a standard so high that people went looking for them in real life.
Following this has been a swathe of poorly generated copycats that add nothing new and could have been made by my toddler. It really irks me to see brands try and jump on a trend without putting the right thought or budget behind it – it does nothing but damage your brand reputation. The Kylie Cosmetics example I have in mind has been removed from most places it was posted –point proven.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
I have a number of thoughts on this, so let me try and be succinct:
1.Start at the top: Hire leaders from under-represented communities – it’s where the industry has a really glaring problem. We’ve all heard the saying, “people can’t be what they can’t see” – show others what’s possible and give them something to aspire to.
2. Work hard to attract people: Actively seek diverse talent at an intern/junior level and create a welcoming environment, giving them room to learn and grow instead of overwhelming them. Make sure they fall in love with PR because of their experiences, not run away from it.
3. Work harder to keep them: Keeping diverse talent in the industry is crucial and somewhere I think too many fail to focus efforts. Where most businesses aren’t set up with diversity in mind, bringing people in and not having the right processes, frameworks or a receptive culture in place can too often see hires simply not last. Understand and address the unique challenges they face and provide mentorship and support to help them feel they belong.
Connect with Arun Lloyd on LinkedIn.
Arun was awarded a place on The Xec. Leadership Scheme for UK-based Black, Asian, Mixed Race, and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros. He is part of the class of 2024.