The world of marketing: we chat to Mark Stringer founder of PrettyGreen

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We had a chat with the founder of PrettyGreen, Mark Stringer to find out more about the marketing agency, how they work, who they have worked with at what drives them to be the best?

1. For anyone who doesn’t know, what is PrettyGreen?

We’re a marketing agency, that focuses in entertainment, sport and wellness sectors delivering Experiential and Content led PR. Creating brand fame for brands such as Nintendo, NBC, Virgin Media, Under Armour, MaxiMuscle, Nando’s and John Lewis to name but a few.

2. What inspired you to come up with the idea of your business?

From the earliest age, I’d always wanted to run my own business but was never sure what that would be.

Back in 2008 I’d reached a junction in my life where I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but knew it was time for a change.

I’d become disillusioned with the traditional agency model so I parted company with my previous agency business partners and a client at Red Bull asked whether I would become an in-house consultant 3 days a week, with the other 2 days being able to do my own thing in their offices. 

I realised during this time that the thing I wanted more than anything was to be my own boss, which closes lots of doors.

I was incredibly fortunate that my client at Red Bull at the time, along with the MD, in many respects persuaded me that setting up my own agency was the answer and we worked together over a number of months to see what that would look like 

3. What’s your USP?

PrettyGreen is about creating life-defining moments for our clients and ourselves. It’s a drive that ensures that we’re constantly pushing the boundaries. 

But alongside that, and possibly more importantly is the belief that PrettyGreen was set up to enable me, and everyone in the agency to do the things they’ve always dreamed of.

4. How do you bring brands and ideas to life?

The world of PR has dramatically changed and the tools we use to get people talking are incredibly diverse, from experiential, stunts, parties, ambassador and influencer programmes, social media campaigns, product placement, sponsorship amplification, press office, short and long form content. 

The tactics we employ really depend on the brief. 

5. What awards have you won?

Last year, I think we won another 12 awards across PR, Experiential and Social. Awards aren’t what drives the agency, it’s the instinctive gut feel you have knowing that the work is good enough. 

6. How did your come up with your own brand name?

I spent months thinking about names. I must have come up with 1000’s and I’m not actually sure what got me to PrettyGreen. I know it had something to do with the song (and if you’re wondering we launched before Liam announced his clothes label) but when I said it, it felt right and when I asked my wife what she thought, she gave it a thumbs up so went with it.

7. What failures have you had on your business journey? How have you overcome them?

I’ve definitely had more failures than successes that I remember. Bizarrely you don’t learn from winning (you actually rarely even celebrate winning).

But if you’re smart and driven you learn from your losses. You think to yourself things like; that was stupid, didn’t see that one coming, I’ll never do that again.

Experience doesn’t make you any smarter, it just makes you wiser. Your horizons have much more depth so you can spot a problem coming.

I really beat myself up about failures, whether directly or indirectly my fault. I believe it’s my role to put the team in place to always win. It’s what drives me. 

So, when we fail at something I spend a long time picking over the bones on my own and with the teams trying to identify what we learned.  

8. What’s been the best achievement of the company so far?

Probably for me it was winning New Agency of the Year about a year after opening the door. It was nice for the team to be recognised by the industry. 

9. Where do you hope, the business will go in the future?

I always hoped more than anything that as we grow we can keep our culture. I often joke about us becoming the world’s largest boutique agency. 

(And yes, we are exploring opening offices in a couple of countries). 

10. Do you have any advice for someone who may be thinking about starting their own business?

Three pieces of advice:

  • It’s never a good time. Sometimes you just need to do it. What’s the worst that can happen. You fail, learn lots and go back to doing what you were doing before! 
  • Ensure you have a “partner” to support you through the very darkest hours. That doesn’t always have to be someone in the office, it might be a friend, parent, husband, wife, etc. It’s impossible to do it alone. 
  • Enjoy the ride, the destination isn’t the reason for doing it. The joy comes from crafting your business (team, brand, product etc.) and you need to learn to love it. 

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