Meet the Expert: Susan Brownlow, PR Consultant & Media Relationship Specialist

With a strong grasp on an ever-changing media landscape, Susan’s little black book of contacts and an innate understanding of what journalists are looking for, she regularly brings home the editorial coverage for our campaigns.

How has your PR and marketing journey grown?

Having been on that road for 30+ years, it’s certainly been a long one. I started my career in what can be now regarded as the heyday of advertising, later transitioning on to the client side, so giving me good insight into the workings of both agencies and in-house PR departments. That knowledge, along with many years of working on big international campaigns has ensured that I am rarely prescriptive in my approach, preferring to be open-minded as to the possibilities. I’ve never believed in spin, and think the way to be successful in delivering media coverage, is to treat journalists like individuals and never waste their time. You need to approach the right ones with the right story, be direct, honest and work to their timetable.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Scoring a hit with journalists! In what is a very competitive environment, I like the accomplishment in taking meaningful news or an important story and seeing it reported.

What’s your favourite brand and why?

Who Gives a Crap toilet tissue! Rather than made of paper from trees (which are desperately needed for carbon capture), the tissue is made from bamboo, a fast-growing and sustainable source. There’s also no plastic, with packaging fully recyclable. They also donate an amazing 50% of profits to providing access to toilets and clean water in the developing world. And they deliver my rolls quarterly so I don’t even have to lift a finger to lug them home.

The future workplace is evolving – what do you think businesses need to focus on in the next few months?

Making working practices more sustainable – both from a carbon emissions viewpoint and also by advancing the circular economy, particularly with regards to plastics. We have already surpassed the opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5°C – and to stand a 50/50 chance of keeping it below 2°C by mid-century, we need everyone to play their part.

What are the major challenges to tackling Net Zero and how do you overcome them?

There are so many hurdles that need to be overcome, so I’m just going to focus on one: we desperately need to increase the rate at which we plant trees – they are currently the only scalable carbon capture strategy. And it comes with additional benefits for biodiversity, wildlife and flood management.

What green products/services do you use/like/recommend?

As well as the aforementioned Who Gives a Crap, I like the Ecover and Method household cleaning products, EcoZone dishwasher tablets, wood pellet biodegradable kitty litter, Responsible Owner doggie poop bags, biodegradable rubbish bags and the DASH brand who use wonky, unloved fruit to flavour their sparkling waters, so doing their bit to reduce food waste.

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

Open water swimming or scuba diving. Any place clean and, ideally, warm.