PR Profile: Stefanie Reilly on integrating marketing and PR
By Nell O'Shea Carre
24 March, 2022
Stefanie Reilly is the founder and director of PR and digital marketing agency Fox+Fleur.
1. Can you please give me a brief rundown of your career, including any highlights?
I completed a bachelor of PR and Journalism at Deakin University then went straight into an in-house Marketing & PR role for a leading shoe company — it was my dream job and I still regard my time there as some of my happiest career memories. I hit a few roadblocks in PR in the earlier years and decided to change tactics, so I went back to uni to do a masters in communications and professional writing and worked for myself as a freelance writer, then a copywriter for Scoopon. Eventually I fell back into PR again and became the PR manager at Prahran Market, which I absolutely loved. This is where my love of food really took off. During this time, I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach PR and social media at Deakin University, which was a huge highlight in my career and something I gained a lot of confidence from. It was this opportunity that afforded me the chance to step away from full time role and launch Fox+Fleur — my biggest career highlight to date.
2. Tell me a bit about Fox+Fleur and your day-to-day work in PR.
Fox+Fleur is a fully integrated PR and Digital Marketing agency specialising in food and lifestyle brands. We focus on communications and digital tactics across the board, but everything is executed using a PR and storytelling lens.
The day-to-day is varied; one minute we’re working on a brand strategy, the next we’re on-site capturing content. We’re pitching story ideas to media, negotiating with influencers, planning events and constantly brainstorming new ideas. It’s fast-paced and exciting and I love it.
3. Are there any campaigns you've worked on recently that have been particularly interesting or exciting that you could speak a little about?
We worked with The Card Network — Australia’s leading gift card provider to launch a suite of hospitality and hair and beauty gift cards; however, launch date coincided with lockdown and we had to change directions very quickly and strategically. The best part was the cards didn’t attract any fees for businesses, which meant we were able to highlight the positives of gifting during this period, encouraging people to get behind their favourite restaurants and support the industry. The campaign ended up being really successful and it was great to be part of something positive during that time — essentially driving support for struggling businesses but gaining awareness for a really fantastic brand too.
4. As someone who has taught PR and social media at a tertiary level, what is one key, surprising or interesting concept you try to instil in your students?
Don’t become so focused with having to start your career in an agency. You can get just as many skills by working in-house on the one brand. Also trust your gut when applying for jobs. There are a lot of agencies out there so it’s important to find the one with the right fit — you don’t have to take the first job you’re offered. If something feels off, it usually is.
Also brush up on your grammar and punctuation if this is an area that needs more attention. One thing PR practitioners struggle with is finding people who can write, so set yourself up so you stand out from the rest.
5. Where do you see digital marketing and/or social media PR heading in the next few years? Are there any trends or behaviours to keep an eye on?
As an industry, I feel we’re moving towards more of an integrated approach to marketing and PR. Now more than ever the lines have blurred and we’re finding clients are after agencies that can provide a full suite of services that fall under the one strategy.
We like to bridge the gap between ‘brand’ and ‘sell’. While we do execute paid strategies, they feed into our wider communication goals and there’s a balance between the goals. We adopt a more inclusive approach to tactics and we’re open to exploring what’s right for the client.
I don’t think it’s enough to focus solely on PR anymore. We need to be looking at ways we can integrate marketing objectives into our strategies too.