Giant Stride for expanding PR agency

ONE of North East England’s fastest growing public relations agencies has undergone a major facelift after taking on new staff and trebling turnover during the heart of a recession.

Mike Parker Media, set up in 2007 by award-winning former business editor Mike Parker, will now be known as Stride PR, reflecting the business’s expansion and the forward-thinking creativity it offers clients.

Mike Parker, managing director who runs the Durham City-based company with wife Lindsay Parker, said: “Our company has changed dramatically from when I first launched the business. We have grown strongly – particularly when you consider that this was during a pretty horrendous recession. The people working here bring a range of backgrounds and skills to the table. It’s important that we reflect this in the way we market ourselves.

“We wanted a brand that reflected what we are and how we do business – simply, creatively and effectively. All our efforts are focused on having the maximum impact and benefit for our clients. That’s something companies appreciate as it makes their spending decisions easier to make when money is tight.”

The past 12 months were a defining period for the business during which it won a number of national contracts.

The rebrand comes after Stride grew sales threefold from Year 1 to Year 3, taking turnover to nearly £250,000 and staff numbers from one to five. The company now has aspirations to grow to become one of the leading forces in PR in the region.

Stride has appointed Penny Hawley as a senior consultant. Penny worked for one of the world’s leading three PR agencies, Porter Novelli, where she handled accounts for Kraft Foods, PwC, GlaxoSmithKline and Investors in People. Penny also worked as director general of the Biscuit Cake Chocolate and Confectionery Association (BCCCA).

The company has also taken on a new account manager, Robert Perry, the former editor of the online business publication, bdaily, who will be working with many of Stride’s business-to-business clients.

Stride has recently moved into new offices in Durham City and has clients ranging from the North East Chamber of Commerce to London-based Paint and Paper Library.

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“Stride’s creation and delivery of the PR campaign for Rosie: Note to Self was truly outstanding. Stride's contacts, relationships and creativity ensured the product launch reached several million people, through both national and local media. Its impact on sales was incredible"

Mark Finnie, Authentic Media

“Stride has provided NECC and other businesses with invaluable advice on how to react with regard to media enquiries. They always seem to have the right answer."

James Ramsbotham, North East Chamber of Commerce