Every now and then we give Clarity’s employees the chance to share a little more about their lives, careers and favourite things.
This time it is Callum McCaig, our recently arrived Account Director, in the spotlight. Callum joined from fintech startup Curve, where he led communications and successfully managed its European launch. Previous to this, he worked with a range of VC-backed startups and global tech brands at Metia and Burson-Marsteller.
At Clarity Callum oversees domestic and international client campaigns, helps drive new business and supports the senior management. He has lots of experience in fintech and is an expert in emerging tech like blockchain.
How did you end up in PR?
It’s probably a familiar story, for our industry: partly curiosity, partly a calculated gamble. I was always interested in the importance and mechanics of marketing – but I was seduced by the nuanced, psychological significance of PR. I wanted to know answers to questions like, how much do brands really matter in an age of fickle buyers and search engines? What will happen to print media, and how has the internet altered the way people and brands build and wield influence? How should a business handle a crisis, internally and externally? What does it take to safeguard a global giant’s reputation, or create a bold challenger brand that helps a new business grow?
Plus, it’s a varied job with lots of room for growth – from strategy and planning to relationship-building and creative campaigns. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to combine creativity and campaigns with commercial know-how.
And how did you end up at Clarity?
I was fortunate to work with lots of great people in agency world, during my first few years in PR. I’ve always loved working with risk-taking brands and fast-growth businesses, who are less constrained by fear and more empowered by the potential of PR.
After a hugely valuable stint leading comms for a VC-backed startup (which I’d recommend to anyone), Clarity was the perfect fit: a bold agency, on a mission to find and nurture the tech innovators whose ideas are shaping our future. Plus, it’s a lovely team, which aways helps.
What excites you most about tech PR?
Tech is the key word there, for me. For most of my life so far, the majority of era-defining developments and debates have revolved around technology. It’s moved from business supplement afterthought to front page headline-generator – and the shift will be even more pronounced over the next few decades again.
That’s a challenge and an opportunity for tech brands and their communications teams, and means it’s a great time to be working in tech PR.
And what do you think will be the industry’s biggest challenge in the future?
As Elon Musk keeps reminding us, we’re approaching the stage where the technologies we build exceed even some of our most human capabilities. It means we’ll reach a philosophical tipping point, and will be forced to start putting new legislative rails in place to police technology.
Tech PR skillsets will need to quickly shift, with more emphasis on public affairs and a digital-first mindset. But again – where there’s challenge, there’s opportunity.
For the industry more broadly, measurement is still easily the hardest and most important puzzle to solve. We need to progress from being useful to essential, and have the ability to back it up with numbers.
Who would be your dream client?
Spotify, in early 2008 – before they’d won the major music labels over, launched in Europe and started a 10-year journey to a $32billion market listing.
What would be your last ever meal?
Books or films? make a choice and namecheck a few of your faves
Films. I’m a sucker for the totally immersive sensory experience of a great movie.
I’ll happily lose myself in Lost in Translation any time; High Fidelity would be my ‘guilty pleasure’ choice. Beyond that, if Alex Garland, JJ Abrams or David Fincher are involved, I’m in.
What do you like best about London? And what is the worst thing about it?
Few cities have the same feeling of buzz and constant motion. It’s such a diverse place – and having Europe on our doorstep isn’t bad, either.
I wouldn’t mind spending less time on the tube. And I’m a millennial… so I’m obliged to complain about London property prices.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Accidentally telling the US government my name is “UK” wasn’t a high-point… though I stand by my argument that their form was really the one at fault.
You can follow Callum on Twitter here