A real do-er when it comes to Talkablility

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A real do-er when it comes to Talkablility

Having got off the golf course to buy back the PR agency he founded Graham Goodkind tells Candice Krieger creativity is the key to keeping clients happy.

Graham Goodkind, founder and chairman of Frank PR
Graham Goodkind, founder and chairman of Frank PR

In PR guru Graham Goodkind’s illustrious career launching some of the nation’s most successful campaigns, there’s one thing in particular he says, that gives him great nachas.

Goodkind is the founder and chairman of Frank PR, which, as well as counting some of the nation’s most well-known brands among its clients, has been a springboard for the top careers of some of the PR world’s leading professionals.

He tells the Jewish News: “When I started Frank 23-plus years ago, I never thought about the impact it would have on the lives of the people working in it.  You don’t think about all those that you will employ, who will get experience with you and then go off and shape the wider PR industry. Obviously, you don’t want people to leave, but when they go off and do well, it gives me so much pleasure. I’m lucky I fell in love with PR and to help people learn and flourish and even go to greater heights gives you a lot of nachas.”

Goodkind – or ‘GG’ as he is commonly known – is referring to the likes of Frank’s (Jewish) ‘alumni’. They include Frank co-founder Andrew Bloch, Lord Sugar’s long-standing PR advisor and founder of Andrew Bloch & Associates; David Fraser, the founder of multi award-winning consumer comms agency Ready10, Sophie Raine, MD for consumer brands at Ketchum, Frankie Cory, the joint CEO at W Communications, Vicky Baruch – senior fundraising consultant at Grief Encounter, (formerly their Head of PR), Lucy Hart executive director of strategy and planning at Good Relations, Luke Strauss – senior campaign manager at the England and Wales Cricket Board, Nikki Horesh, senior communications manager for EMEA at Hilton, and Lisa Fox and Stacey Jaffe, the founders of Espresso PR.

Vicky Baruch is a former employee at Frank PR

That’s quite a list. But aren’t they now competitors? “They are, and we will definitely compete for things, but there’s plenty of work out there for everyone. That’s why I like this business. I am competitive about everything. I don’t like to lose at FIFA to my son!”

As for the PR game, the Arsenal season ticket holder, has been in it for nearly four decades. He cut his teeth at legendary agency Lynne Franks PR, working his way up to MD. He then found himself the centre of the dotcom boom with another.com, a free web-based email service he started in 1998 and sold a couple of years later. Then came Frank in 2000. Goodkind wanted to create “talkability” for clients. He liked the word so much he trademarked it.

Frank grew to become one of the UK’s most respected and award-winning consumer PR consultancies. It has represented some of the nation’s best-known brands including Coca-Cola, Innocent Drinks, Weetabix and Primark.

Nikki Horesh, pictured with Graham Goodkind, used to work at Frank PR

In 2007, Frank was sold to Australian communications companies, Photon Group (re-named Enero) for a reported total amount of over £20 million. But a few years ago, Frank was going through a rough patch and Goodkind, who was still a shareholder – and also getting pretty good at golf – found himself increasingly involved in Frank again. “I got myself off the golf course and back into work mode again to get the business back on track.” In 2021, he and Frank MD Alex Grier bought back the agency to own it 100 per cent. They had bought back 25 per cent in 2012 after the firm’s earnout had been renegotiated.

Based in Farringdon, Frank had its best financial year in about eight years last year. “Revenue was back to growth against a tough market, so it was a really good sign. We are back on a good trajectory.”

Quite. In 2021, Frank sent the internet into a frenzy with a tweet for Weetabix, suggesting adding baked beans to the cereal biscuit. The industry recognised the campaign with over 30 awards. “It was a brilliant idea that went everywhere. It was even being debated in Parliament. It’s amazing when you devise a campaign with so much Talkability.”

Other “personal favourites” include the ‘rewild’ for Innocent drinks, which saw Trafalgar Square transformed into an overgrown garden. “I also love the work we have done with Greenflag to ‘rescue’ the old and used iconic Little Tikes Cozy Coupe red and yellow vehicles – as if they were real cars – so they could be reconditioned and given to disadvantaged children.”

The picture that kicked off Frank PR’s successful Beanz on Bix Weetabix campaign

Goodkind, who lives in Radlett with wife Lisa and their 23-year-old twins, acknowledges that consumers are demanding more transparency from brands, which are facing difficult times amidst economic uncertainty. “There’s a perceived wisdom that the companies that keep spending on PR for reputation during a recession are likely to come out of those recessionary times much stronger than those that don’t.”

Focussing on Frank’s future he says: “We want to be consistently coming up with great ideas for clients and producing campaigns that knock it out the park. It’s not rocket science, but the secret to success in this business is doing great creative work.  It keeps existing clients really happy with you and new clients are attracted to the agency that made it happen.  After that, from a commercial perspective, the rest follows.”

Having steadied the Frank ship, GG is back on the golf course and last Summer, represented Team Maccabi GB in the Maccabiah Games. He is a member – and former captain – of Hartsbourne Golf Club, where he tries to play twice a week, perhaps teeing up Frank’s next knock- it-out-the-park-idea.



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