PR firm Channelstar Media reveals how they founded the company, why building relationships in the channel is still important, and how Rambo the cat helps out when things get stressful.
Who makes up the team?
Essentially, Simon Meredith and Neville Street. Both of us have worked in media or media-focused roles most of our careers and most of the time as freelancers or part of a small virtual team – which is really what we are. That means we can respond quickly when we need to.
We also have a small team of people who sometimes help out with other tasks – John with the books, Jo on research and admin, and whatever else needs doing. Generating content is about 75% of what we do. From time to time we also collaborate with other people or agencies, such as Nick and Gino at NSPR. Rambo the cat provides some moral support when it’s needed – and when he feels like it.
How and when was Channelstar formed?
About ten years ago, although the story goes back a lot further. We knew each other socially, but then also found ourselves opening the batting for a local cricket team. That partnership worked really well. One was the more aggressive and ready to play shots – and more likely to get out fast; the other more steady, cautious and careful, and tended to hang around longer. The different styles complemented each other. When we started to understand a bit more about the work we did, we realised we could help each other professionally as well. We also found out that we are both big fans of Aztec Camera, and former front-man Roddy Frame. What more do you need?
How has the industry evolved since then?
As one of Roddy’s songs says, ‘Everything’s changed, nothing has changed’. We have new technologies and ideas, and the shape and role of the channel is changing. But it’s still fundamentally about people and building relationships. There is more realism and understanding now though – people want to help each other more, which is very positive.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Channel companies are having to redefine their respective roles. A lot of what we are doing right now is about helping them to understand those changes are affecting their business relationships and perceptions of their business in the channel.
Who has the best claim to fame?
Simon: I picked up the phone once to Alan Sugar – but he wanted to talk to Guy Kewney (former colleague at PC Dealer and sadly no longer with us), not me. And I got a bit drunk with Carl Smash from Madness one night.
Nev: I once met Paul Weller on Oxford Street.
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