PR guru Andrew Bloch: ‘I learnt so much from Lord Sugar’
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

PR guru Andrew Bloch: ‘I learnt so much from Lord Sugar’

PR expert Andrew Bloch tells Candice Krieger how customers now judge brands on their values, what it’s like to work with Lord Sugar and why he is looking forward to what’s next

Andrew Bloch, right, with Lord Sugar
Andrew Bloch, right, with Lord Sugar

As Lord Sugar’s adviser, Andrew Bloch is used to managing media requests, but the PR expert is now fielding a fair few of his own. Since stepping back in May from his day-to-day duties at Frank, the illustrious PR company he founded 20 years ago, Bloch’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. 

Bloch has built a reputation as one of the most respected industry leaders, having created effective communication campaigns for some of the world’s favourite brands including Coca-Cola, Disney, Compare the Market, Deliveroo and Burger King. And the former Haberdashers’ Aske’s pupil has become renowned for representing Lord Sugar (more on this later). 

Bloch, who was named as one of Britain’s most influential entrepreneurs in 2019, alongside Richard Branson, JK Rowling and his client, Lord Sugar, is now exploring new opportunities as well as continuing to work with Lord Sugar and his associated companies. He has recently taken on advisory board positions for Israeli PR tech company, Propel, M&A advisory firm PCB Partners, and Big Community Records, the record label founded by Google COO, Craig Fenton.

Bloch has also joined The Prince’s Trust as a business mentor. He remains a non-executive director and shareholder at Frank, and will consult brands and other agencies in the creative and marketing services space at a time when Bloch says it’s more important than ever for brands to get it right if they want to survive. “It’s not just about ‘talking the talk’, but ‘walking the talk’.

Andrew Bloch

 “It’s a skill of a good PR to be in tune with the zeitgeist but now, more so than ever, you need to get it right because if you get it wrong, there will be a backlash – there’s a real shortage of tolerance and you don’t want to be making mistakes.

 “Leading up towards this pandemic, there had been a huge groundswell in the importance of authenticity and values,” says Bloch. “Customers are judging brands and corporations, their integrity and authenticity. Covid has put them in the spotlight and we have seen those that have gone above and beyond in terms of their duties.” 

It’s a skill of a good PR to be in tune with the zeitgeist but now, more so than ever, you need to get it right because if you get it wrong, there will be a backlash – there’s a real shortage of tolerance and you don’t want to be making mistakes

He credits LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, and used its factories to make hand sanitisers, and Dyson, which offered to help manufacture ventilators, as well as those that turned their attention to feeding the NHS.

But Bloch acknowledges that what worked a week ago won’t necessarily be successful next week. “The real skill is selling messages that resonate with how people are feeling in this moment. 

“And saying nothing is even worse – you don’t want to be silent. You go dark. Even if to communicate that you’re not doing very much, it’s important to keep talking and have a public face.” 

Even if to communicate that you’re not doing very much, it’s important to keep talking and have a public face

Part of Bloch’s job is to give clients the confidence that what they are doing is right. He has spent more than two decades doing it. Starting out at Lynne Franks PR, Bloch co-founded Frank in 2000 with the former MD of the agency, Graham Goodkind. Three months in they got the chance to pitch for Amstrad. 

“We lost the pitch. We knew this was a big opportunity for us, and we weren’t prepared to let it pass us by, so we literally begged for the chance to work on their business. I think they felt sorry for us. They reversed their decision and awarded us the account.” 

Andrew Bloch, with Lord Sugar and the team at This Morning

This was the start of his 20-year relationship with Lord Sugar. He recalls: “I didn’t have too much to do with him initially. Our relationship built slowly when I would meet him at product launches and events. When you work with someone personally, it’s a relationship that is built on trust and you get used to each other’s styles.”

What’s Lord Sugar like to work with? “Great. When you watch him on The Apprentice, it’s a bit of a caricature. You don’t see some of his other traits: such as how sharp he is as a business person, his work ethic, his loyalty to his staff and his family side – he’s such a role model in terms of being a strong family man with great values and principles. You probably also don’t see his sense of humour in the same way. He is very funny and entertaining. And, of course, you don’t see all the s*** that goes on behind the scenes when you’re having to deal with aggressive media or other obstacles.

“I’ve learnt a lot from him. And when I stepped back from Frank, he was one of the clients I didn’t want to leave behind.” 

When it comes to stand-out moments, Bloch says they are “for the wrong reasons in that they’re the headaches”. explaining: “When he was announced as Enterprise Tsar and made a lord, the media went to town saying there was a conflict between that and his role on The Apprentice and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such intense media attack. We went into battle on that one. I don’t think either of us will ever forget it. But there have also been some lovely moments.” 

“I’ve learnt a lot from him. And when I stepped back from Frank, he was one of the clients I didn’t want to leave behind.”

Bloch was invited to the House of Lords for the ennoblement ceremony and was a guest at Lord Sugar and Lady Ann’s 40th wedding anniversary party. “And I’ve been lucky enough to have lunch on his boat.”

Worth £1.21 billion according to The Sunday Times Rich List, Lord Sugar doesn’t need to work.

“He works because he loves it and helping people develop their businesses,” says Bloch. “He’s also been a role model to me in terms of how to balance your life – he has an incredible life with homes in different places, and planes and boats and he manages to enjoy it all, yet I know that if I send an email he will be the first one to respond. 

He’s also been a role model to me in terms of how to balance your life – he has an incredible life with homes in different places, and planes and boats and he manages to enjoy it all, yet I know that if I send an email he will be the first one to respond

“It shows that he can enjoy the trappings of success and a brilliant career while still carrying on working.” 

Scheduled filming of the 16th Apprentice series has been postponed until next year. In the meantime, Bloch is “taking a leaf out of Lord Sugar’s book” and enjoying his new chapter. 

“I don’t know who’s going to phone me next and the diversity of it has been so interesting. Running Frank was relentless and I want to have a bit more of a work-life balance.”

 

 

read more:
comments