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The return of the publicist: Rich Dawes, managing director of DawBell on the PRmoment Podcast

On the show this week we talk to Rich Dawes, managing director of DawBell. DawBell is one of the UK’s largest entertainment PR firms, working across talent, music and events.

Clients include The Brits, Paul McCartney, Harry Styles, Elton John, James Corden and The Prince Estate.

The firm has over 40 employees.

Today we’re going to talk about the role of a modern publicist - and how it's changed in recent times.

We’ll also talk about the story of Rich and DawBell, including a discussion of what has been a pretty tough 12 months for Rich on a personal level and the implications of that on his professional life.

Thanks as ever to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors The PRCA.

Here’s a summary of what Rich Dawes and PRmoment founder Ben Smith discussed:

1 min Why is the role of the publicist back in vogue?

1.30 mins How does the role of a publicist differ from a more generalist public relations role?

3 mins What does a modern publicist do?

“There’s been a shift from broadcast to narrowcast”

6 mins Has the rise of the celebrity CEO increased the demand for publicists?

9 mins Two of DawBell's clients are Elton John and Paul McCartney. It must be pretty cool working for a couple of legends?

11 mins Rich talks about how his passion for music led to a career as a publicist.

13 mins Rich talks us through how he and Stuart Bell met and why they decided to go into partnership to set up DawBell

17 mins Rich discusses how he’s had a tough couple of years personally.

“Life won’t always give you lemonade”

“I learnt to be optimistic but prepare for the worse”

19 mins Why everyone should record a Desert Island Disc with their parents

“As the years go by you do forget what they (your parents) sounded like”

21 mins Is it tougher to scale a publicity business than a general PR firm?

24 mins Rich likes a quote or 4 and recommends 5 books he reckons PR people should read.

Rich’s favourite 5 quotes:

  • “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it’s taken place”,
  • “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
  • “The 3 stages of truth: ridicule, violent opposition and acceptance”
  • “If the shit is bigger than the cat, walk away”
  • “There are 2 rules for success: never reveal everything you know”

And here are 4 books Rich recommends for PRmoment Podcast listeners:

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