What I've Learnt: Brendon Craigie, Co-founder & Managing Partner at Tyto PR

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Brendon Craigie, Tyto

Brendon is Managing Partner at Tyto, a pan-European PR agency tailored towards the fields of technology, science and innovation.

Having worked with clients like Google, P&G, Mastercard, Intel and Samsung, Tyto prides itself on its expertise and flexibility, and is barely two years old. Its 22-strong team work across the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

In fact, Tyto describes itself as "location agnostic" - with Brendon splitting his time between Valencia and the UK, and the agency's UK staff spread around the country.

In 2019, Brendon was namedin PRWeek's Power Book, "the definitive guide to the brightest and most influential PR professionals."

We sat down with Brendon to find out the lessons he's learnt.

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Without doubt, hugs and kisses with my children. I also love to exercise, listen to the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4, and read The Times. 

To be successful, especially in communications where you need to communicate with an authentic voice, you need to remain grounded. You need to have perspective. The daily hugs, chats, and kisses I get from my children provide this for me.

What's been your luckiest break?

I started my career with an international PR firm and within 12 months the Managing Director of the UK office left to start her own business. 

Young and ambitious, I followed her, which led me to become part of building one of the most successful PR agencies in the world in the last two decades. I went on to spend 17 years with the firm, rising up to global CEO, which enabled me to live and work in multiple locations across Europe, North America and Australia. 

I was able to ply my trade as a communicator and develop my leadership skills as chief executive. I then took these learnings and applied them to building Tyto.  

What's your best failure?

Despite all the perks and rewards that come with being the CEO of a large publicly owned company, I was never able to get complete fulfilment from working for someone else. This failure and inability to find fulfilment from working in this way led me to start my own company, which has provided me with the fulfilment I’d been craving for a long time. 

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

The best investments I’ve made throughout my career have always been hiring and helping to nurture ambitious, smart, kind people. 

If I was to put a pound in the bank today, I’d get a 1% return on my investment. When you invest in people, I think you get 10 times that in returns on every hour or pound you invest in their personal and professional development. 

How would you describe your work/life balance?

I try to maintain a balance that works for me. As a leader and business owner, naturally that’s never going to be about a nine to five. But I also know that if I don’t safeguard personal and family time, then I just won’t have the energy, perspective or drive I need to perform as I need to for my clients and my team. 

I try to avoid habitually working late or at the weekend to ensure I block that time out for my family and friends. 

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

'The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies' by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. 

If, like me, you worry about how new technologies like AI will change the workplace and how we in the creative industries can add value to our customers, then this is a great reminder of the wonderful things that make human beings unique. It really shines a light on our creativity and our ability to problem solve.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Be true to yourself and true to your passions. Even if that sometimes feels like a sideways or a backwards step, in the long run pursuing your passions will make you a happier and more fulfilled person. 

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

The two entrepreneurs that founded the last business I worked for paired two incredibly different skillsets together, which, when combined, made for a formidable partnership. 

I like to think that I was able to learn from both the founders and incorporate elements of their contrasting styles and personalities into my own approach to leadership. 

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I’ve been on the waiting list for a Liverpool Football Club season ticket for 20 years now, although I am at last closing in on my season ticket as I approach the top of the list. 

I enjoy the escapism football provides me, but I also enjoy the parallels that can be drawn between running a team within a business and watching how coaches manage teams of players at an elite level. 

What does success look like to you?

I want to continue developing and building out the vision I set out when Tyto was founded, which is to build a multinational PR agency that works as one team across Europe, helping clients solve business challenges through the power of communications.

I’m not looking to build the biggest PR agency ever, but rather to build the Navy Seals equivalent in agency terms, bringing elite team of European communicators together, operating as a single unit across borders and communications disciplines.