Our 5 minutes with… series is back, and today we’re learning more about the wonderful Maneesha Bhangle, our creative whirlwind and B2B PR expert.
Maneesha, you’ve been at Thinking Hat PR for a while now! We want to know how you got into PR…
I’ve always been a creative spirit with Art and English both being my favourite subjects. I knew I wanted to be in the Marketing sphere ever since I got invited to a workshop day at IBM when I was just 11.
I was the youngest there, but that didn’t stop me coming up with innovative ideas and presenting them. I loved that day – it was like being in an episode of The Apprentice! It was my first taste of the industry and it inspired me to channel my studies towards this. I went on to eventually achieve a First-Class degree in Marketing with Advertising.
My career launched in broader marketing roles working at various trade shows across Europe. I ended up writing articles and liaising within the specialist sector of bridal B2B press. I then got to use my digital marketing skills and knowledge working with start-ups and world-leading organisations. So, I already had strengths in the social media side of things as well as content writing. My broad B2B and B2C marketing background meant I was always still involved with elements of PR and content. It’s only really in the last few years though that I’ve specialised specifically in PR.
What brought you to Thinking Hat?
Well, Amaresh and I would get the same train together to work (before I was a hatter 🎩) and we’d have our daily commute chats and discuss our jobs, colleagues, the news etc. I would always think that what he was doing sounded so exciting and would often remark, “let me know if there are any openings, I’d love to work there!”
A while later he told me Thinking Hat PR were recruiting. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I quickly applied, went through the various interview stages and got the job!
What do you love most about your job?
Lots of things but if I had to narrow it down to one, it’s the people.
- The range of different and inspiring clients we work with from SMEs to global players. It’s quite amazing, they all have a unique story to tell and are real game changers. No day is the same.
- The Hatters – the lovely team I work with. It makes a huge difference when you work with genuinely nice people who all want to see you do well and have your back. It’s refreshing!
You recently wrote a piece on creativity in B2B PR, have you been doing anything lately for creative inspiration?
In terms of recent inspiration, I like to look at YouTubers and seeing the funny PR stunts they pull and how it can help them rapidly gain exposure.
Niko Omilana is one of my favourites, he’s an absolute genius and just hilarious. Recently he ran for London Mayor and his considerably smaller campaign budget had him beating Laurence Fox’s £5 million campaign. Niko’s clever PR stunts gained him wide national media coverage and 5th place out of 20 candidates. To me it demonstrated the influence of PR done right and how it can make your budget go further.
I just love the power creative and original ideas can have. That’s why I also totally adore the journalist Oobah Butler. He’s written about everywhere. One of my favourite pranks he pulled was making his shed the top-rated restaurant in London despite not existing at all.
We’re still working remotely at THPR, how are you switching off at the end of the work day?
Well, I do a few different things to unwind. I mentioned a few in our Mental Health Awareness Week blog. Out of these activities, art is definitely one of my favourite creative outlets. Recently, the THPR team all took part in a virtual online painting class with Brush & Bubbles for mental health awareness week which was super fun and relaxing!
What’s your career highlight to date?
Got to love great national coverage! I think it gives us all a buzz. I’m always thrilled to get great pieces in the likes of The Times, Metro, Daily Express, Independent etc. Also, when you get it in print too it’s always a bonus. I think it’s hard to pin down just one piece or project as there are plenty of things I’m proud of. I’d say a general highlight is just working with inspiring clients and getting their great stories out there.
Thinking Hat does a lot of CSR related work, are there any special causes you work on at Thinking Hat that are close to your heart?
I’m hugely passionate about equality, inclusion and diversity. Especially topics around fighting racism and protecting minority groups. So, working with a global player like Sony Music to tackle racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and the Black Lives Matter movement was really meaningful to me. The $100m Social Justice Fund is an amazing worldwide initiative which was created to support social justice and anti-racist initiatives around the world.
Who’s your dream client?
Periods. I know it sounds strange but it’s something I’m really passionate about. I would love to work with Always as they were the first brand to use red blood rather than blue liquid in their adverts, or any brand breaking the mould or using innovation to creative sustainable menstruation products. I just have so many ideas and I’m obsessed with this area particularly with it being a taboo topic in many cultures still (including my own). I would be thrilled and proud to be part of a project looking to break down these barriers.
We love your energy Maneesha, where do you see it taking you in the next 5 years?
Continuing to work with super cool clients and hopefully doing this remotely from the Bahamas aha 😉
Have another 5 minutes? Spend it with THPR Managing Director, Nic Forster, expert in tech, e-commerce and startup/entrepreneur PR.