Fledgling PR firm aiming to be streets ahead

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A new public relations firm – Charlotte Street Partners – will launch next month confirming long-standing chatter in media circles that Malcolm Robertson and Andrew Wilson were planning a new venture.

The pair, who advised BAA and Royal Bank of Scotland respectively, are being joined as partners by former journalists Chris Deerin and Sharon Ward, who both worked at Scotland on Sunday, among other titles.

Robertson and Wilson have lured merchant banker Sir Angus Grossart into chairing the new business and have pulled off a significant coup by enlisting top London-based PRs Roland Rudd and James Murgatroyd of RLM Finsbury as directors. Also signed up to the board is Johnny Hornby, founder of international marketing services group, The & Company.

Details of the launch were revealed in yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday. Wilson and Robertson told the People column that they were undeterred by the growing number of PR agencies, claiming theirs would offer a different proposition backed by people who are already among the most experienced practitioners in the sector. It is starting off by operating in the two capitals simultaneously.

“It will straddle Edinburgh and London,” said Wilson, while admitting that despite the name it is not based in Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, nor Charlotte Street, London. In fact, it has yet to find an office in Edinburgh, and its London base is in Rathbone Street (which is, however, near Charlotte Street). The name comes from the fact that they hatched their business plan in London’s Charlotte Street Hotel.

Law firm in glorious colour

Law firm Dickson Minto is sponsoring The Scottish Colourists Series: JD Fergusson exhibition which opens this Saturday at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

It is the third Scottish Colourists exhibition the firm has backed, having previously supported the gallery’s examinations of FCB Cadell and SJ Peploe.

Partner Bruce Minto said: “The Colourists exhibitions have been tremendously successful and we are again very pleased to be associated with this important review of the work of JD Fergusson.”

The crazy golf solution

Few Scottish business leaders have declared their preferences on the independence debate, but Chris van der Kuyl clearly believes the discussion could be cut short. Addressing 500 guests at the Entrepreneurial Exchange Awards in Glasgow, the internet tycoon joked that it might be preferable for First Minister Alex Salmond and Better Together leader Alistair Darling “to settle the debate over 18 holes of crazy golf”.

Van der Kuyl, sporting facial hair that he insisted was “the real deal” and not a Movember special, hosted the evening which saw a number of gongs handed out to the country’s top performing business leaders.

But one of the biggest rounds of applause went to restaurateur Charan Gill, on the news that he had just become a grandfather. Perhaps some of the entrepreneurial nous that turned Gill into Glasgow’s Curry King will rub off on the little one.

Think outside the box

The world of PR is moving into the digital revolution and beginning to get all technical and scientific.

To prove the point, Weber Shandwick gave us a lesson in neurology to help open the agency’s new office in Glasgow last week.

Olivier Oullier, professor of behavioural and brain sciences at Aix-Marseille University flew over, complete with his “neuro goggles” to demonstrate how to peer into someone’s brain and work out how they make decisions.

He was joined by Adam Mack, who is behind Weber’s new “science of engagement” approach to communications. They were due to present their “brain game” to MSPs. It may bring a new way of thinking to the referendum campaign.