7 years ago

Hobnobbing with Lee Cullen from No Brainer

So, what does No Brainer do?

No Brainer is a PR, social media and content marketing agency based in Cheshire and our mantra is to help businesses achieve their dreams simply by telling their stories better. Many businesses come to us thinking they need a PR strategy but, more often than not, the solution they really need is quite different!

How did the idea for business come about?

Along with my No Brainer co-founder, Gary Jenkins, we’d often talked about how we’d do things differently if we ran a communications agency. Having worked in-house and within an agency, I’d reached a point where I genuinely felt I could do things better and I know that Gary felt very similar. We wanted to create an agency that really delivered for its clients, wasn’t interested in vanity metrics, and was committed to recruiting and developing talented people.

When was the company first established?

We set up no Brainer in April 2015. I left a full-time position to become a freelance practitioner in December 2014 and Gary had done the same thing about six months earlier. In the months that followed we were able to work together on a number of projects and started to develop the brand and ethos behind No Brainer in the background, launching the business officially just a few months later.

How is the business doing?

We’ve had a whirlwind 18 months. We’re working with some global and household brands across a variety of sectors, including personal finance, energy, sport and property. Earlier this year we were named Start-Up Business of the Year at the Warrington Business Awards, and we’ve added some really talented people to our team. Things are moving quickly but we’re not complacent and we’re working hard to keep that momentum going.

Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?

We’re delivering PR, social and content marketing strategies for multiple clients across many different sectors and that includes everything from news activity to photography, and copywriting to evaluation. It’s a busy schedule and that means the biggest challenge has been managing every single element of No Brainer’s business operations in the background. We’ve had to learn to be financial whizzes, IT experts, business development managers, HR specialists and much more!

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

When we decided to pursue No Brainer, we both felt that our understanding of the convergence of PR, marketing and SEO/online – and the lack of traditional agencies delivering anything close to it – meant that there was a gap to be filled.

We believe in creating communications campaigns that are smarter in the way they are developed and delivered, which is where the left-brain versus right-brain concept of No Brainer was born. We call it “creative intelligence” and every campaign we create is bespoke and uses a variety of channels to help our clients connect with their target audience. We call it BOSE and by that we mean a mixture of Bought, Owned, Shared and Earned media.

What’s been your best business decision?

Taking the plunge both feet first and starting No Brainer was a pretty big decision! My son was only three months old at the time so the safest option would have been to stay where I was. But I honestly believe you never get anywhere unless you break out of your comfort zone and we’ve found that fear of failure is a wonderful motivator.

What is next for No Brainer?

We’re looking ahead to 2017 with ambitions to keep growing our client-base and to increase the size of our team. Just as we have done up until now, we’ll do that in a way that won’t compromise the quality of the service we provide to our existing clients.

We started the business with nothing and we’ve managed to grow it without the support of finance or investment and we’re really proud of that. It means we can do things our way and focus on our next goal, which is to become the number one communications agency in Cheshire.

If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

A saying we like to use in the office is ‘keep your powder dry’. What we mean by that is that sometimes it’s better to get your story straight before you start sharing it with the world. All too often we see businesses that are dabbling in PR and marketing without having really crystallised who they are, what they stand for and most importantly, who they should be talking to. It takes years to build a good reputation but just one misjudged comment or tweet can ruin it in minutes.

Finally, what is your favourite biscuit?

A tough question because I’m not particularly fussy! I’ll go with a Jaffa Cake.


Lucy Liddiard