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“Phil Smith Communications is a highly professional and effective outfit. With each project we have worked on with Phil (media relations and awards development) since May 2016 we have seen real impact and success both in terms of the coverage we have received and the project objectives being met. With a strong understanding of how universities work and the media they need to engage with, we will definitely be working with Phil in the future.”

Sam Jones, Director of Marketing & Communications, University of Winchester


“I first contracted Phil Smith Communications in March 2017 to research and draft nominations and seek supporting testimonials for a series of high-level public awards for senior academic staff at Sheffield Hallam. Within a matter of days, Phil had returned well-researched, convincingly drafted nominations with a host of testimonials from senior public figures. Phil made the whole process effortless – a one-hour briefing was all that was required to produce excellent results – and those he contacted for research commented on his professional and diligent approach. We subsequently contracted Phil for other projects at Hallam and I have commissioned Phil for a series of projects in my new role at the University of Nottingham.”

Tim Watkinson, former Director of Communications, Sheffield Hallam University, and now Director of Communications & Advocacy, University of Nottingham


“In 2017 the University of Northampton commissioned Phil Smith Communications to assist us in exploring options for promoting our fundraising activities. Having worked with Phil in the past he was my first choice, as he brings with him a keen analytical and strategic mind combined with years of experience in the higher education sector. Phil’s work was invaluable. He not only researched best practice at similar institutions but carried out in-depth interviews with our key stakeholders to provide real, impartial insight into how we are perceived and where opportunities may lie. His pragmatic recommendations helped focus our ambition into action and continue to be a point of reference long after the project was completed. I would strongly recommend Phil to any organisation that is looking for an advisor that cares as much about your strategic goals as you do. He never fails to bring more to the table than you may have considered, and as such is a first-class PR professional.”

Owen Morris, Head of Public Relations & Corporate Communications, University of Northampton


“I have worked with Phil Smith on a number of occasions since 2012. I say work ‘with’ rather than him working ‘for’ me because that is one of his greatest attributes – Phil always ensures that, as a client, you are included and involved in his excellent working, from the initial approach to the successful and measureable conclusion. Phil has worked with me on national projects across the higher education sector and these have always been on sensitive issues that require covert external communications campaigns to match. He provides you with a professional but friendly consultancy service that is always a pleasure to work with because of his proactive approach while, of course, keeping you informed on progress. Phil’s sector understanding and knowledge, matched with his approach and skills, means I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending him to others.”

Andy Fryer, Head of Communications & Membership, Universities and Colleges Employers Association


“We brought in Phil Smith Communications to provide in-depth media training for some of our key academics across the University. This was aimed at helping them to understand the value of working with journalists and to give them the confidence to engage with the media. The feedback from the sessions has been overwhelmingly positive and several of those who took part have already started working with the PR team more to raise their media profile. Phil was great to work with and at ease with the academics. He had the right approach and knowledge to encourage the participants, giving them the skills needed to handle interviews confidently. And most importantly for us, to get them to see the value in engaging with the media. We would certainly recommend Phil and will be booking him in for further media training sessions.”

Judy Wing, PR Manager, Loughborough University


“I was one of five academics who undertook media training with Phil Smith Communications in October 2016. I found Phil’s training to be informed and encouraging. He facilitated the group to be supportive whilst being constructively critical, allowing us to develop our skills in media. The session allowed us time to focus in specific areas and reflect on how we could impact in the media through our specialisms.”

Dr Nicola Bateman, Senior Lecturer in Operations Management, School of Business & Economics, Loughborough University


“Phil Smith Communications has provided a range of support to Winchester University Press since May 2016, from print and broadcast interviews, feature articles and opinion pieces to developing broader marketing plans for specific publications. His connections with media outlets are wide-ranging and fruitful, and he has successfully managed to promote our books in ways that have been both successful in garnering wider public attention and interest, as well as satisfying the ambitions and aspirations of our respective authors in connecting their works with the wider world.”

Professor Neil McCaw, Commissioning Editor, Winchester University Press


“Phil Smith has co-ordinated and delivered a Level 1 BA (Hons) Communications and Public Relations module at the University of Lincoln since September 2015. Throughout this time his commitment has never been less than first class and his diligence and undoubted professionalism has been clearly demonstrated during his work with the University. Students have also found his expertise both informative and elucidating which has been especially effective in introducing the subject of PR to our undergraduates. Accordingly, I would have no hesitation whatsoever in fully commending his work and have been duly impressed with his contemporary and informative approach to the subject.”

Alex Lewczuk, Programme Leader, BA (Hons) Public Relations, University of Lincoln

“I have worked with Phil Smith in three different organisations. Most recently, for Explorance, Phil developed various thought leadership articles and interviews focused on key issues in higher education. The articles were used as part of a long-term nurturing campaign in 2016-17 for prospects and customers with the goal of both informing and encouraging interaction. The work helped position Explorance and myself as thought leaders on important topics such as improving the student experience/voice. In addition to this, by sending relevant and informative content on a regular basis, we were able to illicit responses that led directly to new sales. Working with Phil is great. Not only is he organised and efficient, he is really easy to get on with and is always well prepared with new ideas. Phil is an expert in the higher education sector and his in-depth knowledge and understanding of current affairs has helped us stay focused and relevant. I really appreciate how he takes the time to understand the challenges we face in our niche and then come up with new ways to help us achieve our goals. I would most certainly recommend Phil. He is the true professional and his work is invaluable.”

John Atherton, HE Sales Director, Explorance


“Phil Smith Communications has played an integral role in the growth of The Study Network since our launch in 2016. Phil has assisted with research projects, market analysis, selection of candidates for key roles and advice on higher education partners. His support enabled us to not only prove the business model, but also progress into revenue generation.”

Anton Hanley, Managing Director, The Study Network


“Phil Smith Communications initially provided media training for the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers in April 2017 to develop our understanding of working with the media. Phil clearly had an exceptionally good understanding of the specialised field in which we operate and had tailored his training to meet our quite specific needs. We genuinely felt that Phil took the time to understand our requirements and had invested time in creating something bespoke to our needs and reflecting on our current media presence. Phil’s training was interactive, purposeful and engaging and promoted critical thinking among the team to help us reflect on our strengths and identify next steps in order to move forward. We now have a very clear idea of how we can maximise all of the opportunities presented to us and are continuing to work with Phil through a PR support programme. We would recommend Phil’s services without reservation.”

Emma Hollis, Executive Director, National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers


“Scholastic has worked with Phil Smith Communications since May 2016 on a number of projects: one of them was the launch of a Key Stage 3 assessment resource. As we are a primary school focused education publisher we needed Phil’s expertise to help give our name resonance in secondary schools. Phil created a thought leadership report, with contributions from well-known and influential assessment experts. This was sent to influencers in the Department for Education (DfE), Ofsted and unions, plus secondary school headteachers. We had individual responses from the DfE and Ofsted, and more importantly, schools said they saw the report as telling them that they weren’t alone in experiencing the issues they had been, and it gave them a clear roadmap forward. The report has since led us to offers to speak at national events, and sales of our assessment resource. Phil has been great to work with. Very incisive and gets straight to the nub of the issue. He is able to clearly delineate the lines between sales, marketing and PR, which is essential in this role. He has a great understanding of the education system, and is very easy to get on with, always delivering projects to time and budget. I would have no hesitation in recommending Phil to any other company.”

Chris Ratcliffe, Sales Director, Scholastic Education


“As a start-up with limited experience in the education sector, in May 2017 we sought a PR consultant who could help us get our products and messages out to our key target audiences and we came across Phil Smith Communications early on. We really liked what we saw, so engaged Phil and are glad we did. His in-depth knowledge of the sector, the media and some of the key stakeholders we needed to get in front of has shortcut a great deal of work for us and he has directly helped secure meetings with several very key players for us. I’ve always found Phil to be flexible, detailed, knowledgeable and easy to work with. I’m slightly loathe to recommend him to others as he has become a key part in what we do and I want to keep him busy, which I guess is a recommendation in itself.”

Ken Pritchard, Managing Director, Headway Education


“Phil Smith Communications has acted for the Institute of Economic Development as our retained PR consultancy since July 2016 and has dramatically increased our profile over the period – but, more importantly, this has been undertaken in a manner that supports the strategic aims of the business. Phil has brought his commercial acumen, knowledge of PR and the media, and creative skills to our organisation and has been responsive and professional throughout. We would not hesitate to recommend him to others.”

Nigel Wilcock, Executive Director, Institute of Economic Development


“In November 2015 I worked with Phil Smith Communications to deliver a briefing workshop for around 30 creative and marketing professionals at the RSPB including internal clients, account managers and creative teams. Following a period of change in the ways we worked this workshop was designed to get a shared understanding of what makes a good brief. In preparation for the workshop Phil spent time working with us to really understand the background and culture of our organisation to make sure the training was tailored to what we needed. For the workshop itself Phil is a professional, confident and engaging presenter using a mix of techniques to keep the group engaged throughout the day. We covered skills such as objective setting, effective questioning, active listening, negotiation skills and assertiveness. Since the workshop we have gone on to develop a new template for taking a creative brief at the RSPB which is giving us better clarity on pulling out the right information to enable our creative teams to deliver really impactful communications.”

Hannah Ranson, Communications Manager, RSPB

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