James Staunton has left comms firm Instinctif Partners to launch a new PR and thought leadership agency, Air Cover PR.

Staunton, who started his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, was one of the three owners of award winning corporate PR agency, The Wriglesworth Consultancy. When Wriglesworth was sold in January 2015, Staunton became a partner in acquirer Instinctif.

Staunton said: “I want to do a lot with Air Cover PR. First, I want to fight juniorisation. Most London corporate PR agencies roll up to pitches with the senior team, then keep their costs down by farming out the work to graduates fresh out of university. These kids learn on the job, at the clients’ expense. I’ve been around the industry for 20 years now. Since then, I’ve provided specialist comms support to all sorts of clients operating in the HR space – from huge employers looking to improve their employer brand to recruiters looking for candidates, outplacement providers looking for clients, and talent management consultancies.  I don’t want to waste that exposure to the industry; I want to exploit the experience.

“Second, many businesses in the space would like to position themselves as thought-leaders on particular topics.  But that’s challenging without the right skills in house or the senior comms bandwidth – especially at a competitive price.  I am setting up Air Cover PR with a view to carrying out research on behalf of HR clients, delivering research content that can lend them a voice of authority in their field. Without expensive premises in London, the research will represent good value for money, too and help empower the underdog!”

Strategic marketing advice was provided by the Helen Cox Marketing consultancy which has previously advised company secretarial and corporate governance recruiter BWW Recruitment, specialist barrister recruitment agency GRL Legal; and Sheffield Haworth executive search – as well as leadership coach consultancy Elham Peyfoon and employee health benefits firm Rise IQ.

Accountancy services are being furnished by fellow PriceWaterhouseCoopers alumnus Yukimi Rabnott of On the Spot Accountants – with bookkeeping provided by Charmian Heys, director of Now Accounting Services.

Charmian Heys said: “We already work in the HR consultancy space but this is a particularly interesting company; the Air Cover PR offer blends serious b2b consultancy and creative services.  It’s great to have the business on our client roster.”

Bridget Designs, a digital studio based in Canterbury, Kent, built the Air Cover PR website – having previously created sites for payroll umbrella agency SSC Services and social care recruiter Grace James – as well as design work for specialist dental recruiter Smile & Shine.

Founder Bridget Tann said: “We take great satisfaction in designing original, creative, effective websites that are tailor made for every client. We’ve provided Air Cover with bespoke web design and development, graphic design, and branding support and we’ve really enjoyed working with the business. We’re proud of the new site and are looking forward to deepening our relationship as we undertake the ongoing website hosting and maintenance.”

Adam Nicoll, marketing director at recruiter Randstad UK said: “I have worked with James in various different guises over the last 15 years. I first collaborated with him back in 2007 when he supported the opening of the New York operation at global risk recruiter GRS. He was involved in the nuts and bolts PR that we needed – new hires, new desks, new country launches, new products; the creative content that gave us some genuine cut through in the industry; and the strategic outputs around our management buyout and the divestment of assets, too. He carried out PR on behalf of Kinsey Allen International, too – securing us a front page on CityAM if I recall – helping us punch way above our weight in the media. We kept in touch and he’s gone on to support another half dozen recruitment brands I have been involved with across several sectors. While I was at FiveTen Group, the five UK brands which benefited from James’ comms stewardship were generating up to 350 media hits a year. James is a great brainstormer, a comms animal, and I’m sure he will make Air Cover PR a huge success.”

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.