There’s more to motor careers: PR Manager


Sometimes the search for a rewarding career can lead you down a completely different path. It’s what took Tom Flisher from consumer PR into automotive and Thatcham Research.

How did you end up working in the automotive sector? 

I’d been working in PR for some 15 years previously, undertaking agency and latterly in-house roles. This was largely product driven communications and although my career was fun and dynamic, I became increasingly disillusioned with helping various companies sell ‘stuff’. I wanted to find a more rewarding and meaningful platform for my communications skills. 

Once you'd made the choice, how did you make it happen? 

Luck had a big hand in my journey. I was looking for a new role and a recruitment consultant mentioned an open PR Manager vacancy at Thatcham Research. I investigated the company and saw it to be influential, trusted and something of a British institution. Then it was just a case of making sure I was well prepared for the interviews! 

I didn’t have a great deal of direct automotive experience, some of my clients from previous roles did operate in the space, but I didn’t see this as an impediment. Thatcham Research is a technical company, packed to its rafters with highly intelligent skilled engineers. But effective communications are, at heart, about conveying messages through the media. Achieving cut-through to resonate with your audiences requires the ability to look at the subject matter through different lenses and unpack complexity to make the message land. 

What's the standout moment in your career so far and why? 

I have to say it’s the overall step change into Thatcham Research communications. Journalists don’t really want to write about your client’s product unless they’re authentically game-changing and they seldom are. PR for Thatcham Research is a completely different prospect. Top tier media – from IMI MotorPro to the BBC in all its forms – often come to us for expert insight and there’s a much readier-ear in the media for our outputs than I’ve experienced before. The brands I’ve represented in the past would pay millions for the exposure Thatcham Research enjoys, which is solely based on our research and data and the unrivalled automotive risk intelligence that comes with it. 

As a one off, the piece we did with Dr Hannah Fry for her ‘Secret Genius of Modern Life’ series, filmed in our Safety Lab, was one that impressed my dad! 

What would you say to someone considering automotive as a career choice? 

Go for it! I couldn’t imagine leaving the industry now. The cars we drive today have changed more in the past five years than they have in the previous 100. The sector is rife with innovation and is constantly moving forward, so if that’s what you’re looking for, the automotive industry is the place to be.  

Take a look at our 'There's More to Motor' website to see the campaign in action. Whether you're an individual or a business, we'd love for you to support our campaign by promoting it on social media, through emails and on your website. Download our toolkit and help us change the perception of the automotive sector.