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My Top 5 Career Moves: Tanya Layzell-Payne

Thinking of getting into food and drink PR? Tanya Layzell-Payne, founder of one of the leading restaurant PR and marketing agencies in London, Gerber Communications, shares the top 5 career moves that got her where she is today.

London Records, New York

‘My first real job was in the music industry at London Records in NY. I worked with some of the biggest bands and DJs at the time – All Saints, Pete Tong and Paul Oakenfold. After seven years, the Internet took hold and the whole business changed.’


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Neil Reading PR

‘I came back to London and was given the opportunity of working at an entertainment/lifestyle agency. My clients were suddenly restaurants. I spent a lot of my years in NY eating at great restaurants and had been lucky enough to meet many of the chefs and started to get a good understanding of what happened behind the scenes in restaurants – it interested me enormously. Having spent the majority of my 20s in nightclubs and going to gigs, I was now 30 and working with restaurants seemed like a natural progression.’


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Starting Gerber Communications

‘Like a lot of businesses, I started mine from my kitchen table, not entirely sure what the future might hold. I started Gerber because I wanted to have absolute control over the clients I worked with. At Gerber we are incredibly selective about who we work with. Although it may seem like business sense to work with clients who have the most money, it is imperative to work with clients that you are passionate about. That enthusiasm translates into the conversations you are having with the media and of course, ultimately affects the results.’


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From a kitchen table start-up to one of the leading restaurant PR & marketing agencies in London

‘Running your own business is not like a job. You never switch off, which takes a lot of getting used to. It works for some people and not others. Dealing with big egos some of the time can make for interesting moments! The best thing about working in this business is seeing a campaign come to life. When the stories that you want to tell with your clients are seen on the printed page and everyone is talking about that restaurant, chef or dish, then you know that what you are doing is working. When you have worked with a client who has set a trend in the dining scene and within weeks that dish/cuisine is found on supermarket shelves, that’s pretty exciting. It takes time too – strong relationships with the media are built over a number of years and based on a foundation of respect and understanding.’


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Future

‘The aim of what we do is to deliver results that drive our clients’ business. We do everything we can to understand their business. It is all about good communication. As an agency, we have adapted to the development of the digital age. Today we offer clients complete integrated marketing communications and continue to expand our services – in the old days, print was king – nowadays platforms such as Instagram can have far more impact if used strategically. I expect we will continue to grow as the digital age rapidly evolves.’