My Media Week: Keith Grainger

This week Keith Grainger, chief executive of the publisher Redwood, gets the stretchy pants on (for cycling), plans the Christmas party and sees his team triumph at the APA Awards.

Keith Grainger: chief executive of Redwood
Keith Grainger: chief executive of Redwood


It's back to reality after my birthday weekend, celebrated with a visit to see James Corden in ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ (hilarious and smart – I recommend) and a bike ride through dense fog into glorious sunshine at the top of Box Hill (for my sins I'm a Mamil: middle-aged man in Lycra).

We kick of the week with a 9am management team meeting. My ever-reliable train is delayed so I'm late, but nonetheless it's a positive meeting. We're waiting for confirmation on an increase in spend from one client and also on two new business decisions.

Then I meet with our editorial director, Sara Cremer, to prep for a creds meeting with an AMV Group client tomorrow.

Next on the agenda – IT. We need to update our IT equipment to showcase our capability beyond print in the boardroom. Meet with our IT director and creative director to discuss what kit will best kick-start this process – exciting stuff.

Lunch, as ever, is courtesy of the Pret a Manger underneath our building. We're not short of sandwich bars on St Martin's Lane, but convenience tends to win out.

A very interesting meeting with Stuart Thompson of Kudan, a company that provides augmented reality services.

Using its app, you can point your smartphone at an ad or poster to link through to unique, purpose-created content. This is more than a gimmick – it opens lots of exciting possibilities for instant rich engagement with consumers.

We're taking an idea to one of our automotive clients.

I'm working with our resource director on relaunching our appraisals documents. Our values are part of this.

Redwood has always had a great spirit, but it hasn't yet been put down in writing. I want to get this in place before Christmas, ready for next year.

I fully intended to avoid alcohol until Wednesday's APA awards, but we end up at the pub to celebrate news on one of the new pieces of business.

Still, I'm back on the reliable (or otherwise) South West Trains service and home at 8pm to my wife Stephanie and children, Sam, 13, and Sophie, 8.


Lovely start to the day with an invitation from M&S to 'The X Factor’ finals – my son is beside himself with excitement – followed by a financial meeting with our chief financial officer Phil O’Connell, reviewing numbers for this year and plans for next year.

Sara Cremer and I then head to the City to see an AMV Group client and do a show-and-tell of Redwood's new non–print work. We don't know where it will lead but, they seem interested and impressed.

Christmas party planning meeting.

It's going to be a masked ball, location to be announced. I'm less hands-on than I used to be with events, but I like to approve the venues and the budget, of course.

It's important we uphold our reputation for great parties - we always try to top last year's.

It's straight into a conference call to New York with Simon Bond who handles global marketing for BBDO. They send out a regular email to all BBDO employees and clients worldwide – about 17,000 people – and we have just been commissioned to design their Decoder e-zine throughout next year.

This is a fantastic opportunity to create content and build Redwood's reputation inside our own global network.

At close of play, I'm enticed into the pub against my better judgement – again – to celebrate yesterday's win, but with different people. I read ES on the train home and use my iPad to do emails and catch up with my Facebook newsfeed.


Today is the APA Content Summit at Billingsgate. I meet up early with our soon-to-join digital services director Jonathan Richards.

The event is a good representation of how customer publishing is evolving as an industry, the breadth, depth and quality of content today, and how specialist content agencies are helping our clients get time and attention with their customers across platforms.

Keynote speaker Rory Sutherland talks about finding the sweet spot between technology, psychology and economics. Smart man!

Dash back to the office to change into my tux for tonight's APA International Content Awards, trying to respond to as many incomings from the day as possible en route.

It's a very good evening for us. We have lots of clients across our five tables and we scoop three awards and four highly commended. 

I'm very proud of the energy and spirit in the room from Redwood. I never assume we'll win, but we're always optimistic about the breadth and quality of our work and, of course, we want recognition.

Have a great time with our Royal Mail client who hits the dance floor, but there'll be no dance moves from me.

I always tend to scurry off before the dancing kicks off. Mini cab home and bed shortly before 1am – much too late for me these days.


I'm tired, but the day starts with a follow-up 2012 planning meeting, which sees me immersed in numbers for an hour or more.

Spend some time working on an induction plan for our new client services director to get him underway when he joins officially next week, and then dig into some prep for our board meeting next week.

BBDO in Toronto, Canada have emailed to ask whether Redwood could help on a new business pitch.

We put forward initial suggestions for how content might help them, followed up with creds and a content list to build into their pitch.

Let's see if they get through to round two, when we'll need to get down to some creative development work.

I leg it to Waterloo to catch my wretched train in time to grab dinner, then drive to Guildford to pick Sam up from the musical academy where he plays the drums.


Induction for new client from Barclays this morning, then more finance meetings I'm afraid – it's that time of year and we’re trying to finalise numbers.

Working lunch at my desk trying to judge our Above and Beyond Award.

A long list of outstanding contributions to the Redwood cause. Can someone really have knitted a miniature matching hat and scarf for a photo shoot in their spare time?

Friday evening means agency drinks and we've lots to celebrate this week. Our success at the APA awards, our first created-for-iPhone magazine for Mazda.

We also have two new joiners and that, plus our new internal Above and Beyond awards, offers plenty of reason for yet more drinking in our bar area – nicknamed Potters Bar after Redwood co-founder Mike Potter.

Have your say...

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Media Week Jobs
Search for more media jobs


Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up

Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up

Waitrose has joined forces with Channel 4 and produced a Saturday morning lifestyle and cookery programme called 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose', with TV presenters Lisa Snowdon and Steve Jones signed up to front it.

Newspaper ABCs: Guardian smashes through 100m browsers in March 2014

Newspaper ABCs: Guardian smashes through 100m browsers in March 2014

The Guardian reached more than 100 million monthly unique browsers for the first time in March, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations figures published today.

Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers

Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers

Italians swearing and shouting while sitting behind the wheels of their cars and negotiating the busy streets of Rome could become a thing of the past if they all start driving Toyota's Hybrid vehicles, implies a short film for the car brand.


Get news by email