Creativity and craft

Guildford-based startup Modern Classic Digital, founded by PR expert Barney Packer, has its sights set on success this year!

Barney, tell us about yourself and the inspiration behind Modern Classic Digital.

“My name is Barney Packer, and I’m a digital PR expert with eight years of experience in the media and communications industry. At the start of this year, I launched my own digital PR agency, Modern Classic Digital.

“I started my career studying Journalism and PR at the University of Lincoln in 2015, so I consider myself to have a fluent and precise knowledge of the industry after working in it for so many years. I have a passion for all things original and I see PR as a beautiful balance of creativity and craft that allows businesses to flourish.

“What inspired me to launch Modern Classic Digital was an unshakeable feeling of wanting to create something truly special that I had a direct influence on. Having worked at various agencies in the past, I saw how things could be improved and I knew that in order for me to make change, I needed to do it myself. I built on that feeling and created an agency that already feels more contemporary and intuitive than anywhere I’ve ever worked.

“It’s not easy launching an agency in a cost-of-living crisis and constant threat of a recession, but I realised that really it could be a benefit. Being a small agency, we can offer the same quality work you’d expect from big agencies while doing it at a fraction of the price.

“We’re forward-thinking, constantly striving for the best and focus on the digital world. Modern, classic, digital. It sums up our offering perfectly and sets an immediate impression. It will be that way forever.”

What is your mission and vision?

“Our mission is simple; to provide top-quality digital PR campaigns at cost-effective prices. We have a vision to do this in a way that benefits the world (i.e. no ridiculous novelty campaigns), and to always have a people-first approach where clients and staff can feel success and satisfaction.

“Alongside this, we have our name to motivate us. Not only is it our identity, but it’s a constant reminder of what we always need to aim for. How can we call ourselves Modern Classic Digital without being those three things? It keeps us moving forward and reaching new achievements.

“Regarding our services, they’re perfectly tailored to getting a brand’s voice heard online whilst also growing discoverability and SEO value. Our most popular service is our digital PR suite, which is a combination of online coverage, link acquisition, reactive PR and data journalism. It means that our clients are able to get a complete and comprehensive service for a really affordable price with everything included.

“For clients wanting a truly all-encompassing range of services, we also offer our marketing essentials, which includes blog content and influencer marketing – two absolute musts for any modern business.

“We’re a small team, so that means clients also get an agency they can depend on. At a big agency, you’ll get an account manager that probably looks after 20 other accounts and might be thinking of moving jobs. At Modern Classic Digital, we commit to clients and build great relationships. That’s worth so much and allows us to integrate ourselves within businesses in a very collaborative way.”

What campaigns have you been involved with since launching?

“Our first campaign was a proud moment, which we ran for Oasis Interior Design. They had never been featured in editorial press before so we created a ‘Nothing to National’ strategy, which landed them in the Daily Express within the first two weeks of us working together.

“What’s even better is that we’ve already exceeded our campaign target and still have several more months collaborating on this particular strategy. For them, it’s a real bargain too because we never charge our clients more based on results. That means they’ve got an absolutely fantastic ROI.

“This level of results isn’t an anomaly. We’re true experts in our field and we achieve this standard of work as a standard.

“As a young agency, we’re still winning new business, which is hugely exciting, and I’m loving the process of talking to so many business owners about their needs. It’s been a really interesting journey that has already informed and shaped Modern Classic Digital’s service offering.

“At the end of the day, every business wants to be able to make their customers’ lives as easy and stress-free as possible so when we meet with people, we’re sure to accommodate their every need. It also really helps Modern Classic Digital expand and become a more valuable agency.”

How has your journey as a startup business been? What are the positives and negatives?

“The positive of Modern Classic Digital has been the shift of mindset that it has introduced for me at a personal level. Where I used to feel under pressure and rushed from all aspects of work, that feeling has completely changed. I now have a mindset orientated around building and leading, which really helps with making decisions that ensures the business – and everyone part of it – succeeds while evolving in line with our overall values, aims and objectives.

“That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges though. It’s difficult spinning so many plates at once and I naturally put a lot of pressure on myself. The days are long and work doesn’t really leave my mind. For many people, this sounds like a real drain, but honestly, I love it. It’s the process of creating and building something that I really care about, which has completely changed my relationship with work. Challenges are a constant in the professional world, but that’s only because it’s in our nature to be aspirational and push ourselves.

“For anyone thinking about starting their own business, try to treat yourself as both a friend and member of staff. I’ve found that approach helps in leading by objective instead of emotion; a difficult thing to separate when you’re so passionate about your business!”

What can we expect from Modern Classic Digital in 2023 and beyond?

“This year is what I’d describe as our ‘push lap’. It’s all hands on deck to make the biggest splash we can and show the industry that we’re not messing around. Our sights are set firmly on the prize and we have the drive that no other agency is even close to.

“You can expect news stories that are all over the internet, brands on your screen with genuinely interesting content, and Modern Classic Digital becoming a well-known business. We’re going to be banging the drum and making noise, so when brands with drive want an agency to fuel that, they know where to come.

“This year is going to see some truly amazing campaigns and people are going to get to know Modern Classic Digital well. We’ve got no time to lose and endless energy to get some great work done. It’s a hugely exciting time.

“Looking beyond 2023, we’re not looking to stay a small agency long. Through our reputation and expertise, I’m confident in saying that we will soon be able to invite new members of the team on board and show people what a great workplace really looks like. The kind of place you couldn’t be prouder to be a part of.”

On a final note…

“I’d like to encourage other young entrepreneurs to get in touch for any advice and/or support. The professional world (across all industries) is one that works better through collaboration, so if anyone ever needs support in any sense then please just get in touch. The world does better when it works together.

“With that in mind, people can feel free to reach me at and I’ll always be more than happy to help. It’s time to revolutionise work culture in this nation.”

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