24 hours with Chris Gray, managing director, Daylight

In this 24 hours with, Sydney-based communications agency Daylight's Chris Gray talks crisis comms, sushi and tackling curly questions.


Alarm goes off. Can I sneak another 15 minutes? Of course I can! Almost half an hour goes by before I wake with a start and realise it’s now almost 7am! Jump out of bed. Wake the kids, as my wife is not yet home from her 5.30am boot camp. Neither of us are morning people to be honest, but she persists with a 5.30am class twice a week, while I do my classes early evening in a local park. I down an apple juice, Weetbix and a banana and head out the door at 7.40am.


Traffic is lousy. So what’s new? This is Sydney! Arrive at our office in Kent St in the city. Greet the team (or those who have already arrived) and then head to my favourite coffee shop, “Rickardos on Kent”. This outlet has undergone three name changes over the past three years, but the coffee has always been good. Has everything to do with the quality of the barista! Settle back at my desk and check emails.


First meeting for the day. We are looking to develop collaborative relationships with some new agency partners. Having just merged our business (public relations firm ICON International Communications) with a boutique advertising agency (Chris+Geoff) to form “DAYLIGHT Agency”, we are seeking to expand our network to cover off some of the services we don’t currently offer. The meeting goes well and we discuss potential opportunities that we can share with each other.


Check voicemail. Return a client call and discuss some needs for an upcoming campaign. Hold a brief meeting with of one of our creative team and check that we have our presentation ready for a meeting with a client later in the day. We are looking at tabling some new design concepts for the rebranding of their website and marketing materials. We make a few final tweaks and then agree the presentation is ready to go.


Head into an internal brainstorm. We have an opportunity to provide some ideas around a new project for a client in the travel and tourism sector. The session starts in a lively fashion and some good ideas are thrown around. The trick with any brainstorm is keeping people on track and not letting the session run on for too long. The account team are happy with the ideas and commit to get back to the client by close of business with the best of them.


Brief catch up with one of our team who has been working on a mini crisis for a client and has been providing some issues management advice throughout the day. We seem to be “on top” of the matter and our advice is helping the client manage some negative social media coverage. People will always complain about something in their world, but it is important we appear to be listening and responding. We will need to keep an eye on the issue as we move forward.


Head to a local Japanese take-away to grab some sushi. Love Japanese food. It always feels light and wholesome. Make a call to my sister who is looking for advice on some marketing collateral she is producing. We chat about a range of matters and then agree she will send me her draft materials over the next few days and I will review them for her.


Quick change of clothes and I head to the University of Notre Dame at Broadway where I am helping act as MC at a panel discussion attended by students studying public relations, marketing and advertising courses at the University’s School of Business. It’s great to be able to give back to students and be involved in their development. The students are keen to know more about life beyond the lecture room and how they can position themselves for a career once they complete their degrees. The session goes well and the panellists provide them with some good insights, despite a few curly questions being asked.


Say my farewells and head to a meeting to join some of my colleagues to present our selection of new design ideas which we had completed earlier in the day. The team are already set up. It has been a difficult brief to respond to as the client is not completely sure what they want. I guess that makes them a pretty typical client! We present our new concepts to the managing director, head of HR and the newly appointed marketing director. The presentation goes well and we receive positive feedback. We will await the debrief and take it from there.


Back to the office for a quick end of day catch-up with the team and a quiet drink to round out the day and celebrate a team member’s birthday. I will stick with just one drink as I have my pilates class in less than two hours!


My weekly pilates session. I have decided to do a series of 10 classes to strengthen my core after I suffered a back problem a few months ago. As always, the class is an opportunity to let the tensions of the day slide away and to focus some energy on health and wellbeing. This is my fifth class in the series and I am a bit of a convert, having never undertaken pilates in the past.


Light dinner and then help one of my daughters with her homework.


Lights out. Time for some zzzzzs!


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