Interview with Courtney Rogers Founder of CIJ Group, PR Solutions Company

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Interview

I met wonderful PR expert Courtney Rogers when I was invited to take part in CIJ Group‘s International Women’s Day event where I chatted about overcoming confidence for a happier life. It was such an uplifting event which brought together inspirational women from all corners of life.
Courtney, who goes under the handle @thelondoninspirer on Instagram, is the super positive and energetic founder of CIJ Group and also a retail trends and gifting expert. She has worked in the events industry for over a decade and founded Diamond Creative Events, where she worked with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Ray-Ban, Swarovski and Parrot. Her experience spans the retail sector and supporting PR agencies and she connects PRs with influencers and journalists.

I chat with Courtney about her career, personal style and who inspires her in the industry. 

Interview with PR expert Courtney Rogers

NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

Courtney Rogers: I live in leafy Richmond-upon-Thames, but I’m originally from Essex. My dad, still insists on trips to Leigh-On-Sea to get jellied eels and cockles, (I haven’t yet been able to get my head around this delicacy I have to say), my mum was originally from Chiswick so I have got my love of being by the river from her. When we were younger we also lived in Cheshire, Wales & Spain.

NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?

Courtney Rogers: I studied management sciences at Loughborough university and loved it! The whole discipline is about the various facets of business, so combined with my continued learning it has helped equip me with the tools and knowledge that has led to where I am today.

My first job following university was at Barclays on its graduate scheme. It was prior to the recession and it gave me my first taste of event management, at a time where budgets were vast and the bigger the better. It’s changed drastically now, as budgets are definitely not what they used to be, so we help our clients to be smarter with their budgets through collaboration.

NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?

Courtney Rogers: In all honesty, I don’t believe in the “one big break”. There’s a lot of time, effort and small steps that lead to success. For me, small, consistent steps and hard work get you to where you want to be. I still see myself on a journey that’s constantly evolving, and I don’t see that changing. If we don’t keep challenging ourselves, learning, growing and being consistent, then we get left behind. It’s about making every day count, in whatever way you can, by showing up and giving it your all.

About Courtney’s Business

NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your business, what is the idea behind it and who first did your branding?

Courtney Rogers: We connect PRs with influencers and journalists. The idea for launching CIJ Group (then Christmas in July) came back in November 2016. As I began my daily commute back to Richmond, I grabbed a copy of the Evening Standard and saw an article by the ES Small Business Agony Aunt, Jo Malone MBE titled: “Here’s why Christmas will be a washout if it hasn’t happened by July”. Since launching, we’ve supported hundreds of brands, retailers and PR agencies to connect with thousands of journalists & influencers. We host 18 virtual Power Pitching events throughout the year, run The Big Christmas Press Show, a retail exhibition held in September, and we have developed a growing digital platform for media,

Our original branding and rebrand was done by a good contact at our old offices, Nicolas Lavrov Studio. We have kept the company’s heritage by using the acronym of Christmas in July which also stands for what we do best: “Connecting Influencers and Journalists” – CIJ Group.

NakedPRGirl: What’s your USP?

Courtney Rogers: We are in a unique position in the market, as there are not many other PR solutions companies like us doing what we do. We connect and bring brands, retailers and the media together – for us, the “power of together” is a bold statement and one we are living by.

NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?

Courtney Rogers: When launching in 2017, Crabtree & Evelyn was the first household brand that trusted us and signed up to showcase. This moment made me realise we were onto something and gave me the confidence to push through the pain of the early throws of launching a business.

Courtney NakedPRGirl 1

Courtney’s Personal Branding

NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?

Courtney Rogers: I love dressing up, having my hair and makeup done and making an effort. My high heels get less wear these days now we’re working from home, but I’ve started dusting them off now the world is getting back to normal!

Recently, I’ve wanted to share my learnings with others and what it takes to be an entrepreneur and running a business. I have just changed my Instagram page name to “The London Inspirer”. I am passionate about wanting to help people grow, develop and believe in themselves and if I can help people by sharing my learnings, then I’ll be happy. I believe being successful in life is measured by your contribution to others.

NakedPRGirl: How important is your Instagram grid? Do you plan everything in advance?

Courtney Rogers: I’ve just started working on my own personal branding in the last few months, it has been a goal of mine for a while now and so I’m excited to be putting it into practice. I am definitely someone who loves to plan and I think when it comes to your grid, you need to be authentic and real, but by planning a month in advance it helps you to just work out what you want to share, talk about and means you’re not caught short with nothing to post when you’re busy!

Courtney on Social Media

NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business? What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?

Courtney Rogers: For us as a business, LinkedIn and Instagram are our biggest channels and we are looking to develop these and other social channels this year as we grow as a business. My tip would be to think of social media as a long game, slow and steady building an engaged community.

NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years?

Courtney Rogers: The PR, events and retail landscape are some of the most constantly changing industries. Which is thoroughly exciting but you have to keep your finger on the pulse at all times. COVID has had a massive impact on all industries and sectors across the board, but it has definitely ricocheted through the PR, events and retail sectors like a tornado. As a company we’ve had to diversify and adapt to offer solutions which resonate with the new world.

NakedPRGirl: Where do you see it evolving in the future?

Courtney Rogers: The Fashion Week of Christmas!

Courtney NakedPRGirl

Courtney on the industry

NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?

Courtney Rogers: I’m so inspired by many of the retail founders, PRs and journalists we work with it’s hard to choose just one. I recently met with the founders of Lapland UK, Mike & Alison, whose creative energy, focus on personal development and huge dreams most certainly inspire me.

NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between business and real life?

Courtney Rogers: I love my work, though I think it is really important to invest time in yourself, your personal development, your health and your social life so I always plan my diary to allow time for all these things. Balance is absolutely key; living a full and active life helps to spur me on in business.

NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?

Courtney Rogers: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out” – a quote by Robert Collier

NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?

Courtney Rogers: On a beach in the Maldives with a Piña Colada! I’ll still be working towards my bigger purpose to help others and hopefully have released my first book!

Visit CIJ Group here. Follow Courtney on Instagram here.



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