Trevor Palmer

Take professional advice only from people relevant to your business, who can and do charge extortionately for their time.


Trevor Palmer is the owner of digital PR agency Tank, which works with brands such as Dixons Carphone, Experian, Ipsos and Moving Brands.

After graduation Trevor began his career as a press officer for British Gas, and a year later went agency side where he worked for brands such as Pretty Polly, Bosch Siemens, Maglite and Pirelli. During this time he also successfully launched couture fashion brand Djinn, devised a national PR campaign to abolish fixed-odd betting terminals in high street bookmakers, and led the campaign to delay Nottingham’s controversial Workplace Parking Levy. He also led the Poppy Appeal campaign for the Somerset Royal British Legion with the last surviving Tommy of the Great War, Harry Patch, which generated more coverage than that year’s national campaign.

His own agency, Tank, specialises in creating dynamic media profiles for high growth businesses, and ranks 156th in the PR Week Global Agency Business Report 2018.

His interests include period property renovation, Victoriana, Great War literature and an unhealthy obsession with Bethesda games.

Where did the idea for Tank come from?

It wasn’t really a great brainwave, simply that I thought I could do things differently and perhaps even better than the agencies I had worked for previously. I suppose I had been watching too much Mad Men, and The House of Elliot around 2010 when I started – both of which carry huge entrepreneurial and inspirational themes. I read The 50th Law that year too, and 50 Cent probably pushed me over the edge.
Tank was my nickname, thus the name.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Our clients are all over the country, so I am often out. When I am in, I’m a bit obsessed with time management, but this usually stays in theory as I gravitate through the day following the shiny things. I stay productive by timing myself when I do tasks and keep extensive ‘to do’ lists.

Years ago I first watched Blow Up and decided that in some way my life had to be like David Hemming’s in the film. To that end, I occasionally try to fit some floating around into the week – visiting great places and people, sometimes connected to work, sometimes not. This is good for the soul, and stops you getting bored and burning out. You can’t work without stopping, and living like this means that when you get back to work, you’re hugely productive as you’ve been entertained, have a few more ideas and can really focus on writing and the many other jobs.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have my best ideas when I’m not at work and I get proper thinking time, and when I’m in client meetings. They come to life in discussion with colleagues or clients, as they are moulded to suit.

What’s one trend that excites you?

That the traditional office / workplace ‘confined environment’ is less adhered to, and that academic thinking on how to work in the most effective way is becoming more adopted by the mainstream. I also like that nobody really cares how people dress and wear themselves at work anymore.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?


What advice would you give your younger self?

Start the business seven years earlier, and believe in your own ability so much more in general.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

There are ‘ghosts’, but not everyone sees them, according to lots of people I know and trust!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Take professional advice only from people relevant to your business, who can and do charge extortionately for their time.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Employing people who know more than you do about their thing, ingratiating them into your culture and giving them autonomy, and a chance to have input into strategy and tactics where they can.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Whilst you can’t shut me up in client meetings, I don’t enjoy public speaking one bit. I made sure that some of the people I employed were amazing at it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Tattoo removal. Not a new idea, but I bet demand will outstrip supply in years to come.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Antique Victorian country house chair for £80 at auction. Could have gone for £800. Made me happy.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Microsoft Excel. I am a simple creature where tech is concerned and live happily with my lists of things and selected accumulations.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves as the book. It talks a lot about change and challenging circumstances that you just have to get on with. Plus he’s one of the most eloquent writers.

50th Law by Robert Greene and 50 Cent would be my business book.

What is your favorite quote?

Chesty Puller, USMC Lieutenant General during WW2 – there are many probably paraphrased versions of this quote, I prefer: “We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem of finding the enemy and killing them.”

Key learnings:

• Delegate as much as you are able, and then some more.
• Do it sooner than you’re comfortable with.
• Pay for excellent advice until it makes you wince.