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  • Assume nothing – part two

    Being aware of the need to constantly challenge your own assumptions, can have tangible, practical benefits and result in better campaigns, more effective PR and smoothly-run events.

     

    If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. Unless you think ahead. Beware of believing that the arrangements you have made are set in stone or that what is obvious to you is obvious to everyone else. The devil is always in the detail.

     

    • You are used to communicating within your industry and now need to address a less specialised audience. Remember that what may be clear or familiar to you may not be to them. Check that technical terms are explained and acronyms spelt out, but don’t patronise your readers

     

    • You plan a summer event and have visions of elegant guests sipping prosecco, strolling in bright sunshine – what will you do if it rains all day?

     

    • Is the person you made the arrangements with going to be away on leave when the event takes place or the article needs to be submitted? You need to know who will deal with everything in their absence and make sure that that person actually knows that they have been given that role. It’s too late to find out that there has been no handover on deadline day

     

    • You booked a laptop and projector but what about cables? Can the room be sufficiently darkened so that the audience can see the presentation? Do you have a back-up plan if the equipment fails? How many copies of the presentation do you have? Have you checked whether the embedded videos run on the hired equipment?

     

    • A colleague sends you an image to use for a campaign, but does your organisation have permission to use it? Is a photo credit needed or a royalty payment? Has it been used before and in what context?

     

    I could go on but I am sure that you get the idea. Check and double-check at every stage. Don’t just keep your fingers crossed.

    Instead: assume nothing.

     

  • Assume nothing!

    This is our unofficial company motto and it has stood us in good stead over the years.

    We all make assumptions: assuming it won’t rain because the weather forecast said it wouldn’t or in my case, assuming that it will rain because I have just washed my hair and I have neither a jacket nor an umbrella!

    But we are all too often completely wrong.

    We tend to believe that other people will buy in to our world view and think and behave in the ways that we expect them to. This is particularly true in marketing and PR. A few examples  illustrate what I mean:

    ‘Our target audiences will want to read about/buy our products’. Just because you have identified someone as a potential customer does not automatically mean that they will appreciate that they should be interested in what you have to sell. At the very least you will need to work at getting their attention and possibly accept the unpalatable fact that some will not respond.

    ‘We’ve been around for years, everyone knows who we are and what we do.’ You need to keep the memory fresh. Times change and personnel, particularly journalists, move on. New players enter the market. Reputations need to be tended regularly and updated if your competitors are not to steal your limelight.

    ‘Big data tells us everything we need to know about our customers. All we have to do is push the right buttons.’ Really? Viewing this from your own experience as a consumer, do you find this a convincing statement? Could you predict exactly how those closest to you will react to something? And be right every time? Political parties often make this mistake and rely on data and focus groups to tailor individual policies that deliver what they think the voters want to hear. But without a distinct, convincing overarching identity which puts the tactical messaging in context, it is unlikely to elicit more than a short-lived response. Here the sum of the parts is definitely not greater than the whole.

    So, treat your audiences with respect, don’t get too comfortable, and know that you have to keep working to capture their attention. The communications space is very overcrowded.

    Assume nothing.

  • Who are you?

    No, this isn’t a random reference to The Who, but rather a serious question that every organisation should ask themselves.

    I’ve been attending a number of networking events recently. There’s nothing concentrates the mind so well, early in the morning, as having to introduce yourself and your company, over and over again. Or better (worse?) yet, having to stand up and sum up what you have to offer in 30 seconds to a room full of strangers. It forces you to think: to distil and refine what you want to say and to select only the most pertinent items of information, so that you can put forward the most coherent, persuasive view of what your organisation is about and why someone should be interested.

    Networking events aside, every organisation needs to know what their core messages are. Try it now. Describe your organisation – what it offers and to whom – in a maximum of three sentences. Whatever form of words you arrive at should lie at the heart of all your marketing and PR. If it doesn’t or you can’t answer that briefly and convincingly, then your marketing communications programmes will fail to deliver.

    Profile building is about working out what an organisation is, what it stands for and where it wants to be. Only then can you start work on a strategy of how to get there. If you don’t know where you are starting from, how will you know when you have arrived?

    So, think about it. Who are you?

  • PR & marketing: the tools to enhance a brand

    A member of our team has just taken delivery of an item from Boden womenswear. Contained within the package was a single sheet of the Boden current marketing messages.

    Masterly.

    Since Boden started up in the nineties, Johnnie Boden has consistently refreshed his company’s profile, mostly with success, and never so than with this latest marketing.  His astute awareness of changing opinion keeps Boden always one step ahead, a precious talent that renews whilst never losing sight of founding principles.

    In this age of scant respect for any business that is viewed as old, and 20 years is old to many in today’s terms, the profile of Boden is right up to the minute.
    Reinvention at its classiest and an object lesson to the rest of us.
  • 2017. Time to get a grip on your PR

     

    Public Relations planning and strategy for 2017

    Public Relations planning and strategy for 2017

    I am the sort of person who always likes to get a grip. I am not a fan of drifting along hoping that everything will turn out for the best. PR, however, is a ‘slow burn’ activity, building over many weeks and months with the results only apparent long after the hard work has been done. It’s a discipline where patience is definitely a virtue, if not a prerequisite! But ‘slow burn’ does not mean that the quality of the input and the results generated are not linked.

    (more…)