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My experience spans crisis communications and protecting reputations for a number of well-known names as well as long-term reputation and brand-building, and producing engaging day-to-day campaigns and communications activities.
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Professional comms costs

Public relations, communications and associated functions are professional services that should be paid for exactly in the way legal and accountancy services are paid for. The prompt to rant about this is a number of examples I’ve seen where organisations have expected professional communications support without paying a fair price for it. Maybe we need to restate that public relations is a management function and much more than the outputs such web content or tweets or press releases? The majority of work is unseen – it’s the inputs such as horizon-scanning,...

Flowers and a steak bake?

An engaging story told well is at the heart of effective communication and something I saw today reminded me how tools and tactics change but a clear message always remains the essential ingredient. Video now makes up the majority of the web – a picture is worth a thousand words – but it is the story it tells that is key to engaging people. This tweet by @laura_myers demonstrated to me this morning that, while we can wrap all kinds of channels and tech around a conversation, it is the message itself...

A special 12 months

My position as current CIPR and IoD PR Director of the Year ends about 24 hours from now so I’m indulging myself an evening feeling special about it and what it’s meant. The intention was to blog about the value of winning an award shortly after the CIPR Excellence Awards on 3 June 2015 but events overtook me. Awards recognise best practice, make you evaluate your work and benchmark you against other brilliant practitioners. They make you feel fabulous on hearing your name or campaign read out as being the...

Find your stars

Lancashire County Cricket Club has played a blinder by having its star players call up customers and help them renew their memberships. It sounded novel but familiar at the same time – and it quickly became apparent that while it’s unusual for the sports world, it’s what the public sector does every day. Councils, police forces and fire and rescue services are fortunate in that their stars – the representatives of the organisation that the public identify most with – are usually their largest staff body, whose work naturally connects...

Women in leadership

Gender and leadership is a much discussed issue of late with Lord Davies’ annual Women on Boards review being published, PR Week writing about PR and The Athena Doctrine and International Women’s Day taking place – all in March. Coincidentally, an excellent Skills for Justice course for senior women leaders I’d been fortunate enough to have a place on also concluded at the same time. One of the workshops opened with some words from the Chief of the organisation hosting the event and he posed the thought-provoking question ‘why bother?’ so I thought I’d try and...

The power of integration

Communications planning for the Nottingham University fire where more than 60 firefighters spent the weekend battling a huge blaze started 10 months in advance. That’s not a glib, insensitive or plain wacky statement but a genuine sentiment that is testament to the hard work of the Corporate Communications team and all staff in the organisation in changing its approach to engaging with the communities they serve. Of course, we didn’t plan for a fire to devastate a £20m iconic building or for our firefighters and officers to spend three days...