Raising your Profile
Thank you to all of those who could attend the Fast Growth Club ‘Raising your Profile’ event in May, at the stunning Getty Images Gallery, Oxford Circus.
It was great to see entrepreneurs, growing businesses and even established companies, gathered to listen to a stellar panel including Caroline Kinsey (Cirkle), Charles Lewington (hanover), Phil Lynas (All About Food) and Mark Palmer (Non-Executive Director at Green and Black’s). We were delighted to engage David Walter, owner of First Take, to act as our Chair for the evening – the former BBC and ITN correspondent didn’t disappoint, raising some provocative debate.
What was covered during the panel session?
What is the value of PR?
Caroline Kinsey: It’s free. Whilst a 30 second advert on UK television will set you back £250,000, spending some time engaging with the media comes in with a cheaper price tag. Set your objectives up front - what are you trying to achieve? Awareness? Sales? Greater advocacy amongst your target audience?
Phil Lynas: the significance of personality – when your customers can describe your message more clearly than you can, you know your PR has worked: start a rumour and see how it makes its way back to you. Ensure that any news gets into the correct publication – anything else is a waste of time.
Mark Palmer: advertising doesn’t tell the whole story – PR allows room for a developed message.
How can you measure the success of PR?
Charles Lewington: ask yourself, have you gained more customers? What does success mean for you? Did you set clear goals with your staff, or agency?
Mark Palmer: success comes through being an expert in “talking to the world”, has your message been spread clearly?
Reactive PR – how do you handle a bad situation?
Charles Lewington: the need for speed – moving swiftly is the key. Go with your instincts when finance directors or lawyers may be pulling you in another direction.
David Walter: it’s always better to say something rather than nothing.
Mark Palmer: media training is invaluable – being able to cope under pressure can transform a PR disaster into a PR opportunity.
Caroline Kinsey: when the Branston factory burnt down over night, it was her job to deal with the media: it’s the “proactive” part of reactive PR that counts. Plan for a crisis, and be consistent about your message when things go wrong. Look at the positives, problems are often great opportunity to grab the attention of the press, create a thought leadership role for yourself – think about the chance to represent your sector.
Wingrave Yeats kindly supported the event as venue sponsor.
From the event: Watch Phil Lynas talk about brand
- Tell your story - "normality, personality and reality"
- Find ambassadors for your brand, reward them with your product
- In the midst of a PR disaster, say something, rather than nothing.
- Strike a balance between traditional PR and new media
- 'Measure' your PR on a project by project basis
Questions from the audience
Has the creativity of PR been challenged due to the constant measuring of ‘success’?
Phil Lynas: “You can’t measure everything in numbers”.
David Walter: “measure for the long-term”.
Smaller companies can’t afford agencies, is social media a good replacement, especially for emerging companies? How does traditional media compare with new media/social media?
Mark Palmer: social media is a cheap, quick way to push brands, but you must have content for it to succeed – the consumer is more savvy that we might imagine.
Caroline Kinsey: keep social media alive, real and busy.
Phil Lynas: social media works because you have an audience who want to listen – they don’t have to be persuaded. Whilst traditional PR is time-consuming, social media messages reach an expansive audience, with a high interest, quickly.
How can you reach new audiences with social media?
Mark Palmer: start to gather ambassadors. Get fans of your product/business on board, trust them, contact them personally, and reward them with your product (in Mark’s case, give them free chocolate!).
Phil Lynas: a ‘fan’ actually built a Facebook page dedicated to one of his brands – they gained Nandos products in return. A willing consumer audience is happy, and ready, to spread the word for you.
An experienced CEO and Chartered Accountant
Global Brand Director, Green & Black's Chocolate