At this month’s Marketing Meetup: Birmingham we heard from the brilliant Bron Eames.
Bron has over 30 years’ experience in public relations having worked in-house and in consultancy. She is currently chair of PRCA Midlands and has also chaired the CIPR in the Midlands – and spent four years on the national PRCA board of management. We’re pretty sure she knows her stuff!!
In Bron’s talk, she gave us some great examples of when big brands haven’t planned for a crisis and how others that have taken responsibility and owned their mistakes. In a world where we have so many channels and our brands are so visible, there is nowhere to hide. However, we should be celebrating this by being proactive and making ourselves visible in a positive honest way and doing the right thing.
Bron summed up her top tips of what to do and what not to do when it comes to PR:
- Carry out a full risk assessment/communications audit. Have a plan!
- Be rigorous! Brand guardianship is a huge responsibility
- Be authentic – take the pub test!
- Think long term
- Get employees on side
- Have a proper CSR strategy – or should that be SR?
- Be active. Pro bono work and volunteering need not be expensive
- “Invite” donations – making it easy to decline
- Take responsibility when things go wrong
- Have a great comms team who love their job!
- Let egos get in the way
- Let an inappropriate director be your spokesperson
- Tell fibs
- Wing it!
- Inflict ‘help’ in the name of CSR – like painting fences no one needs!
- Just do things “for the PR”
- Shout about charitable donations then slip them very discreetly onto customers’ bills
- Ignore employee preferences. Millennial stats!
- Have a scapegoat
- Only support directors’ favourite charities (even if the CEO wants a knighthood…)
The main takeaway for me was that Bron encouraged brands to be transparent, decent but above all, be fierce!