It's coming home

With the Euro final tomorrow, football is at fever pitch in England right now which has got me thinking about the unlikely parallels between PR pros and footballers.

We deliver on the pitch

When you’re trying to land your dream client, your success relies largely on your pitch. How you put your best foot forward and demonstrate your worth. The same goes for the brave men and women who put themselves out there in the competitive arena that is football. Ultimately, while behind the scenes matters, you live and die on the pitch.

We value goals

In PR, tactics are pointless without a clear goal in mind. It’s what drives us and prioritises our work. In football, well, whether you’re scoring them with a Bellingham-style bicycle kick or defending them like a Pickford penalty, goals matter.

We’re resilient

You’re not going to win them all. Sometimes, even with the best preparation and intent, things don’t go your way. The best PR pros and footballers know this and strive to learn from what’s happened and become better for it.

We’re always training

Your body and mind need constant challenge to stay sharp. PR pros treat every day as a school day, always incorporating CPD to remain ahead of trends and best practice. Similarly, there isn’t a successful footballer alive that doesn’t focus their physical and mental energy on training to be the best possible version of themselves.

We’re part of a team

Whether it’s your literal team mates, people behind the scenes or strategic partners, no man (or woman!) is an island. We’re only as good as the people around us and the best PR pros and footballers know that you’re only as strong as the sum of your parts.

So with the Euro final due to be played tomorrow, the team at Periwinkle are behind the English, especially our Arsenal boys, Saka, Rice and Ramsdale!

Trust me...

The UK general election is looming and it’s led me to think about politicians. People’s trust in them is at an all time low but what could PR do to improve the situation? After all, reputation management is one of our core functions so here are my top 4 tips for restoring confidence in politicians.

Be the real you

We constantly hear about authenticity but what does that mean in practice, and can it realistically be achieved? With constant audience analysis and segmentation, politicians are often pushed towards positions and characterisations that aren’t natural to them and the result often comes off as inconsistent or, even worse, fake. But how can you avoid this when your job security is based on public opinion? I believe you need to find at least 3 issues that you are genuinely passionate about and stick to them as your core values with no room to compromise. This might risk your position if it doesn’t fit in with your party’s core values but in that case are you even the right fit in the first place? By platforming yourself on your values, and aligning yourself with real causes, you will become known for that significantly more than the other policies you vote through. 

Make it relevant

Anyone else sick of being bombarded with numbers and statistics? Sure, talking about record investment may sound impressive on paper but it doesn’t connect with people whose lived experiences can’t be found on a spreadsheet. Showing the actual difference your ideas will make in real people’s lives carries significantly more weight. You’ll naturally be seen as more trustworthy and accessible. I’d go even further and say that the more relevant to people’s lives you make your content, the more people will see space for themselves in politics rather than it being a nebulous concept that only members of a certain class can be a part of. This movement towards inclusivity can only be a good thing.

Mind the gap

Speaking of inclusivity, who you trust behind the scenes to advise you is all too often a non-inclusive space. By that I mean it’s easy to surround yourself with those with a shared background. Need some evidence on this? Simply look at the educational backgrounds of politicians and their special advisors. And what does that cause? It limits your perspective. It’s why we see politicians speaking in ways that possibly make sense in a room full of people who agree with you but look disconnected and untrustworthy to the majority. What if people looked for their gaps and hired advisors based on those? People who could give actual lived advice rather than confirmation? I believe that this broader range of views would drastically improve the scrutiny of positions and help our politicians demonstrate a more empathetic world view.

Be a grown up

Between showing off on TikTok and going for a zinger at PMQs you could be forgiven for thinking that politicians aren’t taking this very seriously and that’s a mistake. Let’s showcase and normalise constructive conversations rather than point scoring. I’d certainly trust a politician who debates a policy and gives a straight answer to a question like a proper adult. Sure, have a little fun but not at the expense of your credibility.

My favourite teachers

Every day’s a school day and I’ve recently found myself acknowledging some unexpected teachers.

My dogs are very much part of my family. I like to think I’ve taught them well but lately I’ve been thinking about the things I’ve learned from them.

Keep it simple

We have a tendency in our industry to overcomplicate things. For some reason, when something is committed to writing, we bring out multi-syllabic words that we, quite frankly, would never use in every day conversation. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for that but it’s much less of the time that you think. My dogs remind me that basic commands are pretty damn effective. I’m not suggesting you walk into a client meeting and ask people to “sit” and “stay” but it’s absolutely worth spending some time defining exactly what you want your audience to do and keeping the way you communicate that simple.

Just move

In the process of setting up Periwinkle I walked my dogs a lot and realised that not only was I shedding some of those office-brownie-indulgent pounds but that my mind was becoming unleashed (pun intended) in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was giving myself more time to think rather than being stuck in a constant cycle of respond and react. I wasn’t getting dozens of teams messages, scores of emails and endless phone calls every hour so I had this newfound luxury of truly enjoying the outdoors. Now the phone is ringing again and the emails are pretty relentless but I prioritise movement every day to get the creative juices flowing.

Press play

Similar to the last point, when you’re working constantly you can forget about the importance of just letting your imagination run riot. I look at my dogs playing with their toys and having funny dreams when they’re barking and running and I can’t help but think we lose something special when we grow up and stop playing. Now I make sure I find fun in something every day – I actively seek out laughter in my life. It’s not always easy but it’s always possible. Laughter and fun fuel that child-like creativity and make me better at what I do. How often are we asked to be creative without being allowed space to play around and find it? Thanks in part to my dogs I now seek creative solutions rather than just finding problems which is such a big part of play.

You've got a friend

Some days things are really hard. Whether it’s a tricky situation, not having enough hours in the day, or trying to make the books balance – stress is real! But did you know that patting your dog can actually increase endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine while reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) and blood pressure? So when I’m really up against it, spending a few minutes with my dog can emotionally and physically help. After all, a happy worker is a productive worker. They’re not called man’s best friend for nothing.

Woof!

Latest blog - More than a logo

We all have a brand that sticks with us. For me, it’s Nike. As soon as you see the iconic “swoosh” you know exactly what brand you’re looking at. But it’s bigger than that. I know it stands for quality, excellence and getting off the couch to “just do it”. It’s aspirational, motivational and tightly connected to sport which makes absolute sense given it’s a company that sells sportswear. 

Ultimately, Nike wants you to buy a pair of trainers and maybe some new athleisure wear but their branding is what makes you choose them in what is, quite frankly, a crowded field. It’s a carefully crafted strategy to make you feel a certain way and believe a certain thing simply by seeing an image or reading some words. 

You can go back a few years to when they put Michael Jordan front and centre of their campaigns – a spokesperson for aspiration and excellence, surrounded by children who wanted to “be like Mike”. It’s so clever. Jordan is the personification of their brand, creating a human connection and spreading their message into almost borderless communities. It’s also no accident that there are children involved. It’s targeting a group who are known to want to keep up with their peers and that something being cool is very important. How many parents had their kids desperately pointing them towards Nike when out on a reluctant shop for clothes? I know mine were.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you’re looking at your brand, don’t just think about your logo. That will leave you at the back of the pack. Think about your identity – who you are, what your promise is and what your customers can expect – and that’s your brand.

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