Something I said at a webinar last week seems to have resonated so it may be worth sharing again.
When you hire a public relations company, or marketing company or indeed a media trainer like me, it can be worth listening to what we have to say and advise. Clients often tell us they want something specific, whether it’s increased sales, a wider distribution network or whatever else it might be – and then they instruct, say, their PR company, about where they want coverage.
It is often better to give the PR company, marketing company or whoever, a good guide as to what you’re aiming for and then take their input. What I said in the webinar was that service providers are like a satnav; we work best when we’re given the destination and then we apply our expertise to work out the best route. Anyone wanting their satnav to get from, say, London to Brighton and insisting they had to stop off in Newcastle on the way would soon find themselves wasting a lot of time and get frustrated at the competition arriving much earlier than they did.
In communications this can apply when someone asks me for techniques to shut down awkward questions, when the most productive thing can be to assume the reader/viewer will also have thought of the question – so the best strategy is to give a decent answer. PR professionals, as distinct from trainers like me, might be told someone wants their story in the Financial Times to increase sales, while a less prestigious publication might actually provide a better line to their market and primed buyers.
You’ll have your brand and some strong ideas about it and that’s a good thing. It’s a mistake to let us take over and make it in our own image. But remember that satnav metaphor; it can be well worth starting a briefing with the destination you want your business to reach and then letting the experts work out the best way to get there.