Is the DIY approach to comms and marketing working for you?

Most people wouldn’t dream of rewiring their own house or installing their own boiler.

Why? Because these are tasks that require years of training and experience, and are fraught with legal requirements.

We all have a go at doing a few odd jobs around the house from time to time, but things tend to go wrong when DIYers don’t know their own limits and try to tackle a job beyond their skill level.

Most of the time there’s no harm done. The end result might not be up to professional standards, and it might have taken a bit longer – but it was probably cheaper and maybe even fairly enjoyable to do.

But if something goes wrong with your DIY you can easily find yourself unexpectedly dealing with a flood or a blowing a fuse.

Talk to any electrician or plumber and they’ll be able to tell you tales of the DIY bodge jobs they’ve been called into fix over the years. Sometimes, it’s just better to leave it to a professional.

The same, of course, is true of your communications and marketing. Many businesses and business owners try to take a DIY approach these essential functions.

And while they may be able to muddle through the basics, there are some tasks that need the attention of an experienced professional.

True, the DIY approach may be cheaper. But is it really the best use of your time? Are you really reaching the right audiences? Are you GDPR compliant? Would you know what to do if something went wrong?

Bringing in the experts to support your comms and marketing means you can stop trying to DIY it and instead make the right connections with your target audiences and avoid getting in hot water through ignorance of media and data protection law.

Why public relations is like a waterproof jacket for your business

Anybody who knows me knows that I’m a very keen cyclist.

When I set off on my ride the other day it was windy and rainy, but that didn’t matter because I was wearing my waterproof jacket.

It’s an essential bit of kit, because by protecting me from the wind and the rain it means I can just carry on doing what I want to do.

And because it’s bright red, it’s useful even in good weather because it makes sure I’m seen by other road users.

Public relations is like a waterproof jacket for your business.

On the good days, it’ll help to make sure you’re seen by telling your story, celebrating your successes and sharing your expertise.

And when things get a bit stormy working with a PR expert means that you can carry on doing what you do best, safe in the knowledge that any raindrops will bounce right off.

Check the forecast

Another thing you learn when you’re a cyclist is the importance of planning ahead.

Fail to check the weather forecast and you could find yourself 50 miles from home without your jacket when the raindrops start to fall.

And if you don’t invest in a jacket in the first place you’ll either have to endure some unpleasant days or be forced to cancel your plans.

Your approach to protecting your reputation is just the same.

Fail to look ahead and plan for the circumstances and you could find yourself exposed to the elements.

And not investing in PR support at all could mean that when bad weather hits you’ll have to abandon your plans to focus on sheltering from the storm.

  • Have you got the kit you need to make sure you’re seen and protect you when a metaphorical storm hits your business? Get in touch to find out how Rosebank Media can help you keep going, whatever the weather.

New businesses can win free networking for a year through grant scheme

Entrepreneurs launching new businesses in north Lancashire and south Cumbria this year have chance to secure a grant worth £894 for a year’s free membership of a worldwide networking organisation.

Business Networking International (BNI) has active groups all over the country, including the LA5 group, covering north Lancashire and south Cumbria.

Lancaster-based financial planner Peter Walmsley, a founder member of the LA5 group, said: “The pandemic has made 2020 incredibly tough for businesses, so BNI has introduced this grant scheme to help give a boost to a new start-up.

“We are seeing many people losing their jobs or finding their existing business is no longer viable, which is why we want to help people launching a new venture this year to get access to the support that BNI offers.

“We want to hear from anyone interested in applying for the grant so they can come along to one of our weekly online meetings and find out what we’re all about.”

BNI offers a structured approach to networking that encourages and trains members to work together to generate opportunities for each other’s businesses.

Local groups provide a valuable source of income for businesses as well as offering the chance to benefit from the collective knowledge, experience and support of other members.

Peter said: “Starting out in business can be daunting, but if you’re a member of BNI you don’t have to face the challenges alone. We’d love to help someone to get their business off the ground this year.”

Owners or employees of businesses launched in 2020 are eligible to apply. The business must be the applicant’s main work activity. One free membership is available for each BNI group, and grants will be awarded following an application process.Deadline for applications is December 8, 2020.

LA5 meets via Zoom from 9.30am to 11.30am every Tuesday.

To find out more and arrange a visit to the LA5 group, email BNILA5@outlook.com

The importance of reflecting on your success stories

What great thing did you or your business do last week? And who have you told about it?

Sometimes we all feel a bit shy about shouting about our achievements, but it’s important for so many reasons.

Celebrating your successes and talking (without boasting) about your deeds is a great way to build your reputation.

And as well as helping to raise your profile and impress new customers, it’s important for you too.

We’re all great at dwelling on what went wrong and the things we could have done better, but we often forget to take the time to remember what went well.

Make it a part of your routine to reflect on the problems solved, the clients supported and the people helped.

At the very least you’ll get a morale boost, but talking about and celebrating these successes can also have a positive impact on staff and make other people and organisations want to be a part of what you’re doing.

It’s not always easy to recognise the good stuff or find time in our hectic working lives to celebrate successes in a way they deserve.

There are probably amazing things that you do all the time, but you might see them as routine. Remember that something that’s an everyday occurrence for you could easily be a newsworthy story or engaging social media moment.

Rosebank Media can help you to recognise and share these positive stories to enrich your internal and external communications.

If you need help to identify and share the things that make you stand out from the crowd, get in touch to find out how we can support you.

‘Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’: How resilient is your crisis planning?

‘Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’

This quote from the boxer Mike Tyson got me thinking about planning for when things don’t go according to plan.

It’s inevitable that things will go wrong every now and then, and the severity of issues can vary from minor inconvenience to full-blown crisis.

When crisis strikes, it’s obvious that we need to move swiftly to get things back under control. 

But what’s often forgotten is the importance of communicating with the right people in the right way to explain what has happened, address concerns and minimise reputational harm.

Having a communication plan in place and ready for use in an emergency can be crucial, especially in larger organisations or those where risks are greater.

Every crisis is different and places different demands on you and your team. And emergencies can also impact organisational capacity, diverting your attention and energy from day-to-day activities.

So it’s worth investing the time in planning to ensure you can respond as quickly, effectively and efficiently as possible when the time comes.

Communicating at times of crisis can form a challenge for organisations of all sizes. Whether you’re a one-person business or a large company with an in-house communications team, the challenges increase exponentially the more serious and sustained the emergency is.

Whenever crisis hits, communication is going to play a role in solving the problem.That may be internal communications, sharing important messages within your organisation. It may be external communication, getting key messages out to key audiences and potentially liaising with the media.

In all likelihood, it will be a combination of the two. Your planning should identify key people who will need to be updated, how that will be done and who will be responsible for doing it.

So you’ve got your plan, but can it withstand a punch? Having a plan in place to deal with an emerging crisis only the first step. 

Will you be ready if something else happens, like a second emergency, negative media coverage or a social media storm? What’s the escalation plan if the initial emergency turns into a long-term problem?

Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but there’s a good chance that taking the time now to get a robust and comprehensive crisis plan in place will save you time in the long run.

  • Has your business got a plan in place for when crisis hits? And is the plan robust enough to withstand a punch? If you need help to get a crisis plan in place, or if you need someone ready to handle your communications during challenging times, Rosebank Media can offer support. Get in touch to find out more.

How a strong PR strategy can help you gain influence and achieve your goals

What are your goals for next month, next year, the next five years, and beyond?

Can you achieve them alone, or are other people key to meeting your objectives?

If what you want to do hinges on other people, there’s a good chance you need a public relations strategy that’s aligned to your goals.

What is public relations?

There are lots of different definitions of PR out there, but here at Rosebank Media we like to think of it as a variety of activities that is focussed on changing the behaviour of defined groups of people.

Maybe you want people to buy your products or services. Maybe you want them to vote for something or someone. Maybe you want them to start doing something or stop doing something.

Understanding who you’re talking to and what what behaviour change you want to bring about is vital.

Appeal to human nature

One you know ‘who’ and ‘what’ it’s time to think about the ‘how’.

How are you going to communicate with your audience? And how are you going to measure the impact of that communication?

There’s more to changing people’s behaviour than telling people what to do. True, there will be times when issuing instructions is the only option. But more often your PR activity will be more concerned with making your case, appealing to people on an emotional level, or finding ways of nudging them in the direction you want to go.

PR about more than public image. Being well-known isn’t an end in itself. What really makes a difference is gaining something more powerful than fame or popularity – influence.

Great communication is key to leading through challenging times

How are people in your organisation doing? No, how are they really doing?

Not sure? Then you’ve got a communication issue you need to address.

Whether you’re still able to work together, you’re working remotely for the first time, or you normally work apart, everyone is experiencing uncertainty and change as never before.

Outwardly, people in your organisation may seem to be coping well, but there’s a good chance at least some of them are feeling unsettled and anxious.

If you’re in a position of leadership – whether that’s formally part of your role or not – taking the time to check in on people to make sure they’re doing OK is invaluable.

Communication is a two-way process, and listening is the most important and also most frequently overlooked aspect.

Actively gathering feedback, listening to it and acting on it will help to make the people around you happier, healthier and more productive.

Depending on the structure of your organisation and the adaptations you’ve made for the Covid-19 pandemic, you’ll need the right communication methods in place to foster a meaningful and authentic conversation with the people you lead.

  • Not sure where to start? Need to improve what you’re already doing?
    Contact us to book a free half-hour consultation with Rosebank Media to find out how we can support you to boost your internal communications in these challenging times.

Communication is key to successful change management

How do you feel about change?

We’re all living through a period of rapid change the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

It’s challenging and can be uncomfortable. But it also presents opportunities.

Change comes in different ways. Sometimes it’s forced on you. Sometimes you recognise the need for change and take the initiative.

Communication is key to successful change management and the one thing that will be crucial to the success of any new practices, policies or procedures in your organisation.

Adapt and evaluate

In the case of the Covid-19 crisis change has come in waves, each requiring a different approach and mindset.

In the initial phase we all did what we had to do to adapt – working from home, socially distancing, paying more attention to hand-washing and changing their way we shop.

With lockdown restrictions lifting we’re changing again, with many organisations returning to operation with new practices.

With the initial panic and confusion behind us, we’ve now arrived at a place where we can evaluate the changes we’ve made and decide how to move forward.

Making temporary changes permanent

A recent survey revealed that 91% of people don’t want life to return to the way it was before lockdown.

That’s an amazing mandate for change and a chance to take decisive action to improve our lives.

If we’re going to get this right, strong and effective communication is vital.

Many organisations think they’re communicating when they tell their staff and customers what they’re doing.

But communication is about listening as well as speaking. It’s about fostering the right dialogue with the right people and taking on board what people have to say.

That doesn’t happen by accident.

Communicating well – and, therefore, effective change management – hinges on establishing who you need to communicate with, understanding their point of view, and knowing how their interests interact with those of other parties.

This is the basis of stakeholder analysis.

People, not ‘stakeholders’

‘Stakeholders’ always seems like one of those bureaucratic buzzwords, and that can act as a barrier to spending time thinking about the effectiveness and impact of the way you communicate.

So let’s not think of them as stakeholders, and lets call them what they are. People. People with hopes, fears, commitments, and concerns.

Who are the people who will be affected by the change that’s taking place?

Will they be affected positively or negatively?

Will what’s happening have a large or small effect on them?

Taking the time to understand the individuals and groups who will be impacted by change is crucial.

Put yourself in their shoes. Who will be most interested in the change that’s happening, and why? Who is in a position to enable or disrupt progress?

Do this work before communication starts and you’ll be one step closer to success.

Communicating about communication

A big change many organisations are currently facing is the adjustment to our working lives that has arisen from the Covid-19 crisis.

Will we ever go back to working the way we used to, and if not how are we going to interact with each other within teams and organisations?

Many organisations will have some work do around this – an occasion we need to communicate effectively about how we’re going to communicate in the future.

Getting this right means happy, productive organisations filled with people motivated by having had an input into the future of their life and work.

  • Let Rosebank Media support through these uncertain times with change management consultancy services geared towards making your communication hit the mark in these challenging times. Get in touch to find out more.

What Sir Isaac Newton can teach us about building a successful public relations strategy

World-famous scientist Sir Isaac Newton changed the way we think about physics when he published his Laws of Motion way back in 1687.

And if you apply these famous laws to promoting your business, they can change the way you think about that too…

First Law

Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it

Is your business moving in the right direction? Is it moving at all?

Newton’s Laws tell us that if you want to get your business moving or change the way it’s heading you’ll need to apply a force to make that happen.

If your organisation is in a state of ‘uniform motion’ it will stay that way unless you do something to change it.

That might mean introducing a new product or service, or changing what you do to meet the needs of your customers.

And whatever you do, it will mean changing the way you communicate with your audience. Developing a strong public relations strategy will help you to harness the ‘external forces’ of the media, digital communications channels and word of mouth to get you moving in the right direction and at the right speed.

Second Law

Force equals mass times acceleration

Having decided you need to get out of your ‘state of uniform motion’, the next question is how are you going to do it?

In this case let’s think of the ‘mass’ as your key message. It might something small that’s only of interest to a select few, or it might be something huge that everyone will be talking about.

Good public relations is all about knowing how to craft that message and then applying the right amount of ‘acceleration’ by choosing the appropriate communication methods to propel the ‘mass’ towards your audience.

The more powerful the message and the broader your audience the more force you’ll be able to apply to achieving the change in direction you’re looking for.

Third Law

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

In life as in physics, every action you make will get a reaction of some kind, but sometimes it might not be the reaction you want.

Strong, empathetic public relations will help you to ensure that the actions you take get the reaction you’re looking for.

Public relations is the art of using persuasion to change people’s behaviour. It’s about working out what reaction you’re looking for and then choosing a range of actions that will meet your goal.

Newton’s Third Law tells us that doing nothing isn’t an option. If you want to change the direction you’re heading in or the speed you’re travelling, action is needed.

  • If your organisation is in a state of uniform motion, Rosebank Media can help to get you moving in the right direction. Contact us to find out how we can help you turn your actions into positive reactions.

The end of office life as we know it?

What if those temporary working-from-home measures introduced to deal with the Covid-19 crisis become permanent?

Businesses everywhere are now asking the same questions. Do we really need everyone in the office every day? Do we really need that huge office building?

Many employees and organisations have been forced by this crisis to prove to themselves that they can continue to perform without physically going into an office.

And many of us are realising the potential for our quality of life and work-life balance to improve as we emerge from the pandemic.

No more daily commute. No more fighting for space in the communal fridge. More time to spend with family and friends. More flexibility in our working hours. Less traffic on the roads. Less pollution in the air.

Sounds great right?

But this permanent change in the way we work is going to mean permanent changes in the way we communicate within organisations.

Too much or too little?

In the last few weeks I’ve spoken with numerous people who are finding their internal communications haven’t been able to cope with the pace of change we’ve been all been experiencing.

I’ve also seen some excellent examples of organisations and individual leaders getting it right.

Some organisations have suffered from lack of communication, while others are communicating so much there’s no time to get any actual work done.

There’s no single solution that will address these challenges. The best solution for one organisation won’t work for another. There are so many variables to consider, including:

  • Requirements of your service or industry
  • The skillsets of of your leaders, managers and teams
  • The technology and resources available
  • The existing organisational culture (and the culture you want to establish)

Planning for life after the crisis

Those who have made a success of this huge change have taken a considered and reflective approach to their communications.

By now, many organisations will have settled into a new way of doing things that was arrived at hurriedly and out of necessity.

The next challenge may be re-engaging with team-members returning from furlough and only now adapting to working from home.

Looking ahead, you might be thinking about how you’re going to foster team spirit among groups of people who only rarely meet in person and integrate new staff members into established teams.

So now’s the time to critically assess what you’ve been doing. Then you’ll be ready to plan improvements that will keep your organisation thriving as temporary homeworking becomes a permanent way of life.

We can help. Get in touch with Rosebank Media, here support you as you review your internal communications and prepare for a new way of working.