Listening to and watching interviews is my lockdown fix. News bulletins, current affairs and podcasts – I am compelled to tune in. And as a media trainer, I tell myself this is a healthy, if unconventional daily diet.
The definition of a successful interview depends on whether you are reporting the story or ‘in the chair’. Every journalist has an agenda and as I always explain in media training, interviewees too, need a plan to make themselves heard. And tuning into 3 recent interviews, I heard three people, in very different circumstances, making a success of their air time. Continue reading "Dissecting a successful interview – the media trainer’s diet"
As a BBC producer I heard many outstanding female voices – from presenter Anne Robinson cross-examining CEOs on BBC Watchdog, to numerous female Executive Producers standing up to big bullying businesses trying to kill a great story.
I was part of production teams crafting complex programmes in challenging circumstances. These experiences shaped my own voice, including in the media training room, where I support people preparing to go on the record or in day to day interactions providing crisis management and corporate communications support.
Continue reading “Who’s talking now?”
More brands today are using digital campaigns to signpost their values (think Nike, Dove and Under Armour), leaving people in no doubt as to where they stand, and how they will effect positive change. Being big with global reach helps, but even then bravery is fraught with reputational and financial risk. Just ask L’Oreal or Pepsi.
Continue reading “Parents, Social Media & Reputation Management”
Good biscuits plated up on arrival and participants hovering at the door ahead of schedule. Throw in a tailored crisis simulation – part challenge, part playing to individual strengths – and all the positive omens are there for a good training day.
Continue reading “Why good biscuits won’t cut it in a pandemic – putting our crisis comms tagline to the test”
Broadcasts by journalists, spokespeople and celebrities from their living room and virtual meetings are the ‘new’ normal. This way of communicating requires adjustment for many. So, whether speaking to press or colleagues remotely, here are some tips to make the virtual format work for remote interviews and meetings.
Continue reading “Quick Wins to Presenting and Remote Interviews”
I have seen some brilliant emails and posts in the last few days – from my local Indian restaurant, Haweli, to Sainsbury’s, to other small business owners like me. It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small; clear, regular and relevant communications are critical.
As we all adjust to the new “normal” personally and “business as usual” professionally, it occurred to me that there are some really simple tips for communicating in a crisis.
Continue reading “How do you keep communicating when the crisis is never-ending?”
Take one senior politician, one well-known and much-loved brand, and add social media. Stir together and what do you get?
That’s right, the perfect recipe for a Twitter storm.
That’s exactly what happened to Yorkshire Tea this weekend when Rishi Sunak MP, the Conservative MP for Richmond (in North Yorkshire as it happens) shared an image of himself making a cup of tea, standing next to a giant bag of the famous Yorkshire brew.
Continue reading ““Be Kind” – Yorkshire Tea’s reputation management masterclass”
Bafta is axing celebrity goody bags from this weekend’s ceremony. Opting instead for gifting wallets made from recycled plastics. It’s a timely plot twist to the 2020 award season. The buzz of a new bag – the colour, the look on the arm, the cramming of essentials into one place, is the ultimate pleasure purchase. But against heightened ethical and environmental consumer standards, is it possible for a Tote to do greater good?
Continue reading “Baftas, Bags and B Corp”
Why social media companies should (but probably won’t) act responsibly and lead the conversation on mental health
Social media companies are some of the most powerful and influential business entities on the planet. Their decisions shape how the world communicates and how we as individuals consume information. Unlike most large-scale global commercial industries, social media is self-regulating. This puts social media companies in a unique position of global responsibility.
A new report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists last week said social media companies should be forced by governments to hand over their data for independent research into the risks of social media use.
Continue reading “Social Media & Mental Health”
“Those difficult situations, they don’t frighten me… never waste a good crisis. When you have a crisis, then you have the fantastic platform for change”.
The refreshing perspective of Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury in the Sunday Times, provides a timely excuse to consider the good that comes out of the bad, for crisis comms professionals.
Continue reading “Never waste a good crisis…”
Most people over 30, remember the well-known washing powder ad, which challenged unsuspecting mums to a live clothes wash, to see whether the product delivered its ‘whiter than whites’ promise. This was a filmed doorstep where everyone was in on the gag. Viewers understood it was an advert, just as the at-home victim knew their kitchen would appear on national TV. Continue reading “Doing the doorstep challenge – can you win when cameras arrive unannounced?”
We all have foibles when it comes to good service. Loud background music in your favourite restaurant – no thanks. Unsuitable substitutes in an online shop or a sell-by date less than 24 hours after it arrives. To me, these are like sour milk in my tea. A complete turn off, which could turn me to the Oat-side.
Continue reading “Customer service – You say it best when you say nothing at all”
Over the last few weeks there seems to have a been a flurry of “recorded statements” in response to major crises. To be clear, rather than put someone forward to be interviewed by the press, the boss records a statement and it’s posted on the website or via social channels.
Continue reading “The pros and cons of video statements”
You could be forgiven for thinking one news story last month was a digital-misprint. “Grenfell council spends more than £90k on bosses’ bonuses.” But closer reading revealed the headline was correct.
Continue reading “Money talks – what to say on pay, bonus and funding?”
A top-floor view overlooking London’s windswept skyline. This was the suitably dramatic backdrop as big brands meet to discuss industry regulation last week.
Chairing the discussion at PrettyGreen’s agency Breakfast Briefing, I spoke to guests involved with some of the most recognised and well-loved products. Continue reading “Talking regulation with big brands”
When I first joined Facebook I trusted the platform and genuinely thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. It was so interactive, I could store and share photos of my young kids with friends (yes, I was that parent) and catch up on what everyone was up to from the comfort of my then small London flat. A few years later it seemed to be THE place to get breaking news which was always relevant to what I was interested in, thank you algorithms.
Over the last 10 years though that trust has been eroded. Continue reading “Facebook: can I trust you again? A personal perspective.”
Since political turmoil before breakfast became the new normal in 2018, reading the runes on anything other than tea is a high stakes game. But having digested the best news round ups, here are a few boiled down forecasts to consider for crisis communications and reputation management in the year ahead.
Continue reading “Making predictions – a fool’s game you cannot afford to miss?”
Less than a week after revelations about the financial future of Patisserie Valerie made headlines, executive chairman Luke Johnson gave an interview to the same newspaper where he regularly contributed a business column.
The move navigated some tricky reputational waters and a creeping narrative about British retail and high street horror stories. Continue reading “Pattiserie Valerie – Serves up a showstopper interview”
Yesterday morning on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme, Nick Robinson made a not insignificant point of letting listeners know that Jeremy Corbyn was “unavailable” for an interview. Robinson, reporting from the Labour Party Conference said Corbyn had been offered the pick of any time slot he wanted. But there was no Mr Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson stepped up instead.
It’s unusual for a political leader not to give an interview to the Today programme during party conference season. But who says anyone has to give an interview? Continue reading “Just say no – is it ever right to refuse an interview?”
Credit to BBC Watchdog for their investigation on last night’s programme which lead to BMW announcing a recall of hundreds of thousands of cars.
The truth is that no one really knows what goes on inside an organisation during a crisis, apart from the people managing it. There are often multiple business objectives which reach far beyond being featured on the programme. Continue reading “Kudos to my ex colleagues at BBC Watchdog”