The power of PR in building relationships

Andy Street, Conservative candidate for the brand new role of Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority was recently the special guest at a PRCA Midlands roundtable event in Birmingham, attended by our Head of PR, Gill Holtom.

With the election planned for May 4th, the former boss of John Lewis, is touring the region to set out his vision for what he sees as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate the economic development and realise the full potential of the West Midlands.

Inevitably, his 30 years at one of the UK’s most iconic High Street brands was up for discussion and he revealed he was a big convert to the power of PR: “The way we told our story was critical to our success,” he told the event.

From the company’s decision to participate in a revealing documentary during the financial crisis of 2008 to the store’s 150 year anniversary, PR was a crucial factor in how the organisation nurtured its relationships with staff and customers and built its reputation as a business.

He also highlighted how PR was helping Manchester punch above its weight, while the self-deprecating nature of the West Midlands was a barrier to telling the story of how great the region is.

When change and transformation are on the agenda, Gill highlights the three key ingredients that are critical to a successful communications campaign:

– Listening to your audiences and understanding what they care about, their hopes, aspirations and concerns.
– Having a clear vision that resonates and inspires these audiences both rationally and emotionally.
– Providing strong leadership with the authority and passion to articulate that vision in a meaningful way and the drive to deliver the benefits you promise.

Public relations is the glue that binds all these elements together and when boardrooms are engaged then PR has the potential to become truly powerful.