Time is racing by yet somehow politically it feels a little like groundhog day when it comes to the subject of Brexit. The local elections certainly reflected the national frustration with our country’s politics. Disillusionment with the major political parties has led to a reduced number of votes overall, the switch of popularity to a broader spectrum of candidates and, at the time of writing, we have a ‘technicoloured dreamcoat’ of representation. Here in the conurbation, the uncertainty of what administration is going to be leading our newly created BCP Council will be generating even more concern amongst businesses who simply don’t know how decisions will be made in the months to come.
I really hope a positive, collaborative approach will evolve and our newly-established councils across the county will take progressive steps to fulfil the potential we have here.
Change is definitely in the air. And it is something to be embraced not feared. Our businesses need to move forward, not stand still, to allow this racing time to sustain our success. I attended an industry conference recently, which is something I haven’t done for some time. It’s easy to rule this sort of thing out – ‘I haven’t got the time, clients need attention, deadlines are looming’ – but I am really glad I dedicated that precious time.
The PR and communications industry has seen enormous change, as many others have in the past 10 years – the way we work, and have to think, has evolved beyond recognition to my early days of Liz Lean PR in the late 90’s. It was reassuring to be in the room with the big hitting London PR agencies and in-house corporate teams mirroring our own experiences and challenges and seeing how they are adapting. It’s a good feeling to know you’re not doing too badly; we are ahead of the curve in many areas!
Our client work takes us into a hugely diverse media domain as we navigate national, regional as well as local journalists on a daily basis. We seek awareness for our clients from the big national newspapers, to high following social influencers and rely on relationships and goodwill with our media contacts to share our stories with the world. But the media is moving and in many areas shrinking with the array of digital choices now available to readers and consumers.
Ironically as new generations absorb news and information very differently, there remains a huge appetite for young people to enter the world of journalism – albeit they are heading into diverse branches of the digital arena. Their media landscape will be a whole new world to what we have known, and I’m personally excited about that. Change is good as long as it’s embraced.
As part of this big picture the view of the world through the eyes of our young people needs to be understood and accommodated – without judgement – to get the best from them. High on our agenda at LLPR, but also well debated at the conference, was how as employers we need to adjust to young team members who simply think differently. Having a multi generational team myself it is fascinating to see what switches one individual on really does nothing for another. Young people have less fear in sharing their feelings and opinions, they insist on a broader mindset from management to allow them to succeed. And when they feel nourished in the right environment evolved for them, they seriously fly. Our Gen Z and Millennials can be seriously misunderstood and, therefore, we have seen a great response to our youth insight service, Digipigz – a glimpse into the mind of 16-24 year olds to help brands develop, whether that be creating authentic and effective campaigns, understanding their lingo or adapting workplace culture to attract and retain young, ambitious talent. Clients have been surprised at how wrong their predictions of what would resonate with a young person in 2019 could be!
To sign off I want to mention how great it was to see Chambers of Commerce represented on a dynamic stage at the PR conference. It was a pleasure to meet and listen to Charandeep Singh, who is deputy chief executive and head of external relations at Scotland Chambers of Commerce. They are a great example – as I believe we are at Dorset Chamber – of a progressive and punchy business support network that really kicks back at that ‘old school, boys club’ perception. I, for one, am very proud to be a part of the new chapter….
Enjoy the long, and hopefully balmy days.
Until the next edition….