Monday, 10 September 2012

When men inspire words, and words inspire men

Thanks for the warm up. Now meet the Superhumans.
If writing strap lines was an Olympic sport,
that's your gold medal winner right there
So clearly, clearly it’s not ‘disabled’ it’s ‘differently-abled’. A term that’s been around for years, but now looks set to be embraced wholesale after the last two awe-filled, outrageously beautiful, amazingly uplifting weeks, which have left us feeling awed and proud.

So what to do now with the defunct phrase ‘disabled’? It works ok if you throw ‘temporarily’ in front of it. Like, you fall off your skis and break a load of bones - you are temporarily disabled. Cos you’re probably just going to sit it out and sulk about a bit while you can’t do anything, until such time as you can.

Another way it could be applied is to those of us that are just useless at sport. At 6ft I”,  all shoulders, arms legs and feet - you’d think I’d be good at something, anything. But as my sporty father could testify, from the earliest age I've been quite rubbish at everything. Whip smart in my classes I’d get my comeuppance in PE,  three times weekly. Instead of letting my sporty dad coach/cajole me into doing anything involving developing physical skills, I preferred to stay indoors writing angsty poems and drawing very thin, dead-looking people. I have remained steadfastly crap at sports, as now my sporty son can testify.

I take some comfort in the belief that I’m not the only one, and I’d very much like to think that maybe it was a sportily-challenged person like myself, sitting in Channel 4's superb in-house agency 4Creative, that came up with the concept and the words, Thanks for the warm up. Now meet the Superhumans. For those are mighty fine words, that provided the spark that lit the touch paper for the Paralympic flame to burn so very brightly.

A Paralympian, a differently-abled person, a Games Maker, a sports-incompetent, a creative - there’s room enough for all of us to contribute, to make a difference and to make it better.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

On PR work experience and where to get it

When it comms to forging a career in comms, mixing it up a little can be as valid as going all out for a pedigree in PR.
I can do anything me


With employees now trusted more than CEOs, the end user increasingly seen as the key influencer and media channels publishing every type of content to every type of platform, being good, even very good at just PR isn't necessarily going to get you very far. 

When you look at the people behind the current brand success stories, there is increasingly more evidence to substantiate my long held belief that being a Jack of many trades, is the surest way to become Master of your own career.

Talk to industry recruiters and the dream hires are those that that have deep dive domain expertise (hopefully that will never go out of fashion) but combined with wide ranging skills across a full range of comms channels. This means for those starting out, any work experience that gives exposure to any one of the multitude of disciplines you need to affect behavioral change - is one worth having. It matters not whether marketing or PR, social or traditional, event or content - you will gain invaluable experience and become more valuable as a result.

Not convinced? Think the straight arrow approach is still the best way to go? Following the logic that if you intern at Webber you could become its CEO by the time you're 27 and ¾? Well I guess you could, but think of it this way - if your dream job is to be head of PR for at Giorgio Armani do you actually want to intern there? Really?

Surely you’d not prefer to wobble off on your tender Bambi career legs to a few other pastures first and having journalists throw the phone down on you for being base incompetent when Giorgio isn't watching? ie somewhere, anywhere else?

My advice is to learn your skills and make your mistakes elsewhere. For example say you want to be in fashion PR: Work on a shop floor, work in customer service, set up a fashion savvy blog , throw a charity catwalk show, do PR for a local store, then go agency side work on some high street and online brands, go in house see what couture looks like from the inside and then knock on his villa door when you know the industry inside and out and back to front, know the people in it, how to create the advocates, silence the competitors and convert the detractors, how to get them talking, and most importantly - shopping. 


Then knock on Mr Armani's door then, and say, "Well I doubt if you can afford me, but if you wan to take your PR to the next level, here I am." 

No learning experience is wasted, get out there, get learning.