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How to maintain high standards in business

In light of our Managing Director Mandy’s new role as a client PR advisor to the Chartered Institute of PR (CIPR), Carys grabbed her for a quick chat on how to establish and maintain high standards for the benefit of your customers, and how this can be put into practice to make a real difference across all elements of business.

With over 20 years’ experience as an agency leader Mandy has built brookscomm from the ground up, gaining a wealth of knowledge on how having high standards within your company can lead to longlasting business success.

Where does your commitment to high standards come from?

A phrase that my parents always said to me growing up was: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. It’s encouraged me to have high standards and has stayed with me. Now I realise it’s shaped my approach to most things in life, including business.

The question isn’t just around why we choose to focus on getting the best quality in business, but also how. The ‘why’ is clear – we want to put our best foot forward and in a business environment, we know that this is the way to offer the best service to our customers. It’s the ‘how’ that takes a little more work.

What can be a barrier to businesses maintaining such high standards?

If you speak to any business leader, they will undoubtedly say that they want high standards. We all do. But often the focus is put more on practical details. It is far more a state of mind than it is in the logistics like how people work, or who is working and when.

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there – perhaps that enabling people to work remotely or part-time means they’re not working as hard or to a high standard, or that if you take a lean approach to your business your quick decisions may be ‘knee-jerk’, which compromise your output. But that’s not the case; in fact, in some scenarios it can even be the opposite of what you’d expect. Working smarter and staying agile means you’re quicker with your processes or working setup, not dropping on your quality.

What are some of the best ways to focus on quality within an organisation?

If high standards are lived and breathed, then the concept is always at the top of your mind. It’ll shape all your decisions, from recruitment and processes through to strategy and business development. 

By committing to excellence in your industry, you’re able to provide the best possible service for your clients or customers. Explore new qualifications, make it a priority to stay up to date with latest trends impacting your market, invest in training for your team and stay in touch with likeminded contacts in your industry. This way you can offer accurate and reliable consultancy to your clients and understand your position in the market that much better, helping you finetune your offering too.

What can industry leaders do to drive higher standards?

The CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) is on a mission to develop a level of excellence for our industry, bringing a new level of rigour for PR professionals through its qualifications, events, training and other CPD related activities. I’m playing a role in helping them develop this by operating as a Chartered PR Client Advisor, which means organisations can request support from the CIPR to appoint either an external agency or recruit a communications member of staff.

It’s great to see that through programmes like the CIPR’s Client Advisory service, organisations are committed to maintaining high standards and are bringing in expertise to help with that. By applying the same rules to communications as they do to any other element of the business, leaders can focus on getting value for money and stay focused on maintaining a high-quality standard for customers.

Learn more about how Mandy and the team can support your integrated communications activity here.

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Q&A with Carys Waters, our new Project Leader

We caught up with Carys, one of the newest members of the brookscomm team, to get to know more about her and the role she’s taken on at brookscomm.

What’s your career background?

I’ve worked in PR and communications since 2010 after completing a degree in Communication, Media and Culture at Oxford Brookes. I actually started my PR career here at brookscomm in its former life as Chazbrooks Communications and returned a few months ago. Since then I’ve spent time both in-house and at other PR agencies, predominantly working with technology and B2B companies. The company has grown considerably since I left in 2013 and diversified to provide a wider integrated communications offering. That plus the supportive and flexible culture that has always been in place at brookscomm meant I was keen to return.

What made you want to work in PR?

I think it’s the variety PR offers that appealed to me, and the fact it’s such a people-based industry. You have to wear lots of different hats in PR, as you’re constantly thinking about the stakeholders of the companies you’re working with, the journalist you’re pitching to, the customers or prospects of your clients; the list goes on. It means you learn loads and it’s fast-paced. Plus, the satisfaction of making your clients happy by working together to deliver a campaign or secure high-quality media coverage is hard to beat!

As Project Leader, what does a typical morning entail?

I typically start my day reviewing news online (Twitter, BBC, PR Week, Marketing Week) to understand what’s happening in the world and identifying relevant news for clients or for us as an agency. Then I spend time checking what needs to be achieved that day or week for clients, providing or arranging support across the team to deliver this as necessary. As part of this I also monitor what we’re delivering against any project plans and how results are measured.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?

It’s a cliché, but my parents have always taught me to trust my gut instinct. I’m not one to be hasty, so I always ponder my decisions (probably more than I should!) but I generally end up going with my initial instinct, and it’s hardly ever failed me.

What is your favourite brand and why?

It’s hard to pick, but I’m a fan of the BBC. I’m always impressed with how it tailors the brand to the channel – radio, TV, online – and maybe it’s because I work in communications, but I often notice how the message is shaped for the audience of that particular channel. I also tend to trust the BBC as a news source and generally find its news coverage reliable.

What news stories have grabbed your attention most in the last year?

I think it has to be anything around the amount of plastic waste we’re producing. It’s horrific how much is being chucked into the oceans and I’m so pleased that programmes like Blue Planet 2 have brought attention to this, so that more people are aware. I’ve been interested to read about a number of big brands boycotting excessive plastic packaging and I hope that continues throughout 2019.

What are you looking forward to most in 2019?

We’re investing more into the brookscomm brand so I’m looking forward to seeing the results of that this year. Working in an agency, I look forward to growing with our clients and helping them to achieve their own communications goals. At brookscomm, the clients we work with are so varied, so that’s always enjoyable. Personally, I’m also getting married, buying a house and have a big birthday in 2019, so there’s lots to be excited about!

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook: brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

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Why your image matters

When you see content from a new brand for the first time, you immediately form an opinion. Whether it be consciously or sub-consciously, it happens. This will then be swayed and moulded by every piece of content you see from then on, effecting buying behaviour, word of mouth, advertising and PR. If you feel strongly against a brand, you’ll probably voice your opinion, therefore, it’s key to always leave the best impression possible.

Throughout this blog we will be discussing the leading creative brands that stand out in their industry, who have created their own high-quality niche to be head and shoulders above the rest.

Apple

Apple is one of the best examples of what branding can do for a business. Every piece of content Apple creates is modern, stylish and more importantly, consistent. Think of an Apple advert; a stylish white background with a shining black iPhone jumping out of the background, but that’s not all. Apple take attention to detail to the next level. Immaculate packaging and high-quality materials make even the unboxing of a product feel like a treat.

All of these factors help to mould this classy, modern, sleek image of Apple, but they’ve backed it up by creating market leading products through being a step ahead of their competition in both product creation and marketing.

What we can take away from Apple is that the small things add up. Every bit of attention to detail results in a constantly impressive package, setting the bar for other tech competitors.

Dyson

Dyson could be described as the Apple of the home appliances industry. They’re a creative, innovative company that’s constantly coming up with new cordless and bladeless products. They take a product as simple as a fan and asks themselves how they can change things like no one has ever done before. They then produce a product that has no blades and is simply a metal oblong that shoots out cold air. It’s incredible, but the fact that they do this on a consistent and regular basis is what really matters. Therefore, Dyson have branded themselves as the most creative, high end manufacturer of house hold electronics. So much so that instead of saying hoover, a lot of people will refer to theirs as “My Dyson”. Just like Apple where able to accomplish with the “iPhone”, It wasn’t a phone, but an iPhone.

Bang and Olufsen

Bang and Olufsen (initialised as B&O) is the pinnacle of high end stereo equipment. They’re in their own class along with Bose, Sony & Sennheiser. B&O are also famously known for their punchy price tags which in turn can be associated to their sense of superior quality and design.

B&O follow Apple in terms of their branding, they use lots of whites & greys and have their products as the centre of attention, usually in some sort of luxurious setting. The consistency with which they’ve done so has led to the company being regarded as one of the most luxurious and sought-after options in a crowded market. How has their luxurious branding and marketing helped them? It helped cement their brand as a high-end/high cost market leader for home audio products, which meant that anyone in the market for such items would take them into consideration. The reputation and aesthetic of the brand acts as a selling point for the hefty price.

By now you’ve probably realised that we’ve used the term ‘consistent’ a fair few times. Well, that’s exactly what good branding is; consistent use of the same principles across your whole business.

Using the same styles, fonts, colours, and images all combine into one package. If your brand image keeps changing these factors, then a solid image will never be cemented in a consumer’s mind. A fortune will also be spent on design and advertising, meaning the more changes you make, the more confused consumers you’ll have.

Strong branding principles that challenged the traditional status quo and created a firm brand identity in their consumers mind. All three of these brands have also mastered the art of simplicity. Your branding can be more effective if its simple. The message is put across effectively and the images are clear and of a high-quality.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook: brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

0 comments on “Surrey’s latest chartered PR practitioner!”

Surrey’s latest chartered PR practitioner!

Chartered CIPR PractitionerI was delighted to learn recently that as an accredited practitioner who has kept up my CPD I was able to attend a Chartership day and get Chartered. I recently completed the Masters Level Diplomas in PR and internal communications which gave me confidence to put myself forward for the assessment – but must admit when the preparation work arrived and as the day got nearer, the nerves started to kick in. It is that on the spot aspect of assessment, a bit like a French oral test or a driving test, which is particularly challenging. But nothing ventured I thought….

The day itself was equally interesting and rigorous. Five of us per group in three 90 minute sessions on leadership, strategy and ethics. It definitely wasn’t for the unprepared. We had a case study to review ready for discussion and then the topic was widened to get our opinions and our own examples from Practise. Not everyone passed on the day but there is the opportunity to go back a second time and retry.

Those of us who were successful really felt as though we had achieved something high level. It was great to meet a variety of senior, interesting professionals from all areas of the PR industry and really committed assessors who put us through our paces. I hope to stay in touch and continue the conversation with all of them.

More than that, it felt fantastic that as an industry we have evolved the services that we offer so that we are more accountable and what we do is more measurable – more than ever, we have to prove ourselves and achieve measurable success. We are not perfect of course – there is always more to learn and develop. We need to keep listening to the changing needs of our clients and develop our skills and competencies and share experiences. We are challenged more but the role of a PR Practitioner is more interesting and more rewarding than ever.

Mandy Brooks MCIPR certificateTo all Fellow Practitioners, when you’re ready, definitely get Chartered and to all clients and potential clients looking forward to sharing the benefits with you and to inviting you to our 21 year birthday celebrations soon……..

 

0 comments on “CBC flying the flag for Great Britain”

CBC flying the flag for Great Britain

It’s been announced this week that according to recent figures, we are officially out of the financial crisis. The UK economy has emerged from recession – we’re the last major economy to leave it, but we got there! The recovery may be slow and growth is gradual, but it’s been said that our best prospect remains to be in exports.

“The trajectory for the recovery, particularly in the next six months, is an uncertain one and the best prospects remain an export-driven turnaround.” – Lee Hopley, chief economist at manufacturers organisation EEF.

At a roundtable event this week, I was presented with the opportunity to get involved with launching Chinese companies in the UK. A fantastic prospect for a valuable partnership, but it got me thinking – exporting really is the future for the UK economy. When people think of exporting, often people assume that it’s the selling of products abroad, but what about services?

Like us, I’m sure a lot of other professional or business service companies work internationally – this is another example of exporting which is just as valuable to the UK economy. We’ve worked across the continents over the years at CBC, including US, most of Europe and Scandinavia, Israel, India, Pakistan, several parts of Africa, Australia and now China, and we continue to offer international PR campaign management as one of our services.

We’re flying the flag for the UK, bringing money back to support the economy. Let’s get involved, help UK companies thrive by working internationally, and do our bit to keep the UK out of recession.

Chaz