One of my favourite parts of the year at Clareville is when the team comes together to review the highs and lows of the past 12 months.
Naturally we like to focus on the positive and celebrate success but there’s always time for a sideways glimpse or two at some of the bloopers and blips we’ve faced along the road.
Either way, it’s generally a light-hearted affair – maybe because the Christmas drinks have already started to flow by the time we sit down to make our presentations.
And every year there’s always a single word or a theme that rises to the top, unmistakably defining the B2B PR campaigns or consumer PR programmes we’ve rolled out for our clients in London and beyond.
Even before 2015 has come to a close I can tell you categorically this is going to be the year that ‘storytelling’ dominated the agenda.
Look at the headline to this blog. It’s a quote from a TED Talk by Dame Stephanie Shirley. She’s an extraordinary woman who’s led a fascinating life (as the headline testifies) and she tells the story of that life with candour and grace. In the talk she’s seen sitting on a stool and she speaks comfortably and naturally from the prompt cards she holds in her hands.
She’s doubtless told parts of that story a thousand times before. But what comes across in this particular ‘performance’ is the seamless and satisfying way in which she reveals her secrets of business success – clearly the reason she’s there to speak.
Stanley takes her audience on a classic ‘come with me’ ride. She paces carefully through a series of anecdotes and recollections, effortlessly moving from describing a childhood escape from the holocaust on a ‘kinder transport’ train, to starting an early ‘social business’ – a software development company in which she only employed women (in the days when a woman couldn’t even open a bank account without her husband’s permission), to talking about the death of her autistic son, her philanthropy and her love of being an entrepreneur: “I love doing new things and making new things happen.”
Indeed she makes it look easy.
But, as Jerry Seinfeld loves to recount, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means that, for the average person, if you have to go to a funeral you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy!”
There’s no getting away from it. What with YouTube, TED Talks, vimeo, Facebook andbeme (coming soon… look it up, you’ll be intrigued)…many a B2B or consumer brand now lives or dies by the ability of its executives to perform well on camera AND to tell a good story.
If you can’t even think what your story might be, we can give you ideas. Like any good PR agency in London or elsewhere, we start and end by asking “what’s the story here?” And if you don’t know, that’s ok. Because we always do!
By John Starr, Clareville Communications Managing Director – 0207 736 4022 [email protected]
PS – Did you know that the programming for the first ever black box flight recorder on supersonic Concorde was done by a group of women working from their homes? I wonder where I heard that…..?