Updated: Jan 24, 2020
by Lisajane Davies
The 2020 solution to results-oriented Public Relations that every competitive brand should be demanding this decade
I have been working for 3 decades! Crumbs, that phrase right there makes me feel a little queasy I am not going to lie and if we factor in the paper round and selling flower on the roundabout in Thornton Heath when I was 12 that makes it nearly 35 years.
Born into the Boomer generation but with this weird ‘Entrepreneurial’ streak I never wanted a 9 to 5 and I have made a success of that desire ever since! I have had everything and nothing a hell of a lot of times.
But what is dawning on me in the moments when I wonder if I will ever retire and if I will ever be too old to do this work stuff is, holly beepers Lisajane you have 30 yes THREE ZERO years of learning, joys, successes, epic failures or mistakes, processes, fail-safe methods and so much more to share with fellow business and brand owners who want their success story to start in 2020.
As a trained journalist, marketer and PR with a higher education reflecting my skills as a wordsmith, despite being dyslexic, I realise that I have always spoken and written a story to create the dream for the customer that then goes on the plant the seed and make the sale.
To be totally honest with you I would have got into PR a lot sooner but I needed to earn money to pay the bills which took my tenaciousness into sales firstly for Renault (UK) waaaay before The GC and when girls did not sell cars. I was Top Salesman (that is the only title that there was). I then worked for GE Capital under the tutelage of the legendary Jack Welch and was the youngest divisional manager for their motor finance and warranty divisions. Then it happened, I set up my own businesses, yes 2!
Picture a day in 1996, there is me, a fresh-faced and highly competitive, successful saleswoman. I did not want to travel to my nearest sunbed shop (when they were still fashionable) in Crystal Palace which was miles away from Purley where I lived anymore. So I opened my own!
I was sick of buying new motorcycle helmets every time my clumsy self dropped them and that my friends were when the First-Ever Motorcycle Helmet Insurance Company, Lid Cover — Protect your helmet — was born. Think before pet insurance and way before most people had a computer at home, smartphones did not exist. Geez on paper and in the cars I drove boy had I made it back then in 1999.
1 year later I had nothing, I was copied by one of the top 3 bike insurers (who I might add had told me years before that my idea would never work!), I did not protect my brand nor my IP and I had nothing, Zip, less than zero, no homes, no cars, no sunbed shop, fewer friends (who turned out just wanted a cheap tan), no business and no job. It was an interesting time.
20 years later of working, learning — I went back and did a Post Graduate Degree in Professional Journalism, Marketing and PR — I got a Distinction far better than any results I had ever got at school. Then I saw how much journalists actually got paid and was catapulted back into a sales role launching Monster.com onto the UK when no one had a computer and we waited for the Guardian Jobs section each week. The pace was fast and the learning was steep, I was selling a dream, and idea, a concept and a solution, it is what I do best.
Nothing has changed to this day except the speed of communication, the sheer volume of choice and the ever-increasing, and often more confusing, amount of technology. I am still old school in the fundamental however and this is something that I so and still want to share.
And so 20 more years of business development launching global corporates into the UK, managing teams both young and seasoned, with my final corporate role at Travelzoo, head to head with what was the largest growing company in the world at the time, Groupon. Did that phase me, nope not one bit? I had a job to do, hell I even went to Chicago, their home town and taught our sales team there how to confidently sell better. I was their top seller bringing in over $1.9 million a year on my own, more than the entire UK sales team put together but that is another story.
I have been fortunate to have a firm grasp on words and storytelling to create content, even back then when we did it with pens, I am a natural marketer and incorporate this into my sales style. I come from a world of print and TV advertising and direct (mail, letters, postcard) marketing, PR was a distant vision and the numbers on the board we what mattered.
Fast forward 3 decades and you have literally thousands of people selling you apparent or probable solutions without so much as ever having an actual real job nor sharing any case study or guarantee. People with little or no work/life experience offering to build and grow your brand beyond any possible comprehension that you ever had. They speak well, they speak fast, they look good and they do tell a good story but I am one of those people who wants to see real, tangible, tried and trusted proven results. First.
I think the term is Gen Z for the stereotype of the young but know absolutely everything, the want it now with no effort nor experience. Do not get me wrong some of these guys are really good when they have been doing it for a while and we could all learn a lot from their consistent enthusiasm and determined confidence. It is just not how my clients or their customers buy.
So what do I do now?
Well I have run a consultancy for the past 6 years and to be honest, when I left my last role I did not have a Scooby Do what I wanted to do, I just knew that I wanted to earn myself the £1.9 million in annual sales each year. I made a mistake at first in undervaluing my experience and knowledge at first, helping people who did not deserve my time and often felt it was ok not to pay. I speak to so many new or wannabe entrepreneurs and this is the first lesson that I share with them (I wish I had me when I started).
I soon learnt the power of contracts, terms & conditions, small claim courts and the fact that you really do need to work with the best clients you can. Be fussy, be very very picky. Finally is it not all about you, so do not start taking things personally. Richard Branson does not lay awake at night thinking of passengers delayed by his airline and neither should you if (when) things get a little too personal or someone you like is late in paying or paying at all. It's them not you.
I am fairly unique in my background with an eclectic skill set, a real Jill of All Trades so to speak but Mistress of Many too. I fell into PR again, I did not go looking for it, I was attracting so much press and making valuable business connections for my clients as a ‘By-Product’ of being paid to manage their social media and marketing activities. I do not have enough fingers to count how many times I had to explain that ‘by hiring us to do your social media this does not mean that you now have a marketing team, this does not cover digital advertising, business introductions, getting your face in a national newspaper or that we are your publicist’but you made the best choice'.
Often time and to this day we are approached by brands and service-led businesses who have spent money on PR retainers but not experienced any growth or sales. They come to us because of our proven track record for successful campaign management and want to see how we can help them to get more leads and ultimately more sales. They come to us to experience Results Relations™.
Some questions for you:
How many successful brands have not marketing budgets?
How many successful brands operate with no strategy and planning?
How many successful brands rely solely on Public Relations?
How many global brands don’t invest in valued retail partnerships?
How many successful brands do no metrics management and analytics?
How many successful brands do not appreciate their full business ROI?
From my knowledge none!
Go out a become a success.
Every brand owner dreams of great PR, some want to grace the pages of Tatler or another favourite title which is home to their biggest competition. They would love to be sitting with Holly & Phil on the sofa of This Morning waxing lyrical about their brand whilst their customers are actually at their day jobs (Don’t hate me please H&P I do love you). But is PR alone the right place to put your budgets if you are a lean growth SME in any sector at this stage in your brand growth?
We really do love PR and we are really good at it but I believe that a strong strategy across your entire business, marketing, sales and PR is far more important than just column inches. I am also a firm believer that clear measurement displaying a clear ROI, or not, is paramount in the ’20s.
I have felt for a long time that my unique take on the marrying of the best of business development, marketing, retail solutions, advertising and PR is the most profitable and successful way forward and that is why Gorgeous Work and PR Clubs®, including Beauty PR Club™ now offer a full agency service call Results Relations™.
We don’t have retainers, we have ad hoc content packages and ‘Service Contracts’ for as long as any brand or brand owner wants to their business to succeed with our help.
It is not just Beauty brands who we serve, I would love to talk to the next best leisure, spa, publishing and VC backed startups about how I can add value to your brand and business this year. We are taking on 2 new clients from each sector Beauty/Makeup/Grooming only.
Boosting Brand Visibility And Sales Using Strategy, Content, Success Marketing, Retail Solutions And PR — Results Relations™
First published in Medium