What’s been happening? Adapting to change

Posted by suzichristie on August 23, 2018

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” – Richard Branson


It’s been a couple of months since I last posted a blog and so I thought it might be nice to have a little catch up on what’s been happening at Blueberry.

One of the great things about working in public relations is the fact that it never stops changing. Just when you thought you’d got everything sorted for a client the environment in which you are operating suddenly shifts and you have to re-think your approach. The job never ceases to have to the option for learning and development.

A small example of this happened this very morning. I was looking at the Twitter account for Cleankill Pest Control and I was shocked to find there had been a drop in the number of followers. This goes against the general trend, which has always been one of steady growth. I therefore had to look to see why this might be – were we, for example, offending or boring the followers with our content?

In fact, I could find no evidence that anything we’d done had contributed to the drop and so I went online to find the answer and, sure enough, the internet is full of people complaining about sudden reductions in followers. The reason seems to be that Twitter is itself purging abusive and fake accounts. In one night, Ashton Kutcher lost 1.1 million followers (don’t worry, he still has 18 million) and Donald Trump lost 340,000. In fact, according to this New York Times article, the total number of accounts on Twitter has dropped by 6%. Luckily, in the case of Cleankill, the reduction was less than 20, but it does go to show the importance of staying up-to-date as without that piece of information we might not have been able to explain to our client why their statistics suddenly didn’t look as good.

Change is a major part of the life of a public relations business – clients will adapt their requirements and new clients will join you. A recent addition has been Sue Harbottle-Sear, Managing Director of the social media management and website design company Konzepts. Konzepts specialises in services aimed at rural businesses; it prides itself on being affordable and maintaining a social conscience.

Sue contacted us because she has been shortlisted for two awards at The Rural Business Awards (South East Region) – Best Rural Start up and Best Rural Creative or Media-based Business. To read our press release, click here.

What makes Sue’s story unique is that she built-up this successful business while she was also battling breast cancer. When a client comes to you with a story like this, you know the press is going to be interested because journalists are always looking for stories that are positive and show the better side of human nature. This has certainly proved to be the case with this press release as her story has appeared on the Uckfield FM website, she has spoken to Uckfield FM’s Jon Royle, been written up in both the Sussex Express and The Argus, and she was interviewed on BBC Sussex local radio (start at about 1hr 9 mins). She will also be featured in Best magazine in October. The icing on the cake, excuse the cliché, was a great photo of her on the front of the Sussex Express – Sue’s local paper. This demonstrated the value of investing in professional photography that captures the editor’s attention.

The story has now changed again because Sue has just been invited to No. 10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister’s Business Engagement Team. Konzepts is one of 14 rural businesses invited by The Rural Business Group to discuss rural business and how it can reinvigorate small rural communities. It’s ironic that a British businesswoman, originally born in Germany, is now being asked to No. 10 to discuss reinvigorating UK communities, and all at a time of Brexit!

As I said, public relations is always about change and adapting to those changes. This has certainly been the story for Cleankill Pest Control. They are currently dealing with a colony of Invasive Garden Ants in Eastbourne. This is a particularly challenging problem. The story has become so important locally that Cleankill’s Technical Manager Chris Davis was even interviewed by ITV news in July. The story was also picked up by local and national press, including: The Daily Mail, Metro, Evening Standard and even MSN News.  

Over the years it has amazed me how much I’ve had to learn about a diverse range of subjects – from insect infestations to Angela Burdett-Coutts (recently voted seventh in BBC History Magazine’s most influential women) – and all because I work in public relations.

It has been said that hairdressers and beauticians have some of the highest levels of job satisfaction and partly this is because their work is based around short projects. They get the pleasant feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with completing a task several times a day. In addition, nobody ever has a haircut that takes place over several days so, at the end of each day, the hairdresser can go home without worrying about unfinished work.

In a similar way, a lot of what we do is based about small projects that feed into a larger project. We have to adapt to the circumstances that surround the current project, learn and assimilate a great deal of new information and then repurpose that information for our audience - and all of this gives us a positive feeling of accomplishment. Finally, we love the opportunity to work with inspirational people – experts in their fields – and that has given me an idea for the next blog...