The Secret Marketer: be prepared for PR

This week I went on a media training refresher course. The agency set me three tasks – one with a print journalist down the line, a live TV interview and finally a live radio session in a studio. All went pretty well, if I say so myself, which I guess is a combination of much practice, a lot of luck and good fortune.

Secret Marketer

I have done a lot of media training in my time. My last business rehearsed a full-scale emergency once a year, where we would employ an external company to come up with a scenario and then bombard our switchboards with phone calls from pretend journalists. This really brought home how on your metal you need to be when dealing with a national emergency, not least when you know so little detail.

I have also had to deal with real PR incidents. I was once on a train into work when I got a call from my press office asking if I could make a live call into BBC Radio 5 Live.

The press office said they didn’t know what it was about but they had every confidence in me. So, I jumped off the train at the next stop, rang the BBC and the researcher put me straight through to Nicky Campbell.

After introducing me on air, he asked: “Would you like to comment on the story on the front page of The Guardian today?”

Panic spread through my body as I rummaged through the bins on the station for a copy of the paper. “It is clearly very disturbing,” I replied.

“Disturbing?” Campbell screamed. “Is that all you have to say? What are you going to do about it?”

The more I squirmed, the more I panicked. I made some apologetic statement, saying that it was a serious incident that we needed to look into, which appeased no-one but at least got me off the show long enough to give my PR team the biggest rollicking of their lives.

It has not all been disasters, though. I remember one PR stunt around Christmas time, which saw me spend two hours in a tiny studio with two pantomime dames, syndicating interviews with radio stations across the country. It made great radio, but boy did I struggle to get my brand messages across with two actors in character delivering camp innuendos and over-used one liners.

What did I learn from this? Always remember to look behind you!


Mail app

Mail launches mobile commerce app

Nick Huber

Daily Mail readers will soon be able to use smartphones to buy products from their newspaper’s pages in what is thought to be the first mobile commerce service of its kind.


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