It has long been recognised that independent editorial coverage in the written and broadcast media is given considerably more credence than paid for advertising space. Increasingly more and more organisations are recognising this fact and looking to reduce advertising spend and focus their attention more keenly on “free” editorial. This is particularly true with radio and television where advertising campaigns can be extremely expensive. Advertising has limited objectives and obtaining a radio or television interview is possibly the best and most relevant opportunity an organisation will have to gain support for a cause, promote its innovation and expertise or remedy an unjust accusation. However, it can be a two-edged sword; get it wrong and it can have devastatingly negative effects.
Appearing before the camera can be the most harrowing minute of a person’s life, or the best ego trip the individual has ever been on. It all depends on the person. No one can turn individuals into natural performers “overnight”. However, if they have an idea of what to expect of a television interview, know and understand how to get their messages across and learned a few TV tactics into the bargain, then they should be confident enough to appear and feel both professional and natural.
The Communication Exchange is committed to getting its clients regular radio and television coverage, ranging from interviews and comment on particular products and services to setting up specific programmes and providing product placement. The success of this activity is very dependent on having senior client management who are equipped to gain maximum advantage for their organisations into the broadcast interview environment. To this end the Communication Exchange provides comprehensive radio and television training for individuals and groups. This can take the form of one-on-one coaching or group sessions for either radio, television or both.
Training is led by current or former radio and television journalists and senior communication consultants. It deals with all aspects of the studio environment, personal appearance and demeanour, delivering key messages, interviewers’ techniques and many other hints on presentation and preparation.
Bristol Film Studios works with Bristol and London based PR agency The Communication Exchange, utilising our world class production facilities to recreate the atmosphere in radio and television studios that clients are likely to experience – to bring the training alive.
Clients are provided with written support documentation and DVD’s of their performance and any critique that has been given. Clients who have taken part in a full package of training can call on the Communications Exchange at any time in the first year for free on going advice.
No company or organisation is immune against a crisis. Crises cannot be planned, but they can be anticipated and reaction to them can, and must be planned. The aim should be for a company to be in a strong position to effectively manage a crisis.
Crises appear in many guises. Not all organisations are exposed to catastrophic crises as severe as those likely to face airlines and oil and chemical companies. However, environmental and health-related issues, business downturns, staff downsizing, boardroom issues and quality of service problems do occur with alarming frequency.
A crisis is a “deciding event” – the point at which change must come, either for the better or the worse. But a crisis is not only something that happens to you – it is something you can manage. In a crisis, the stakes are high; the time is short and the margin for error slim. If a crisis is managed effectively, the opportunity exists to improve your company’s image and to emerge from the problem in a stronger position. If it is not, it can do lasting damage and, in extreme cases, totally destroy the company.
The media thrives on reporting bad news. Not only will journalists descend on a potential crisis like locusts, they will take every opportunity to seek out the most negative aspects. On occasions, fed with information from pressure groups, aggrieved employees or angry customers, they will create a major crisis for a company from an incident that began as a relatively minor issue.
From a communications point of view there is an overriding rule in crisis management: “tell it all and tell it fast”. This requires your company to be fully prepared with recognised procedures to deal with any possible crisis scenario. After a crisis you must seize the very narrow window of media opportunity. A swift aggressive approach to explaining the problems and the steps being taken to rectify them is the hallmark of successful crisis management. If you remain silent you will be seen to be guilty. What you do within the first 48 hours after a crisis – the decisions your company makes and the actions it takes – can determine the perception of your organisation for years to come. If your company does not have documented process and procedures to deal with potential crisis situations you need to act quickly.
How we can help:
Bristol Film Studios works with London and Bristol based PR agency The Communication Exchange to help you plan for the event of a crises:
• Run crisis simulation training sessions for key personnel (which we utilise our television and photography crew to heighten the realism in a simulated crises)
• Identify and prioritise crisis scenarios in which your company could become involved
• Assign clear management leadership role for each scenario (HR Director for staff issue, Production Director for factory problem, etc)
• Establish and document processes and procedures in readiness to meet such an eventuality
• Provide early warning and counsel at onset of any potential crisis
• Provide ongoing support and counsel during any crisis situation.