Effective Public Relations

The last few weeks have certainly been challenging with the exceptionally cold weather and a level of snow we’re just not used to in Britain. There have been a number of stories about how people have risen to the challenge. The one that I particularly like features John Lewis, High Wycombe.

Buckinghamshire was hit hard by sudden, heavy snow just before Christmas and many roads quickly became impassable. The snow struck during the afternoon when many people were out doing their last minute Christmas shopping.

If you are not familiar with John Lewis, High Wycombe it is on a hilly out of town site just off the M40 and at the top of a long hill up from High Wycombe. Getting away from the car park would have been very difficult without a 4×4 and an accident on the long hill from High Wycombe together with buses stuck on the hill made many journeys impossible.

The quick thinking manager at John Lewis identified that there might be a problem and gathered customers together in the restaurant to assess the size of the problem. She then arranged for the display beds to be made up so stranded customers and staff could be as comfortable as possible. She also set up age related play areas using toys from the toy department so that the children were kept entertained and people were able to eat in the restaurant.

This story made the national news the following morning but was also picked up by the media as far away as Australia. There were other stories which also made the press including staff from Sainsbury’s taking sandwiches and hot drinks to stranded bus drivers in Muswell Hill. I’m sure you will have read other stories but how many more stories have not made the headlines simply because nobody thought to tell a journalist?

Good deeds make good news stories particularly when they relate to the number one news item on every channel. Do the good deed and then tell people about it. Ring the local paper, radio, TV or send a press release, preferably by email. Put the story on your website or blog, post it on Facebook and Twitter upload a video on You Tube. The coverage John Lewis got for their good deed would have cost hundreds of thousands in paid for advertising and would have been nowhere near as effective at portraying the company as totally committed to their customers.

If you want some help to work out how you can generate some publicity in your local media give Glenda a call on 020 8991 2767 or email her at glenda.shawley@thetrainingpack.co.uk

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