It’s probably fair to say that marketing and PR isn’t always held in the highest regard by non-practitioners; it can sometimes be perceived as a relatively unimportant, “fluffy” activity, perhaps especially by those with a particularly technical mind (and I’m sure fellow devotees of the superb ‘Twenty Twelve’ will agree Siobhan Sharpe of ‘Perfect Curve PR’ didn’t exactly do our discipline any favours in this regard either! “So here’s the thing with this….”).
I well remember having a conversation with one of my (now retired) engineering colleagues in the earliest days of Interfleet in relation to instigating a PR programme for the new company, which went along the lines of “…not sure we should be ‘blowing our own trumpet’ like this…”, “…just not cricket…”, etc. My youthful protestations that (a) no-one was going to do it for us and (b) all our competitors would be doing it went unheeded by said individual, but fortunately our MD was considerably more enlightened in such matters and hence fully supportive!
The impact of marketing and PR can be difficult to quantify, even with complex ‘marketing metrics’ (which I’ll be the first to admit is not my particular forte), but I firmly believe the effective use of marketing and PR has played a significant contribution in building Interfleet’s brand-image and profile over the years, helping to keep us constantly in the public eye.
Personally I like to highlight empirical examples of how and where our marketing and PR activities have demonstrably ‘worked’ down the years. For example, during the course of this year, with the help of BCS we’ve instigated a new ‘people’–based magazine advertising campaign in the rail trade media. One of the very first ads we did right back at the beginning of 2012 was for a key new recruit in our London office, and during a recent meeting he remarked that – several months later – he’d “…STILL got people ribbing me about that blinkin’ advert…”!
Another recent example concerns a ‘thought leadership’ article the head of our new subsidiary company, Interfleet Transport Advisory (ITA), wrote for our (BCS-designed) external client-newsletter, as part of the launch of ITA last year. One can wonder whether these things are being read by anybody, but one of ITA’s new recruits told us upon joining the company that she’d read the newsletter article and applied for a job with ITA as a direct result! And for sure we received some fantastic coverage of ITA’s launch-event in the rail media as a result of inviting some of our journalist chums along to the event.
I could go on citing other examples – such as the time when a couple of our directors visited a brand-new client prospect in foreign parts and were able to point to the bound-insert of Interfleet’s newsletter in his favourite international rail magazine – but hopefully I’ve made my point!
It ‘works’ – and I’m sure you dear enlightened reader, are doing it too! But if you’re not, I know a very good marketing agency…