12 years on, what’s next?
We had a business plan. We wanted to do the two things that we were passionate about – cars and sport. And we wanted to have fun along the way.
Nearly 4,400 days later, a lot has changed. Regional newspapers are about as abundant as Man Utd victories at Old Trafford this season. Television channels run into the hundreds not tens. There are radio stations just on the internet. ‘Back in the day’ press releases were faxed. Or posted. With printed pictures. In envelopes. Oh, and the internet. Whatever happened to Freeserve? Thank god dial-up is dead.
We’ve evolved too. Last autumn saw us rebrand into Performance Communications. PR is just part of the mix. We now create content, run social communities, seed videos, research, negotiate and create brand partnerships and lots more.
We opened an office in Dubai to look after clients across the Middle East. We now have affiliate partners in 12 countries delivering the Performance Way in 26 countries. I now have 38 (and growing) fantastic colleagues who I prefer to call friends.
So much has changed. Or has it really?
I was reading an article today about Mark Zukerberg. He used the phrase ‘continuous trajectory’ to describe Facebook’s need for evolution with ‘logical moves’ and ‘adaptations’. It’s what every good business needs to do. Always look around, always look ahead.
And yet, whilst so much has changed and needs to change, one thing remains consistent – the need to tell a good story.
Twelve years ago, I spent much of my time talking about dot.com internet car retailing, importing new cars from Europe and ‘Rip Off Britain’. One of my clients at the time, CarPriceCheck.com, was a regular on the BBC or the front end of The Sun or Daily Mail. In a similar way, I spent hours poring over data to create headline stories for Warranty Direct on the cost of running a car.
The ability to create a good story that the media and public alike want to read or hear about is the consistent factor in 12 years of change. We may have new tools at our disposal, new channels to talk to, new rules of engagement, but the power of being a storyteller has not dwindled one bit.
That’s what makes this job so enjoyable for me today. That’s why the ‘flash for crash’ story we did last summer for anti-fraud investigators, APU, was so rewarding. We did the hard-work unearthing the story, packaging it, planning distribution and then pressing go. Oh, and it went.
We can all be dazzled by buzz words, the latest marketing trumpet calls, changing consumer media appetites but simple, bold, storytelling remains at the heart of everything we do.
You get that right and it’s easy(ish).
So what does the next 12 years hold? Who knows, but one thing is for sure, whilst the tools of the communicator will continue to change…the skill of the storyteller will remain the same.