PR pros need to look beyond the M25 if they want communications campaigns to be ‘relevant’

A report was launched at an event in central London on Tuesday, revealing that consumers are more interested in a brand’s relevance than how ‘trustworthy’ it is. Interestingly, the report included a UK specific survey and research conducted in Preston. Apparently Preston was chosen because it represents an ‘everyman town’ in the UK. The aim of the event was to inform PRs about these ‘everyman’ towns and the people that inhabit them, given that they consist of the atypical demographic when it comes to developing strategies for largescale communications campaigns.


The report is insightful, not least because it demonstrates how disenfranchised people living in these ‘everyman towns’ actually feel. Several of the 24 Preston residents questioned claimed they felt ‘unheard’ by big brands. It mirrors the sentiments of what was heard pre the European Referendum, with people from so-called ‘everyman towns’, saying they felt ignored by Westminster and the capital (51% of people living in Preston voted for Brexit).


The survey also seemed to suggest that PR pros based in big, global agencies in Clerkenwell, Soho and the like, fail to understand what it is that’s relevant to local communities. I personally feel that that they don’t really ‘get’ what influences those living north of Watford. It’s not their fault per se, they’ve merely been indoctrinated by shiny, global agency thinking that doesn’t reflect the sentiments of those living in ‘everyman towns’ up and down the country. Wider communications disciplines seem to have done better at this, so it really is time for the PR world to catch up.


The report comes off the back of the UK CEO of Ogilvy PR, Miles Young urging his colleagues to leave Ogilvy HQs ‘ivory towers’ on London’s South Bank, in order to connect with the Britons that inhabit those far off mystical lands outside the M25. He was right to do this, as were Ogilvy for launching their initiative Get Out There. Which aims to send some bright young things out to the likes of Bradford and Torquay. Apparently, they’re going ‘rogue’ – in order to test hypotheses through ‘on- the-ground research’. I’m not sure how successful spending a day or two in an ‘everyman’ town will be in terms of informing an entire piece of strategic planning, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.


At The Write Angle, we pride ourselves on being on the doorstep of Lancashire based clients and thrive on working with businesses and brands either headquartered in the North West or with a strong regional presence. That’s because we live and work in an ‘everyman’ town. However, that’s not to say our experience of working in agencies across the world, including London haven’t assisted in formulating a skill set that allows us to unpick large–scale national and global briefs. It’s more about bringing together global agency experience and using insight on a local level that is persuasive, informative and emotive. We understand that an overarching proposition for a brand can completely work across an entire nation- even globally – but the tactics to deliver it must have a natural synergy with the people consuming it. And we think we’re pretty good at that.

May 25, 2017 - This article was written by Sally Fairclough

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