To put my own twist on an old saying, events are like sausages; it is best not to see them being made. But that was the very reason why I attended the CIPR Scotland PRide Awards. I wasn’t there to be recognised for my achievements; to socialise with best the industry has to offer; or even to have a good time (although I did); I was there to learn.
I am studying Advertising & PR at City of Glasgow College and I am looking to pursue a career in public relations. When it was announced at college that CIPR Scotland was looking for volunteers to help out at its PRide Awards, I naturally put myself forward for the position and was eager to find out about the event. Other students; Mandy Rayner, Hailey MacLennan, Karis Lamont and Natalia Wicik also volunteered. Many of you may remember the first event you organised and delivered for your clients and will likely remember the stresses, strains and the ultimate pleasure that comes when it all goes to plan. Well this was my first taste of that experience.
To kick things off we met with Laura Sutherland from Aura PR who told us about the different roles we could have in order to make the most of our experience. At first, I was a little nervous hearing about the event as it sounded a bit overwhelming for a student to take part in. However, Laura reassured us all that helping out at the event would give us a great insight in to the world of PR so the nerves started to fade.
Before I knew it the day was upon us and me and my fellow students went to the Grand Central Hotel where we were greeted by Elaine Fee. With hours to go before the event started Elaine talked us through the plans and running order, providing us with tips and tricks for setting up and managing events as she went. Having never been involved at an event of this size and scale before it really gave me appreciation for the work that goes into organising and running something of this size and scale, and I was only involved on the day let alone the run up to it. Our first task was to setup the room and we were asked to view it from the perspective of someone at the event to assess the practicality of the layout. It seemed like a lot to process at the time as we have not physically set up an event ourselves. But that’s why I was there, to learn. And I will always remember Elaine’s one golden rule in order to be prepared: always have a bag with scissors, tape, pins and everything else including the kitchen sink!
Another thing that quickly dawned on me was the success of an event doesn’t just rest with venue, tables and chairs. It’s the little things that make it a special for the attendees. As it was the 10th anniversary of the CIPR Scotland PRide Awards it was decided that a photo board of memories should be made to create some nostalgia for people. I had been given lots of photos to print off and we all helped to pin these up on the board decorated with a newspaper background. The board looked great and when I saw how people reacted to seeing pictures of themselves and colleagues and the conversations it created you can see how something as simple as a picture board can impact the atmosphere of the event.
I was given the task of tweeting on behalf of the CIPR Scotland Twitter account during the award ceremony – I was in charge of announcing the winners of every category and keeping an eye on the hashtag ‘#PRideSCO’. This task once again showed how important it is preparing as much as you can in advanced as trying to write these as the event was happening would have been difficult. The tweets had already been drafted by CIPR Scotland secretary Joe Walton and all I had to do was tweet them – this may sound like an easy task to complete but there was actually a lot of pressure on me not to announce winners too early and spoil the event. And it is another good learning point for me on the importance of when running an event management not to get too involved in the razzle dazzle and to stay focussed on your assigned tasks and responsibilities. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, complete with sweaty palms as I kept up with the fast pace of the event. Thankfully, things ran smoothly and I was able to get the hashtag trending in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, which was the first time anything like this has ever happened to me!
After the awards ceremony, we got the chance to meet with the attendees of the event which provided me insight into the industry I one day want to be part of. Helping out at the event has undoubtedly furthered my interest in the PR industry and I cannot wait to be a part of it one day; perhaps sitting at the tables enjoying the proceedings and picking up an award or two, rather than panicking over tweets!
It was a fantastic experience which I enjoyed thoroughly and would be more than happy to do all over again. I feel that taking part in such a high profile event is extremely useful for my future career and has allowed me to put some of the knowledge I have learnt from college into practice.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible and congratulations to all of the winners on the night.
Diarmid Mackinnon – firstname.lastname@example.org (Twitter: @diarmid_pr) – Advertising and PR Student at City of Glasgow College.
Last week (20th November), the PR and partnership teams at VisitScotland joined forces with CIPR Scotland to host an evening event – it was a chance to network with likeminded communicators in the industry and share ideas over a glass of wine, but we were also unveiling an exciting new working partnership and marking the start of a new chapter for VisitScotland.
Kicking off the proceedings for the evening was Helen Campbell, Head of Marketing for UK & Ireland at VisitScotland, unveiling the new ‘Brilliant Moments’ marketing campaign. At the heart of the £5.3m multi-touchpoint campaign is a new TV ad, themed around the ‘Brilliant Moments’ of 2014 lying ahead: Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup. Featuring real people, each saying a line from a specially penned poem against a backdrop of dramatic Scottish locations, the ads set the scene and inspired attendees to get behind the events taking place next year, particularly the Commonwealth Games, which was a topic covered in detail at the event.
2014 is undoubtedly a huge year for Scotland and we have an opportunity to showcase our country as a world-class tourism destination, creating a lasting legacy for years to come. The Commonwealth Games is the biggest sporting occasion ever to take place in Scotland – yes, Team Scotland will take centre stage and showcase our sporting talent globally, but there is also an opportunity to highlight our other USPs – an outstanding natural larder and award-winning food and drink, cosmopolitan, buzzing and vibrant cities to stunning natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage to name but a few.
When occasions and events as all-encompassing as the Commonwealth Games come along, it’s a PR’s instinct to seize the opportunity and plan business or client PR tactics around them. The problem is, with everyone adopting the same strategy, you can feel like a small fish in a big pond and it’s difficult to find the outlet to get your messages across while maintaining synergy with the overarching topic. At last night’s event, we wanted to try and break down those barriers and present a series of opportunities, which have enough scope for communicators, clients and businesses from all sectors to get involved and reap benefit.
In partnership with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and VisitBritain, VisitScotland will be operating a Destination Media Hub in the iconic Teacher’s Building, in St Enoch Square for the duration of the Games. This one-stop shop facility for consumer, lifestyle, travel, news and sport media, operating from 8am – 8pm from Sunday 20th July to Monday 4th August, will offer a range of facilities to registered users: destination information on Glasgow, Scotland and the rest of the UK, working press area, free wi-fi, media interview zones and most crucially for PRs involvement, a daily programme of news conferences and events.
We are looking for your support and ideas to create an engaging media events programme to run the full two week period. From food sampling and demos to design showcases, news announcements and whisky tastings, we want to showcase every aspect of Scotland, giving journalists visiting Scotland a flavour for what the country has to offer. Similarly, we are keen to work with our industry partners on compiling a booklet of media offers and a diverse and inspiring Scottish character bank, which media can look to for potential interviewees and spokespeople on a range of topics.
Through partnership working, we can ensure the opportunity for Scotland around 2014 and the Commonwealth Games is optimised, tourism revenue is boosted and Scotland is showcased internationally as a destination of choice for years to come.
For more information, to put forward proposals for involvement with the events programme, media offers or other activity, contact email@example.com
To keep up to date with all the latest news on the Destination Media Hub follow @mediahub2014
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As Chair of the CIPR in Scotland I hope you know that I do my very best to represent members and their views along with a dedicated committee of volunteers! For those who have been in my position before, you’ll know the ins and outs of Council, committee meetings, events and training, not to mention the PRide Awards! The challenge is that we need to keep the activities and member benefits fresh and relevant, but we can only do this with input.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many members as Chair over the past 18 months and many of course before. It’s not an easy task keeping 876 people pleased!
Phil Morgan, Director of Policy and Communications at the CIPR is coming up to Edinburgh on 3rd December and we’re planning a round table event for senior practitioners with a very tight agenda – what can CIPR do to further support Scottish members and what can senior practitioners do to assist CIPR in achieving ambitions in Scotland?
There’s nothing better than a face-to-face and sit down to discuss what really matters and realistic action points that assist members and the CIPR. It is true what people say, you only get out of something, what you put in. So, I challenge senior practitioners to come along, prepared for the discussion, so we can all leave knowing we’ve work together to help shape a relevant and robust strategy going forward in Scotland.
So, with this in mind, can you please email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are able to attend on 3rd December at 6.30pm? I’ll confirm a venue shortly. I imagine the discussion will be rounded up around 8pm and there will be time for drinks after.
Life is full of change. And it’s faster today than it’s ever been, especially technologically. But change comes in many forms – from customer demand, political impetus, legislation, social expectation. All these are influences that create the need for change. And any organisation that doesn’t change is an organisation heading for trouble.
But there’s a challenge. Most of us humans don’t actually like change very much. Let me give you an example that I think you’ll relate to. You go away on holiday to somewhere unusual, in a different culture. You embrace the culture, enjoying the different foods available. But do you keep eating those foods when you come back? No, you’re back very quickly eating what you always ate before you went!
So almost all of us are naturally cautious, suspicious of change and in an organisational context, the change process. In fact, a small minority will almost always seek to undermine it. Just the term ‘change management’ is likely to have employees rolling their eyes and starting to read the job pages.
So how do organisations make changes effectively? Firstly, it requires excellent leadership from the top of the organisation. Of course ‘leadership’ can mean many things to different people but I like the definition by leadership guru, Joel Baker, who says: “A leader is a person you will follow to a place you wouldn’t go by yourself.”
Of course you need to know what and where that place is and therefore, in my view, a leader’s first job if being able to define the place. Being able to articulate a vision is a key (maybe the key) element of the leader’s job description!
It follows that being a good communicator is also a major part of leadership and to a greater or lesser extent that’s where we come in as professional communicators. Communications is at the heart of any change management process, with communicators playing a vital role.
So how do we make ourselves valuable, valued – perhaps even indispensable – in the change management process? I think a good starting point is understanding the process itself and understanding and being able to recognise good leadership. And it’s those two things I’ll be talking about at the CIPR Freshly Brewed Change Management and Leadership session in Stirling on 26 November.
Neil Jones is a CIPR Accredited Practitioner and an experienced trainer both in the UK and the Middle and Far East. In a 40 year career Neil has worked in public relations and marketing in a wide range of industries from marine electronics through the motor industry to brewing and, for the last 20 years, oil & gas.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communications and has been a director of Aberdeen Performing Arts – the charitable status trust that runs the three main performing arts venues in the city – since it was formed in 2002, helping to see through two formal change management processes. He is currently vice-chairman and chairs the HSE and HR board sub-committees.
The CIPR Scotland Communicator of the year 2013 – Clare Smith – Scottish Government Marketing and Communications
For the third year, CIPR Scotland decided to award an inspiring communicator, someone who through their personal work or business has inspired others through their exemplary communications skills.
This year, our members drew a list of 10 candidates and the Fellows of the CIPR in Scotland voted for their winner: Clare Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at The Scottish Government
This year’s winner Clare Smith, chief marketing officer at the Scottish Government. Clare is a true and passionate PR professional and rarely does a marketing department have our discipline at the forefront.
As a PR professional leading a marketing team, she instills the value of truly integrated working, and champions the role for PR. Since taking on the role of chief marketing officer in December, Clare has led the team to Marketing Team of the Year 2013 at the Marketing Society through ground breaking work on Breast Cancer, Knife Crime and Road Safety campaigns.”