Lessons for listening for Public Relations from BREXIT

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Following the UK people’s vote to leave the UK has there ever been such an important time for the ears of PR people to lead the way in creating a better future?

Listening is not only a tool for the most effective communicators but also one of the key management functions of public relations – PR people need to both good listeners and also be the champion for their organization’s listening.

It is not about communicators asking other people to lend them their ears, but also be mindful of how good is their own listening: are they really listening? If we as PR practitioners cannot listen effectively then how can we ask our targets to do likewise?

Are there lessons for our political establishments – both at a UK and European-wide level – as they reflect on the lessons they could learn from the BREXIT win?

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How Leave won the Meme Wars in Referendum and lessons for you

projectfear

The UK is still reeling from a Referendum vote that surprised the global markets, institutions, and even the Leave campaign supporters.

One lesson is how the Remain campaign lost the ‘Meme War’.

Mention ‘memes’ and the fashion now is to think of virial Internet messages that capture people’s imagination and get passed on.

Yet memes are more profound, I would argue they form the DNA of communications, of how information gets passed on, received and crucially passed-on again.

And what’s clear the Leave campaign won its Meme War – by gaining a disproportionate part of popular culture – leading to a majority result in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

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How the BREXIT vote is the latest consequence of our Social Capital crisis

social class

How many working class people do you know? Did half the people you know vote Brexit?

The Referendum result revealed a disturbing reality of two tribes within Britain – and what’s worse they’re increasingly having less to do with each other.

It is all part of a hidden crisis within our society – the decline of Social Capital – and it was partly responsible for the recent Referendum result.

This hidden Social Capital crisis affects the very heartbeat of how our communities work. Fewer people devote themselves to the communal good. Less of us are getting involved in doing things, running things or just hanging around with each other – how we help each other to help each other – reducing our capacity to connect, co-operate and collaborate.

As a result, things we took for granted in our communities start to happen less and less, or not happen at all, and people are increasingly operating within distinct silos of like-minded people – and we are all poorer as a result.

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The need for a new narrative post Euro Referendum

churchill

A seismic change in Britain’s history now needs a seismic change in our future story: the UK is in urgent need of a new narrative. One that explains our past and one that works to rebuild our society and create a stronger platform for a better collective future for the UK.

Otherwise, we face up to creating a future destiny amidst uncertainty, bitterness, rancour and despair.

A narrative is like the string in a pearl necklace, providing the thread for connecting your pearls of your story of the past and of the future, that shape your story of the now.

Not since the darkest hours of 1940 where Winston Churchill stood tall and inspired the British people – and history – of a Britain that its people will fight on its beaches has there been a need for creating a new narrative for our future.

Communicators, PR people, all of us who work in our business have a critical role to play.

At the heart of this is how we in the UK go forward as a society – with a new story.

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