Leadership Brand

What it was:

Session on Leadership and personal brand at Ashridge as part of Future Leaders Scheme residential module one. August 2017.

What I learned:

Your real leadership brand is what other people say about you when you leave the room.

Leadership brand has various Attributes:

  • Contacts (judged on who you associate with)
  • Story
  • Appearance (image you project)
  • Presence
  • Behaviour (collaboration)
  • Purpose
  • Values
  • Talents (what are you famous for)

To consider:

  • What is the source of your authority? Why should anyone be led by you?
  • What do you expect of others?
  • What stories do you want other people to be telling about you?
  • What type of leader do you want to be remembered as (legacy)?

If you’re not constantly evaluating these sorts of things, you are potentially dangerous!

In the book “Why should anyone be led by you” they examined “what do followers want?”

  • Community (feel part of something)
  • Authenticity (not a robot leader)
  • Significance  (something that matters)
  • Excitement (new and interesting)

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • I will try to develop (write down) my leadership brand
  • I will read: “why should anyone be led by you”

DMSD Agile Foundation and Pracitioner

What it was

A week-long course with tests and certification in London, on Agile project management techniques. February 2017.

What I learned

This is a comprehensive introduction to the practices of project management as set out in the industry-standard DSDM (“dynamical systems development model”) framework – more commonly known as “agile”.

Born from bitter experience in the world of enterprise software development, “Agile” project management can be applied widely, but is most suited to scenarios where the final product is malleable and can be iterated, where requirements and estimates are fluid or unknown at the start, and where the project must respond quickly to business change.

These are scenarios where traditional PRINCE2 / “waterfall” project management approaches often fail.

Agile is broadly applicable to PR practice – in particular event planning, producing publications, web development, and evolving campaigns which respond dynamically to feedback and external change (e.g. social media campaigns)

The DSDM framework is complex and comprehensive and covers key roles, products etc but can be summarised into eight key principles:

1. Focus on the business need
2. Deliver on time
3. Collaborate
4. Never compromise quality
5. Build incrementally from firm foundations
6. Develop iteratively
7. Communicate continuously and clearly
8. Demonstrate control

Two key techniques in Agile are:
1. MoSCoW – this is a way of prioritising requirements into Must/Should/Could/Won’t so that the project focuses on delivering the “must” requirements, using the resource for delivering the others as contingency to guarantee that the “musts” – at minimum – are delivered. Thus agile projects, unlike other approaches, act to fix time, cost and quality but vary *feature set*
2. Timeboxing – this is a rigid discipline in which the project is divided into fixed time intervals of iterative delivery, with built in co-ordination, review, acceptance and retrospective sessions. Fixing the time frames of an agile project ensures that whatever is delivered is delivered on time, with no prospect of delay. Combined with MoSCoW this is a powerful tool for ensure projects deliver what the business needs, when it needs it.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

I will seek to apply Agile methodology and techniques to my team’s working.

CIPR webinar: What’s new in social media?

What it was:

An online seminar from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, accessed on 27 February 2016

What I learned:

Various insights from the annual OfCom report:

  • 72% of adults have a social profile, including 28% of 65 and over
  • Facebook has highest reach and engagement
  • 16-24s have breadth of social media e.g. instagram, snapchat
  • Twitter often used to air complaints or frustrations
  • Almost a fifth of adults say they are hooked on social media

Other insights

  • Twitter published a “Government and Elections Handbook”
  • Twitter analytics console has updated and is now powerful e.g follower analysis
  • Highest engagement with a tweet does not happen neatly on the hour or on the half hour
  • Facebook video overtaking Youtube video?
  • IFTTT has growing useful recipes e.g. when someone edits a wikipedia page
  • PR stack project looks at e.g. workflows to manage PR processes
  • CIPRSM hack days seem interesting; generate content on the fly

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Ensure anything targeting younger demographic considers e.g. snapchat
  • Remember that older demographic are strong social users, too.
  • Re-examine Twitter analytics and use of Facebook video
  • Consider innovative uses of hacks e.g. to generate learning content on the say of an event
  • Look at what engagement, insight or analytics processes can be automated e.g. through IFTTT

Campaigns that shook the world: The evolution of public relations – Danny Rogers

What it was:

I read the book ‘Campaigns that shook the world: The evolution of public relations’ by Danny Rogers as part of my Continuous Professional Development during February 2016.

What I learned:

Key points of learning for me from the campaigns covered in this book:

Thatcher election campaign

  • First modern political campaign in UK; visual, impactful
  • identifed potential swing groups of voters e.g. women labour voters
  • Event advertising – creating news spike from small number of ad sites
  • close alignment with newspaper editors
  • avoided battles they can’t win

New Labour, New Britain

  • Rolling news; rebuttal; The Grid
  • Blair and his advisers were a client/agency relationship, much like Thatcher
  • Aspiration was key to campaign

Royal renaissance

  • long term campaign
  • use of exclusive photographs
  • relationship with media changed; robust and uneven campaign

Rolling stones

  • wide and comprehensive campaign, lots of tie-ups, sponsorship
  • top team were engaged and flexible, did media that was tailored and adapted
  • pioneering of big stadium gigs

David Beckham

  • managing the narrative
  • lots of tie-ins and comms
  • spanning into new sectors; novelty

London 2012

  • clarity and consistency of the vision; did not deviate
  • team discovered that there is a growing chasm between media coverage and actual perception
  • used consistent opinion tracking throughout


  • use of co-branding and partnering
  • some valid criticism of campaign which is a middle-man for fundraising, lack of transparency?

Obama for America

  • Clear phases to the campaign
  • aspirational
  • ground campaign: use of data to maximise and maintain subscriber lists etc.


  • Authenticity of message carried through the campaign
  • Issue marketing and thought-provoking content

Summary – some common attributes of successful campaigns:

  • Integrated campaigns
  • Clear vision, unified team, authenticity
  • PR-led strategy, consistent narrative
  • Collaborative approach to media
  • Forging partnerships
  • Embracing evolving concept of celebrity
  • Integrity, purpose
  • Optimising digital tools
  • Building genuine movements

It’s worth being aware that this book necessarily looks retrospectively at successful campaigns and is therefore potentially post-hoc rationalisation of why they were successful – potentially, many unsuccessful campaigns would exhibit the same attributes.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

  • Have a clear vision and position, don’t deviate from it, keep all activity consistent and within that framework
  • Movements can be created and harnessed but think about authenticity
  • Think about celebrity, what this could mean in my work context, and how to embrace it
  • Think big, wide and long term when it comes to major campaigns
  • Don’t be afraid to think about affecting or re-baselining the fundamental relationships between players (e.g. between your organisation and the media, or by partnering) – truly successful campaigns are sometimes those that completely re-engineer the comms landscape. Don’t accept that landscape ‘as is’.


Social Media Beyond Borders

What it was:

Lecture on the international aspects of social media, organised by PRMoment.com at Ogilvy PR, Cabot Square. Date: 19 January 2011

What I learned:

Sites like SocialBakers.com can give simple stats on Facebook usage etc
We use different meanings of “friend” on different sites and in different contexts
Dunbar’s Number (approx 150) – a nominal estimate (perhaps not scientific) how of many friends you can sustain – perhaps has relevance to social networks.
Social Networks are interest-driven; social interaction must add value; narrower interests make tighter networks
Are social networks transnational? It depends who your friends are!
Facebook dominates, but different networks are popular in different countries.
PRs should seek to establish relationships with moderators/editors as you would with journalists.
The Chinese prefer to click not search.
Arguably Flickr is the most truly global social network.
China has  active “human flesh search engine” which sometimes tracks people down.

What I will aim to do differently as a result:

Consider the international dimension when designing social campaigns and when thinking about channel choices.