NE comms conversation #9 “Reputation is everything”

I’ve known and worked with Helen Fussell for a few years – in fact we’ve sat through some long, corporate meetings trying to keep ourselves awake more than once.

Here’s her take on the North East comms industry….

What made you get into the PR/comms business?
I’ve loved writing stories since I was a little girl, so with my background in broadcast media and culture, when I decided to go freelance specialising in arts PR was a bit of a no brainer.

How have things changed in the last 5 years?
Good stories and strong images are still at the heart of what we do, but because of new technology the way we tell them – and the speed we need to react – have changed dramatically.

Are you optimistic about the future?

Are disciplines like PR, marketing and advertising becoming the same thing?
Not at all. They’re closely related in some ways, and a good campaign can draw together professional expertise from all three, but they can have different outcomes and require distinct skill-sets.

What are the key traits people in PR need to succeed?
I can’t speak for everyone, but curiosity, empathy and an eye for a good story haven’t done me any harm.

For you, what’s the real benefit of good PR/comms?
Reputation is everything, and PR – including, but not limited to, media relations – is invaluable in building a good reputation and strong profile.


What advice would you give the younger you?
Do what you love.

What worries you about the industry?
I think PR is often the first thing to go when budgets are squeezed – we’re often asked to deliver things which aren’t always straightforward to quantify, like improved reputation or increased profile, so it’s up to us to make the case for keeping PR in the marketing mix.

What keeps you up at night?
Wondering how I’m going to squeeze everything I need to get done into the next day…

Helen Fussell is a freelance PR & communications professional

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