Tag Archives: business strategy

Why we’re the most expensive PR firm in the north of Scotland

I use to say we were the most experienced PR firm in the north of Scotland. But I recently adjusted that. I now describe us as the most expensive PR firm in the north of Scotland.

When we first started up, we use to compete, loosely, on price. But the clients we got typically didn’t appreciate what we could do for them, and often, despite getting them great results [read: excellent media coverage, strategy insights, positioning wins] the next time they had something to announce they’d make us compete all over again.

Those aren’t the clients we want to work with. “Love them what love you” is our ethos now.

There are some things money can buy.

There are some things money can buy.

We are a PR firm, yes, but we are also stupendously creative business advisors, and talented copywriters, with experience and connections far and wide. We can put you in touch with someone halfway across the world you would never otherwise have encountered. We can develop a value proposition that will earn your business hundreds of thousands of pounds. We can craft the story of your business into the compelling tale it should be — something you simply don’t have the time or expertise to do.

We won’t compete on price. But the clients we have the pleasure of serving don’t complain about our fees. They are happy to pay them.

If you’d like to engage in something far more than a public relations exercise, give us a bell.

The most expensive coffee you’ve had this year?

What's the true cost of this coffee? The answer may surprise you.

What’s the true cost of this coffee? The answer may surprise you.

If you’re like me, you’re constantly on the lookout for tips and tricks to be as productive as possible. We’re eager to find hacks that will help us save time, Apps to automate common tasks — keen to squeeze more out of each minute.

But when was the last time you questioned whether you should be doing that particular task at all? That’s what hit me today, when I was invited by a connection on LinkedIn to meet for coffee.

According to his message, he’s met me a few times already. My reflex is to accept. And normally, I would go ahead and arrange to meet him.

But today, when I received his invitation, my immediate reaction was: “What will this meeting cost me?”

Agreeing to meet him — and with no explicit goal for the meeting — will probably eat up at least an hour and a half. Normally, being sociable and open to the prospect of developing business, I would have accepted his invitation.

But today is different.

Over the past few months, it’s clear I have become more reluctant to accept invitations, and keener to stay at my desk — generating revenue.

This was reinforced by an interview I recently heard with Seth Godin: “I find I have a lot more time since I stopped watching television, and going to meetings.” What an eye-opener that was.

Is it just me, eager to stay put rather than take the opportunity to meet and deepen a recent connection, or are you also jealously guarding your time at your desk?

As a solo practitioner, if I am not generating revenue, nobody else is doing it for me. On days that I have meetings, I rarely get much done in the revenue generation front. And it’s not just the time I spend at the meeting, or the time it takes to travel to and from it.

For me, the biggest cost is the interruption. Getting into the flow of a new project, developing a good idea, outlining a kick-ass seminar or presentation — that is pure gold. To interrupt it to go for a coffee may cost you far more than you anticipate.

So, the next time you’re invited by a business connection to meet for coffee, ask yourself if you’re headed out for the most expensive coffee you’ve had his year.

When it comes to your organisation’s vision and mission, are you all on the same page?

The orchestra is a lot like a business that knows where it's headed.

The orchestra is a lot like a business that knows where it’s headed.

I had a revelation the other night at a concert. No ordinary concert, I was listening to the Netherlands Philharmonic, conducted by Hugh Wolff at the iconic Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Guest soloist Stephen Hough performed Dvorak’s Piano Concerto, and it was mesmerising.

What struck me though about the orchestra, and the concert, was how much it was like a business with a clearly articulated strategy. The mission, the vision, the values — they were all in place. Having recently led a forward-thinking organisation in a strategy workshop, this was fresh in my mind. And the analogies were apt.

The musicians were all talented professionals. Some of them did the same job — the first violins, the cellos, the French horns — but they each brought unique skills to the task. Each group of musicians had their own script — sheet music, in this instance. It told them what their job was today. Importantly, it was the road map that took everyone to the same destination. They all knew where they were headed, and they were all headed in the same direction, via the same route. Half of them weren’t playing Beethoven while the other half played Tchaikovsky!

The conductor, American Hugh Wolff, kept an eye on everyone. Like a talented Managing Director or CEO, he knew where everyone was supposed to be, and what they were supposed to do. He had the big picture. He knew everyone’s task, and trusted them to do the job they were there to do.

Together, everyone contributing their part, arriving well-prepared, and being talented to begin with, they made something beautiful. And like a business that helps its clients to manage the challenges they face in life, the orchestra brings something as a group that no single member could achieve individually.

With a clearly articulated mission and vision, an organisation takes its employees along on a journey that is enjoyable and fulfilling. It brings out the best in them, and, knowing where they are headed with their colleagues, they make a crucial and unique contribution to getting the organisation to its destination.

So the next time you’re in a smoothly-running office, think of the orchestra when you look at the typing pool. They are the first violins. Makes sure your ‘violinists’ know where you are headed as an organisation. It will make their lives more enjoyable, and yours as well. Besides, we’d be lost without them.

If you think your organisation could benefit from fine-tuning your strategy, or refining your mission and vision, please get in touch with us at Bruce PR. We have led strategy exercises for a number of SMEs, and we would love to help you do better in business.