One of the most enjoyable aspects of having your own company is the way unexpected opportunities arise that take you - and your expertise - in a direction you didn’t forsee.
The Emilia Group’s core business, as you can probably guess from looking at our website, is sports media - be that communications, PR, events, athlete management, acting as publicist, media training sportspeople or social media for sport brands and organisations. The skills and experience that we have can be applied to different sports and different athletes, whether they are tennis players, fencers, runners or gymnasts.
Yet in the last few months we’ve added airline pilots, a plastic surgeon and an events specialist working in the film industry to the list of people who’ve sought our advice. On the face of it, these organisations and companies have little in common with each other - and next to nothing in common with the sports brands we usually work with - but on talking to them we discovered a shared thread. All of them wanted to raise their profile and “get themselves out there a bit more” and none of them knew how to make that happen.
As small business owners ourselves, we understand that as well as delivering the skill or services you actually get paid for, you can also find yourselves having to be a Jack - or a Jill - of all trades. By turns you are expected to be a bookkeeper, administrator, sales person and - crucially in this context - boast a working knowledge of marketing and PR. This is asking for a contradictory skills or, put another way, for one person to be an expert in everything. We understand how to promote our company - and other people’s - because its our stock-in-trade but ask us to perform a rhinoplasty operation or fly a 747 and even we might struggle a little!
So where do small businesses or organisations turn when they need specialist advice to raise their profile and build their brand? Some seek advice from companies offering “digital PR”, and in return get ambitious plans laden with jargon and marketing-speak and, usually, a strategy-by-numbers better suited to a much bigger company with a far larger budget.
Not every company needs a Facebook page or a You Tube channel and, by the same token, printing off hundreds of fliers - for hundreds of pounds - can often be a waste of time and money. We take the same approach with small companies and organisations as we do with athletes, governing bodies and sports events organisers and it always starts with listening.
By listening we can work out what the goal is and who they are trying to reach. From there we can build a PR plan for them to follow, which may or may not include social media. Sometimes our work ends with some in-house social media or PR training, in other cases we might project-manage building a website and creating content, while some clients require ongoing PR, media and marketing support.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution because we’re all about tailoring the PR strategy and the service we provide to the needs of the client - whether they’re a tennis player or an airline pilot.