January 1st, 2020
New Year’s Resolutions
by Jane Hunt
Love them or hate them, New Year’s resolutions have been around since the time of the ancient Babylonians – so in the culture of our world civilisation for 4000 years. Apparently, the Babylonians made promises to the Gods to pay their debts and return borrowed items at this time of year. Not a bad thing for some to take on board!
I’m told my great-grandmother would pay her milk bill, and anything else of that sort of thing owed. before the New Year, presumably because it was bad luck not to. Italians throw out pans at New Year, and I’ve followed suit and thrown out old baking trays. I’m not cooking lentils, however – another Italian New Year tradition.
Personal New Year’s Resolutions soon become a bit flaky, as we all know, so I’ve focused on some business resolutions that I think we can definitely achieve. So, in no particular order …
1) Bring the benefit of dynamic county days to more counties
We’ve founded The County Day Company for very good reason – most counties miss out on what we’ve brought to Northumberland for the past three years. Even in our own county, Lancashire Day is a pretty underwhelming celebration, doing little to mobilise communities, schools and individuals. There’s no excuse, just because it’s in November. There just needs to be more imagination and creativity and the drive and passion we’ve poured into Northumberland Day – not even our home county, by the way. But so many counties are like Lancashire and we’ve proved we’re the experts in the field with 20+ award shortlistings, plus 6 awards so far, just for Northumberland Day …. #JustSaying
2) No Business Awards
We’re going to resist the temptation to enter regional North West or Lancashire business awards this year. Without fail, the people we meet all agree these awards are completely fixed and dependent on whether or not you book a table of at least 10. (If you’re still not winning having done that, by the way, you sure need our help with award writing and marketing!). We don’t need to be chasing awards that are rigged, when we can win awards that actually endorse our talent at what we do, as our national and regional PR and marketing awards do.
3) Do the Extraordinary and the Extremely Creative
We’ve realised that, if clients “don’t get it” when we put marketing plans together, or find our thinking “weird”, they are not right for us. As we’ve also realised, those that do get it and accept that we know what we’re doing, build their brands faster, win accolades, and achieve their goals. We’re going to be super-selective when it comes to who we work with this year, but also like terriers with anyone who thinks they can just pinch our ideas and not use our services!
4) More PR in Lancashire, Manchester, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland
Because of the way in which we approach PR, and the results we achieve despite our size and the typical size of budget we handle, we’ve always attracted clients from locations UK-wide to a far greater degree than clients within our own county. This is despite being the most successful PR agency in Lancashire, bar none, over the past 21 years and having stayed at the top, rivalling anything in Manchester or Liverpool, throughout that time. By the way, harping back to our point 2 here, we’re talking about the awards we’ve won that have been adjudged by fellow professionals at the highest level, not business awards that we’ve effectively bought. We do often find our ideas embraced more by clients elsewhere in the country but, in the spirit of climate change action, we shall do all we can to achieve more penetration in those counties in which we already have several clients.
5) New CSR Project for Free PR Support
We’ve can no longer support a major CSR project, to which we have provided free PR support for a decade, as the charity are dropping their event because their staff are not as open to giving up their free time as their volunteers are! So, this opens the door for another CSR project to benefit from free PR support, if we think it worthy. We’ll be drawing up some criteria but it’s a major gift for someone, given how much publicity we’ve generated for our previous charitable cause for more than a decade.
6) Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind
I was watching the Graham Norton New Year’s Eve show with Tom Hanks last night and he explained how the personality in his new film, ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood’, had a motto to impart to children, which was ‘Be kind, be kind, be kind’. This is our motto for 2020 and it’s not that we aren’t kind, as I’m sure our amazing clients would testify. In our application of this motto, we will be turning the other cheek when negative people take to social media to offer often ill-informed and totally inaccurate opinions about Northumberland Day (e.g it’s a council-funded initiative, or I’m a Tory party fundraiser), when prospective clients ask for a proposal and then don’t have the good manners to acknowledge it, and when people attempt underhand tactics to avoid paying for the advice received (which never succeeds, by the way!). Instead of letting their negativity and tactics get to us, we shall note it and park it at the back of the fridge, being kind enough to think that, if they have to act like this, they must be in a pretty bad place, or likely to soon be making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Negativity and negative actions will NOT bring us down.
I think this is a good set of resolutions to take into 2020 and ones that will allow us to stay positive, continue to support good causes and gain the motivation that fuels us, year after year, to create award-winning or very-nearly-award-winning campaigns for those clients who recognise that you need big ideas for big results. We can’t wait to put all of this into action!