With phrases like ‘let’s not bore the ocean here guys’ and ideas like ‘jubilympics’ – a hybrid of the London Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee – Siobhan Sharpe is the much-maligned fictional face of PR.
Her consultancy work with the Olympic delivery team and the BBC via her PR company, Perfect Curve, has been an hilarious part of BBC comedies Twenty Twelve and W1A.
But for all her bluster – ‘I am totally listening, what it is is, you guys aren’t saying the right stuff’ – there are some aspects of Siobhan’s character which are actually useful to have when it comes to PR.
Here, our own PR manager, Natalie, picks out five reasons why Siobhan is like, totally cool, yeah guys?
There can be no doubting Siobhan’s total positivity when it comes to dealing with a PR brief.
Of course, working on the Olympics and with the BBC are naturally exciting projects but there comes a point in almost every campaign when enthusiasm wanes or problems are encountered.
In this case, Siobhan sets a good example by staying (mostly) positive and bringing plenty of energy to the project in hand.
A good PR manager helps businesses achieve their goals by applying these attributes to drive work forward and come up with innovative and original ideas, even when motivation and inspiration is sometimes lacking.
Her arrival is often met with a roll of eyes of even thinly veiled comments but Siobhan’s commitment to visiting her clients is commendable.
PR is about telling interesting and engaging stories and these can only be uncovered when you know your client well.
Regular contact by email and over the phone is essential but visiting a company in person is really the only way to properly understand what they do, how they do it and perhaps most crucially of all, why they do so.
Here at Pace, getting out of the office and seeing our clients face-to-face is one of our favourite things to do and we’ve been privileged to go behind-the-scenes at some fantastic businesses since we launched two years ago.
Ok, so she might have been exaggerating when she told her BBC colleagues that ‘nobody watches TV anymore’ but Siobhan is nothing if not keen on keeping track of changes to our social habits.
If Siobhan is right and we’re watching TV less, where are people going for their entertainment? Where are they getting their news updates from? How do they want to consume information?
This matters because it has a big impact on how you tell a PR story. Should it be a Tweet or a big read piece in one of the Sunday broadsheets? Would a video work or does your message need an infographic?
If you don’t know the options available, you can’t reach the audience you are aiming for.
She might not always listen to her underlings back at Perfect Curve HQ but Siobhan does at least give her team the chance to input their ideas.
While we’re not advocating setting up a table tennis table to literally bat ideas between colleagues – as seen in Perfect Curve’s bafflingly hip offices – as a full-service agency, we do believe in the power of working together.
We don’t just offer our clients PR services, we have expert advice on marketing, advertising, digital, social, brand, campaigns, internal communications and more.
And we value team input, regularly getting around a (normal) table to discuss our latest projects, share ideas and get some creativity going. But unlike Siobhan, we don’t celebrate every good idea with a boogie to an office-wide silent disco.
Mobile Phone Addiction
Her kooky dress sense may be unpredictable but one thing Siobhan will not be without wherever she is going is her mobile phone.
Of course, it’s not ok to answer the phone in the middle of a meeting and have a loud conversation across the room while everyone else waits for you to finish.
But being available to clients to support them is important, especially if there’s a crisis or if there’s a query that can’t wait.
It’s also a great way to keep track of the wider news and social agenda, allowing the best kind of PR manager to spot opportunities for their clients alongside planned work.
Finally, although we work hard, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and have enjoyed a bit of fun being poked at the world of PR.
As Siobhan herself would say, ‘if we get bandwidth on this, you’ve got maple syrup on your waffle from the get go’.