CEO’s Blog – 09/05/2018

Marketing, Public Relations, Press Releases…. Is it all worth it?

As the CEO of a small organisation, I find I have my fingers in all sorts of different pies; not only having the responsibility for so many things but actually getting involved in helping do them as well.  One area that I get involved in is marketing, and its associated disciplines.  I quite like marketing but as with possibly many other business leaders, I sometimes forget that I am no expert and that professionals can actually do a much better job than me.

As an example, when I first arrived at The Bridge Trust I was horrified at the appalling quality of our 1/4ly Bulletin that we were sending out to our supporters and the public at large, so I completely re-vamped it and if I say so myself, made it 100 times better.  However, a couple of years ago we recruited a graphic designer (Rosie Harris from Girl Friday Graphics) to see what she could do for us and one of the things she did (free of charge I may add), was to turn our Bulletin into something of beauty – well perhaps beauty is going a bit far, but it is so much better than I could have done.

Another part of my job related to marketing the Trust is to do talks and presentations.  I have done maybe 50 plus of these over the years, to all sorts of different groups from primary school classes, 6th form assemblies, church services, cubs, brownies, the Red Cross and all sorts of older people’s groups.  Last month I spoke at a business networking event – Networking Neighs, which is a new one for me and so to change things up a bit, instead of talking about homelessness I spoke about my career journey.  I told of some of the bumps in the road I had to deal with and I hope people got something from this.  Is this “marketing”, well it’s certainly PR and if I can get the name of The Bridge Trust “out there” in any way I can then that must be a good thing. 

I think The Bridge Trust does a great job.  We work hard, do the right things in the right way, do them responsibly (see my previous blog on ethics) and ultimately achieve good outcomes for the vast majority (80%) of our clients, and I want people to know about this.  It’s also true that we couldn’t do what we do without support from our community and we won’t get that if we don’t publicise and promote ourselves through marketing – just like any other business.

In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says not to “hide your light under a bushel [basket].  Instead put it on a stand and let it shine for all”.  In other words tell the world what your faith has done for you and show everyone else what Christianity could do for them.  Wasn’t that a call for marketing (although I’m not sure the disciples put out a press release about it!) 

Everyone in business, no matter what they do, needs to do Marketing and as a charity we are no different.  We do marketing, public relations, press releases and more, and yes it really is worth it – even if it costs us money sometimes for a professional to do it effectively.