Producing a risk assessment report and PR

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“A God-almighty gasp followed by a reverberation of unbelieveableness swept through the thousands…….


……gathered to witness the execution in 1649, and reverberated throughout the land.”

Have you got over the Brexit vote yet?

It seems a frightening analogy but I think John Bird, writing in The Big Issue was right when he said:

“Other than the above, I cannot think of a moment in history that equalled the feeling of Friday, June 24th when the UK woke up being out of Europe.”

He explains that going to war is a different set of circumstances;  the Brexit vote and executing the king, James 1st, are both acts that stunned the nation.

John also observes that the monarchy was restored not that long afterwards and Cromwell dug up from his grave for his body to be hung, drawn and quartered…

So, I know this will seem like dreadful bathos, but I’d like to pose two questions:

  • Who has emerged well from the whole Brexit debacle?
  • What lessons can other organisations learn from it?

Clear and calm response

In my opinion, the person whose calm delivery and clear presentation meant he emerged extremely well in the immediate turmoil of the Brexit vote was Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England.

Mark Carney Governor of the Bank of EnglandHe seemed calm and in control, working from a plan which had obviously been laid out in advance.

Of course he has a pretty important job, so he ought to have been prepared…

But you could say the same of the leaders of our government, of all sides, they all have (or had) very important jobs and I got the impression that none of them, apart from Mark Carney and the Bank of England, had made any long term preparations for both potential outcomes of the vote.

So what are the lessons to be learnt?

  • Being prepared is vital
  • Have a risk register in place

Every organisation should have a risk register in place.  It can be divided into any number of headings, to reflect the individual nature of your business, but a few common categories might be:

Risk analysis headings

  • A description of the risk
  • The impact of the risk
  • The likelihood of that risk happening
  • Mitigating it from happening (who + how)
  • Dealing with it if it does happen (who + how)

Identifying risks

Identifying the risk (“description of the risk”) is very individual to your organisation.  A manufacturing plant and a university, both types of organisations Twelve works for, have very different risks but some common ground too – every organisation has staff for example….Risks should be grouped by type or source, and be clearly, succinctly defined.

In every case, the process of completing a risk analysis must include considering the worst that can happen from an accident, to a product recall, even those “black swan” events that come from nowhere. A look at the news just this week provides a few awful examples –  part of a building collapses causing fatalities at a place of work; a shooting takes place; a train crashes…

Horizon scanning for external events should be part of this. For many organisations the EU Referendum should have been listed as a risk, with the specific potential impact that it might have on the organisation identified, along with a course of action to begin dealing with it.

The role of PR

This is where PR should be involved.  Much of managing a crisis and how well you or your organisation will come out of it depends on how you communicate immediately during and after any crisis.

Recent events give us many examples of this, from the extreme such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which created headlines such as “Chief executive Tony Hayward’s comments have done little to aid attempts at damage limitation” to the more domestic Talk Talk database hacking scandal  discussed in an earlier blog post.

The most important moment is the ‘golden hour’ immediately after an incident has happened, or immediately after the media have got wind of the incident, which is exactly when, without a plan, you could be caught on the hop.

The “golden hour”

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you have an agreed “triage” process for deciding who should be involved and notified internally?
  • Do you know who would be your spokesperson immediately following an incident?
  • Have you prepared your spokesperson to deal with the media, and is there a team who will cover all the different aspects of it, such as someone to tackle a potential “digital wildfire?”

This sort of information should be included on your risk analysis under the heading “dealing with it if it does happen.”

Creating an opportunity

In the best case scenario, you can turn a ‘crisis’ into an opportunity.  Here is a very recent example.  Foreign workers form a vital part of your workforce.  They are worried about Brexit and think their jobs are at risk.  You communicate to them all, explaining the position of the business and your plans for the future in light of the vote, and reassure foreign staff that their jobs are secure.

With some slight re-engineering this same communication becomes a press statement to distribute to your trade titles. Because it is timely and interesting, the statement secures a feature in your key trade publication.

The article demonstrates how you have planned for any change and taken steps to ensure a confident future for your business and its staff and customers; its adds to your businesses reputation and ultimately helps to secure some new business…


Don’t wait until an incident happens to discover how your organisation will react.  With experience and imagination, you can envisage most potential risk scenarios. Be prepared and complete a risk analysis.

And if you feel your neck could be on the line when it comes to handling a crisis, and you would like some professional help in populating a risk analysis or preparing your PR plans, please get in touch.  01608 495012


Staying sharp in 2016

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If you want to get fit in January, read on.

If you’re fed up with people talking about getting fit in January, read on.

If you’re keen to work with sharp-minded people read on.

Basically this is a blog post for everyone.

So, if you want to get fit in January I would like to refer you directly to an article from our local out-post of that glorious club for celebs and media types, Soho Farmhouse.

The blog post is reproduced below, it’s all about exercises you can do at your desk, written by Paul Vincent co-founder of Altus Health, and reproduced with grateful thanks from the members newsletter.

Hip Flexor stretch

Shift to one side of your chair and tuck one of your legs behind you. This will lengthen your hip-flexors, for more of a stretch, push your heel to the ground. Hold this for a few minutes then switch back and forth between each leg.

Glute stretch

Cross one ankle over the other knee. The knee should not stick up but fall flat inline with the other leg. Hold this position for at least five minutes to really feel the stretch.

Shift positions

The simple act of shifting positions regularly makes a massive difference in preventing bad posture. Set an alarm that reminds you every hour to shift position.

Glute activations

Scoot to the end of your chair and start to stand up using one leg. You don’t actually have to leave your chair just the act of initiating will cause your muscles to contract and stay healthy.

Glute medius

If you want to get really fancy you can wrap a resistance band around your thighs and use it to do seated clams, which will help strengthen your gluten medius.

Lay prone on the floor

This is one of my favorite ones because you are in a back extension, which is an opposite position to what we are normally in. Lay face down on the floor with your computer in front of you, prop yourself up on your elbows and relax your back and shoulders. This one will definitely result in some odd looks from colleagues! Get them to join you or sneak off to a private office.

Standing quad stretch

Put your foot up against the wall behind you so your knee is bent and you feel a stretch in the front of your leg, switch between each leg every few minutes.

Tricep dips

You can always sneak in a few triceps dips on your lunch break. Face away from the edge, lean on the desk with your hands behind you, fingertips facing forward and slowly lower your body down towards the ground. Always check the surface is strong enough to hold your body weight before you do this.

Single leg balance

This is a good one to do when you are on a phone call. Simply stand on one leg and attempt to keep you balance. This will light up the nerve receptor communication throughout your body and your brain.

 On the other hand…

… if you’re looking for a more relaxed approach to January then I refer you to Digg which is another resource enjoyed by media types, but a little less salubrious.

“Digg delivers the most interesting and talked about stories on the Internet right now…. Digg does curation”

Here’s a link straight to the article ‘Why dry January is the worst curated by Digg from ‘First We Feast’.

And finally…

Wanting to work with sharp-minded people.

Well I hoped, by using the ‘show-don’t-tell- approach’ in this blog, you would see that here at Twelve we are people with a sharp sense of humour, access to all the latest resources you need in the fast moving media world, and well connected too.

Happy New Year!

You’d be nuts not to!

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You are an amazing person.  You are so special your own name is actually on everyday household products.





You are incredibly important to me. You’re so important to me that I have taken the trouble to put your name on a gift I am giving you.

Personalisation is an amazingly powerful proposition.  No wonder it has become a huge trend this year.

The pulling power of personalisation in marketing has been doing personalisation for years, but it wasn’t until Coca Cola started its #ShareaCoke campaign last year that brand owners really woke up to the power of personalised marketing.

Now, in the UK, Marmite and Nutella have just launched personalised labels and the whole thing has gone nuts (sorry, it just had to be done.)

What’s interesting from a marketing perspective is how the different brands are applying personalisation in the market place, and the lessons we can learn from them.

The way Coca Cola has made its personalisation work for the brand is the stuff of legend, and the best place to read the detail is on its own website

Here are highlights from  Share a Coke 2014 by numbers”

  • Over a thousand names on our bottles
  • 998 million impressions on Twitter
  • 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag
  • More than 150 million personalised bottles sold
  • Over 730,000 glass bottles personalised via the e-commerce store
  • 17,000 virtual name bottles shared online across Europe
  • 65 experiential stops on the Share a Coke tour

Building sales

The end game of any marketing campaign is sales. Building awareness, personality, relationships, engagement, reputation – all are steps on the road to sales.

My favourite two ‘killer stats’ about this journey are from

  • 24% I am more likely to buy from a company after ‘Liking’ them on Facebook.
  • 32% I am more likely to buy from a company after following them on Facebook.

How do these statistics have a bearing on personalisation?  Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 13.40.21Well with Marmite, to get your personalised jar you have to go to Facebook and buy a jar there, which is sent to you.

To get your Nutella label you have to go to a shop, buy a jar of Nutella, get hold of a code on the label, enter the code online, wait for the label to arrive in the post, and then stick it on the jar you bought earlier.

I researched  both these routes on Google, and  I found out about the concept by seeing a post in my Facebook timeline about Nutella and thought “hmm, I wonder if Marmite do that too…” I’ve bought my personalised jar of marmite already, and I’ll buy a jar of Nutella at lunch, if they have it in my local supermarket.

Understanding the customer journey

I have just described my simple-to-follow customer journey –  it’s easy to see the touch points and communication channels involved.

So here are five tops to summarise the learning:

Five top tips to take away

  • There is hashtag heaven and hell. Heaven is #‎LoveItHateItNameIt. Hell is #Suesanalbumparty.  Find the right hashtag for your campaign, it will work wonders for you.
  • Make your campaign true to your brand identity and to your overall campaign. Like #ShareaCoke and the story of sharing the love around, it gives a warm, fuzzy feeling evoking those vintage coke ad campaigns.
  • Make every single one of your customer touch points work together: Facebook, Twitter, point of sales – the sum really is bigger than the parts.
  • Decide on your objective before finalising your mechanic – are you trying to woo merchandisers and secure shelf space and customers in store? Or do you want online sales and customer database building?
  • And saving the most important point for last: would people like a personalised version of what you sell? Could you even get a name on there?


December 2015