To paraphrase a Greek goddess, Just Do It. Be bold, be brave and be the best you can.
It seems simple, but really it’s all too easy to become paralysed by fear, and for that I blame the media. The Daily Mail and Robert Peston in particular.
To borrow the much used (and I never believe them!) football manager mantra – avoid reading the papers. Or at least turn on your anti-pessimism filter if you want to get ahead.
Sure, the cold winds are once again blowing quite literally and metaphorically through the economy. But there are always reasons to believe, shoots of optimism to be grasped and every situation creates opportunities.
So if you want to make a difference this year, personally and professionally, you’re going to need to show some Olympian spirit by remaining ruthlessly focused and determined to hit your own objectives. And this is where another reason for the nation’s paralysis kicks in.
There’s a lack of clarity and fear of change being shown by so many. The number of senior business people I meet who know there are fundamental issues to solve in their business (communications or otherwise), but are so fearful of making the wrong decision or implementing any changes at all in case they end up turfed out and on the dole queue that they end up doing nothing, worries me.
But then the status quo will always be the easiest option. It’s the comfy armchair in your lounge, your safety blanket. Make no mistake though, when you stand still you’re actually falling behind, because your competitors have been busy identifying the threat and opportunities the current climate offers.
They’ve redeployed staff, upskilled workforces, launched new products that ride the zeitgeist and approached their sector from a new angle to disrupt the market. They have further supported this with the requisite financial spend and investment. They’re looking to come through the other side with a stronger share of a consolidated market when the tide finally turns. And it will.
Not everyone will succeed of course, but those that do stand to move forward and capitalise to the benefit of their business and stakeholders. So be bold, be brave, and be the best you can, because while predictions reign supreme throughout January, and as we approach the end of 2012’s first month this trend appears set to continue, I’m not sure we’ve ever seen such mixed messages before.
The analysis of the Christmas retail trading period alone raised many eyebrows, and before the boffins had finished offering their twopenneth we discovered January’s retail sales had hit a three year low – a mini boom and bust cycle in action.
Looking closer to home the PR sector came under review in the annual heavyweight marketing IPA Bellwether report. In all honesty it’s the same case as with so many integrated marketing meetings, wherein public relations gets the equivalent of a rushed five minutes at the end once the media bods have finished their 800th slide of penetration and reach, it being lumped into the ‘misc’ category.
We therefore must take such analyses with a pinch of salt, but even a committed sceptic can see that with budgets and profitability down for Q4 it doesn’t make pretty reading. Please allow me a moment of navel gazing to end though.
I’m pleased to report that we managed to buck the trend and Q4 was our most successful yet for the business, which saw us finish the year 50% up on 2010, a magnificent achievement and testimony to the sheer hard work and no lack of inspiration from the team. We intend to make 2012 an even better one, and for us that doesn’t just mean hard work. It’s also about focusing on the positives and not getting hung up on the negatives, seeking out opportunities and offering insightful, exciting communications solutions.
I for one can’t wait to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in!
PS- It would be remiss of me not to mention the recent return of the acclaimed BBC re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes, to which our business as well as this e-newsletter owe their name. For fans currently missing the clever drama, check out John’s infamous blog http://johnwatsonblog.co.uk/ – I really don’t know how he has time to keep it up to date alongside his Case Notes for Smoking Gun…