25 years in the game

It’s 25 years since Ethos public relations was formed. Here Sean looks back…

Write a blog about Ethos public relations being 25 years old this month, I thought. After 25 years running a PR and communications agency, you’d think that summarising our business ethos and experiences ought to trip off the fingers and into this 400 word blog.

My first instinct – as it probably was after 10 and 20 years in business – was to focus on all the changes that had taken place since we set up. New technology, the decline of print media, the rise of social media and a global pandemic will certainly be a rich seam to explore.

But at the same time, so much is unchanged since we started with a mission to bring professional communications help and advice to smaller businesses, especially those in the charity, co-operative and social enterprise sector.

It’s certainly the case that charities and others have been impacted – positively and negatively – by the changes in the media landscape over 25 years but perhaps it’s the things that haven’t changed (much) that are the most interesting.

The main thing that has stayed constant is the need to tell a story. Case studies, interviews and research are as important now as ever they were.

Another constant is the difficulty – in spite of numerous new media – of finding placements for charity and ‘good news’ stories. To paraphrase the old hacks’ mantra, it’s always seemed sad to me that ‘Man Bites Dog’ is a better story than ‘Man Helps Dog’. News needn’t always be negative. Charities, co-ops and others have so much positive to say – we need a greater willingness for our media to cover it. Couldn’t the world be a better place with more emphasis given over to positivity?

That said, another constant frustration to is the lack of value given to PR and communications by many organisations. How many businesses do you know that don’t keep their websites and social media up to date or don’t reply to contact forms designed for customer interaction? Or don’t use local website and social media accounts to keep their public informed about what they stand for and what they are doing?

I can’t imagine I will be writing another blog like this in 25 years but if I were, I would hope that the PR world has moved on to being more inclusive and positive. Where news means new things that have happened reported in a co-operative and equitable way.