Yorkshire IoD is the premier lobbying business organisation in the region. The body’s key aims are to educate and lobby key decision makers. Members had made it clear they wanted open clear debate with excellent networking opportunities with fellow directors to build business.
Recognising that access to finance is a key barrier to growth for many in the region the West Yorkshire branch invited Stephen Hester, then Chief Executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, to speak to members. Carmel Harrison PR was called in to take full responsibility for Public Relations.
Complications arose because the guest speaker – a highly prized target for the media – was secured for the engagement on the very same day that it was announced that he would be resigning by the end of the year. He also made it clear he would not do press interviews, yet the local MP was keen for profile and the press wanted to attend.
At the same time a guest made it clear he wanted to draw attention to his own case and came armed – in more ways than one.
The challenge was to keep the press onside to interview the local MP while shielding the guest speaker from media contact.
Carmel Harrison PR negotiated networking access for the media to talk to the speaker informally, while giving IoD members the chance to talk to him and fellow guests. Carmel Harrison PR also set up press interviews for the MP.
An added bonus was a guest who came along with a specific case for RBS. Arriving with a size 10 boot, his chances to disrupt the meeting were mitigated by Carmel Harrison PR who still ensured he got access to Mr Hester and the media.
Both remits for exposure and no interviews were fulfilled and there was widespread coverage for the client in regional and national media.