Professional PR is at a premium

Guest blog by CIPR President Elect Mandy Pearse

The need for a professional PR has never been greater as we face the challenges of COVID-19. No matter which sector we work in the communications challenges have and will be great.

The initial stages of lockdown provided the opportunity for PR professionals to guide their organisations as they sought to rapidly move employees to working from home on a scale we have never seen before. For those still working the challenge has been to ensure that all employees understand the requirements for safe working. And alongside this internal communicators have had to develop with ICT colleagues new solutions for meeting via video conference and keeping a sense of organisational unity through closed social platforms.

The external challenge has been no less. Government PR teams have been working flat out to provide clear, consistent messaging at a UK wide level to ensure citizens know what is require. Local service providers in NHS, local government, care and transport have been working to communicate what services are available to support people, how to access them and organise local community responses.

For those PR freelancers and agencies working to help communicate their clients’ response to COVID-19 whether that be to reconfigure services to online alternatives or to explain that services will be halted until further notice it has been critical to ensure the reputation of their clients is managed through a professional PR response.

The contribution that professional communicators make to their organisations and clients has never been more recognised than now.

And for those who work freelance or in agencies where work has been hugely disrupted I say now is the time to stay strong. Your professional skills will be in demand again soon. If you can take the opportunity to access the CIPR’s free webinars and resources and consider if you can invest a small amount in developing your skills through virtual training.

We are starting to look to the world beyond lockdown and I have no doubt that PR professionals will have a key role in helping us all understand what the new normal will look like.

Get ready to move forward

Guest blog written by Trudy Lewis, communications consultant and executive coach, CIPR Board member and one of the speakers lined up for CIPR East Anglia’s postponed 2020 Best PRactice Conference. Now, she writes, is a good time for communications professionals to look forward and focus on what’s to come and what shape it might take.

In this time, one of the things that heavily stands out for me is the fact that this crisis we’re in will be over one day. The challenges to stay at home and concerns for loved ones and finances are at the forefront of our minds. It’s also been hard for those who have lost loved ones, and in some cases, it’s been overwhelming, but we will get through this and life will go on even if it might be wildly different.

Despite this, I can’t seem to shake the sense that we have to look forward – and we need to start doing that now (if we can). This might start with a quick review of how well we managed communications through the crisis. But the focus will be on what’s to come and what shape the future will take for our industry and how we support organisations.

Many in our industry have worked incredibly hard to support organisations with PR and communications to ensure employees and stakeholders continue to be engaged. Not an easy thing when, for many, no crisis plans were in place and very few expected to have to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. Practitioners are to be applauded for their hard work and resilience, stepping up to get the job done, and I’m sure, or hope, that it has been appreciated by the leaders of these organisations.

There are a few things to think about as we prepare for when the immediate crisis is over and we have to get back to a sort of ‘normal’. The strain on our economy and the response that many companies have had to take will most likely result in extreme change. And this is what we will have to manage for quite a while. For some companies this will mean becoming more efficient and innovative, while others it will adapt services, make changes to staffing and take flexibility to higher levels as they fully utilise technology.

As we support organisations with these changes, getting communications right will be critical to maintain the reputation of the organisation or leadership both internally and externally. Here are a few things to consider that we as communicators will no doubt need to drive in the months to come.

  • Work in partnership and develop relationships: Always aim to work closely with other key departments. This means building relationships and supporting HR, IT and key members of the senior leadership team. Make it clear that you are committed to collaborate to engage employees effectively.
  • Listen: Develop your listening skills as an approach to engage with leaders to fully understand the challenges faced so you can support them effectively. This along with good questioning will give your leaders confidence to engage with you for advice and guidance.
  • Develop business acumen: This is especially needed at this time, gain an understanding of the industry and economic issues being faced by the organisation and your leaders. It will help to position you as a knowledgeable and trusted adviser.

It’s important to remember that we are a time when internal and external communications have converged and in so many ways. Messages, especially to employees, should always be shared internally first. The worse thing would be to damage internal reputation and trust by not being mindful that news about changes should be shared with those impacted before it appears in a press release. Now more than ever I believe the communications we develop needs to be clear, honest and considerate of its audience.

So, despite the challenge of this time, I hope you will take a bit of time to think beyond this moment and prepare yourself by looking after your well-being and positioning yourself for change.

Remote Networking: Relationship Building In the Time of Coronavirus

Guest blog written by Raheela Rehman – Chair of Cambridge Association for Women in Science and Engineering

For some, the social interaction of networking is an opportunity to thrive, but for others it is akin to an annual dental check-up. Regardless of your profession, industry or background, the power of professional networking on your career cannot be overstated. It is a necessity in your success for more business opportunities, broader knowledge, interdisciplinary collaborations, increased capacity for innovation, improved employment perspectives and essential for career development and progression.

Networks exist everywhere, from formal workplaces to informal meetings e.g. gym classes. The good news is that anyone can create a network. The current coronavirus pandemic has meant face-to-face industry networking events and conferences are for the time being on hold. This increases creative ways of connecting and developing new relationships online. For those who were already working from home, the landscape too has changed. The chance to pop into the office, if you have one, for a face-to-face meeting or grab a coffee with your connection at the newly opened swanky café, at the moment is not an option.

Remote networking has all the rules of traditional networking in-person. In the same way, show generosity and extend yourself to help others before asking for support yourself.

1. (Re)connect

Now is a time to reconnect and touch base with existing contacts. These include former work colleagues, dormant contacts, those from your alma maters and previous club memberships. For many, it is a welcome interaction and a break away from their daily routine. Your shared history is a great starting point to build on your relationships, both personal and professional.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn provides numerous groups for various job fields, locations and personal interests. Join relevant groups and participate in forums and discussions. Through regular interaction you will find your natural new connections.

3. Ramp up visibility

Build your visibility to maintain your existing networks and to reach out to new potential connections. Are members of your online networks facing a challenge – explore how you can share your expertise. This too should come from a place genuinely wishing to help, not from that which you only take away.

One of the risks of working from home is the reduced contact with colleagues and becoming invisible to your team. Generate your own “photocopier” moments, where you informally catch up (I don’t have a water-cooler…), share your day, personal experiences or create an informal team online platform thread where you can celebrate birthdays, post photos of pets or your hobby.

Why not increase your visibility and write a blog for CamAWiSE or share your profile in our “Women in STEMM series” – email Rukshana Jaman (CamAWiSE Coordinator,

4. Be intentional

It can be easy to let building relationships fall by the wayside, when working from home, juggling additional responsibilities and settling into a new routine. Networking requires a proactive approach. Be intentional in supporting activities you believe in. Interact by email, social media, webinars, online group chats or whichever technology feels most comfortable to you. It is worth noting the old adage of quality over quantity, intentional connections will be deeper.

5. Diversify your network

We are creatures of habit and tend to stick with familiarity. The benefit of a broader network of knowledgeable connections, varying backgrounds, different sectors outweigh the awkwardness of taking that first step. Reflect on your current network and get out of your comfort zone.


To build and maintain your network, nurture relationships and effectively follow-up, as it is an ongoing process. While we work from home in these times, an open mind and positive outlook can be a catalyst in developing relationships. It lays the foundation for future growth for when the pandemic comes to an end, and with people you may do business within the future.

Coronavirus: How can you best work remotely?


Ahead of any potential coronavirus outbreak restrictions, many organisations are making contingency plans to encourage staff to work from home. Thousands of people already do this on a regular or occasional basis, but what if it’s something you have never done before?

Nic Wray – who has worked remotely for the charity the British Tinnitus Association for the last five years – gives her top tips for not just surviving, but thriving if you unexpectedly get thrust into this situation.

  1. Get organised

Now is probably a good time to make sure that you have all that you need to be able to work from home – a laptop might only be the start of it. What about printing? Access to shared files? What’s your WiFi router password?

A separate workspace is going to be more important too, so that you can easily start – and end – your day. Don’t under-estimate the power of closing a door on your work. A discrete space with a desk and office chair, if you can manage it, will also be better for you – dining chairs or sofas are great for the odd day, but will get uncomfortable for longer periods.


  1. Set realistic goals

A lot of people say “I get so much more done when I work from home” and that may well be the case for you. But be realistic with what you can achieve. You don’t have to demonstrate you’re superhuman, churning out work non-stop, to prove yourself just because you’re out of sight.

Make sure your goals are clear and devise a plan to achieve them, but follow the tempo of your office-based work where you can.

  1. Respect your work/life balance

It can be really difficult when working from home to switch off, especially if your laptop and phone are always on hand. This for me is a harder problem than ignoring other distractions, such as the lure of daytime TV, loading the dishwasher or making endless cups of tea. Try to stick to your usual office start and finish times and take a proper break in the middle of the day. A 20 minute breathing space on the sofa feels luxurious and you can return to work cheerfully.


  1. Look after your well-being

As well as making sure your work space is comfortable, make sure you’re looking after your mental and physical wellbeing. Unless you are having to self-isolate, get out of the house every day – in daylight – even if it’s just a walk around the block. Working from home is a great opportunity to have something other than a sandwich for lunch, too.

One of the drawbacks of working from home is the lack of opportunity to have a bit of social chitchat or support from colleagues. The little things really do mean a lot – the offer of tea, a shared smile when a task is signed off, even the accountant’s bad jokes. If you can, make sure you have more interaction with friends and family, or find a local meet up. If social time is restricted due to quarantine or self-isolation, make sure you spend at least a little time every day doing something you love (that’s not your job).

  1. Communicate

Set expectations now for how to communicate, and when you check in with your team and line managers. There’s no hard and fast rules here, it’s working out what feels comfortable and realistic.

Although I use email a lot, as does everyone, I probably use the phone more than when I was office based – it helps keep the feeling of connection with the team, but it also helps with my mental well-being too.

And finally, one top tip from my friend Liz Dexter of LibroEditing, who also works from home gave me when I started working remotely – wash up and reuse your mug! Do not use all the mugs in the house…

What would be your top tips for a new homeworker? Have you got any advice to become more effective when working remotely?


For more information on handling communication around coronavirus in your organisation, see the Local Public Services Communications advice here and check out Stephen Waddington’s latest blog on Influence.

Photo by Agnieszka Boeske  and Madison Nickel on Unsplash

How to make Twitter rows a storm in a teacup

It seems somewhat ironic that one of the very staples of British civility and relaxation is generating so much, well, hot water.

Less than six weeks ago, the dubiously-named Blue Monday was turned into ‘Brew Monday’ to encourage people to reach out to one another over a nice cuppa. In an era of adversarial discourse, where it’s getting increasingly difficult to truly talk, tea was bringing the nation back together.

Little did we know, however, that tea itself was about to be cancelled.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (and MP for Richmond, North Yorkshire) tweeted a photo of himself holding a large sack of Yorkshire Tea and Twitter, somewhat predictably, went berserk.

Any of us who’ve ever worked in a press office would have felt an instant pain of solidarity for the Yorkshire Tea social media team: like their teabags, thrust into an boiling environment and forced to stew in it while feeling the energy slowly sap out of you.

Fortunately for Yorkshire Tea, and for everyone with common sense everywhere, their social media team have pitched their response perfectly – owning the narrative with confidence, charm and class.

Here’s a four-point plan of how to deal with a social media crisis, Yorkshire Tea-style:

1. Don’t be paralysed by fear. Look at the amount of tweets and replies Yorkshire Tea have sent since this ‘scandal’ began. They quickly addressed accusations of paid product placement and political bias, and efficiently shut down the criticisms at source.

2. Remain on-brand. Yorkshire Tea have built up a large and engaged Twitter audience, largely due to their colloquial, humorous and irreverent tone of voice. Many companies have reverted to an overly-corporate rebuttal in a time of crisis; Yorkshire Tea recognised the value of brand consistency, kept calm and carried on.

3. Be human. Despite rumours to the contrary, not ALL Twitter accounts are run by bots. No, honestly. By acknowledging the fact that their platform is run by real people with feelings, Yorkshire Tea have allowed users to empathise with them in a really genuine, relatable manner. As they themselves tweeted: “for anyone about to vent their rage online, even to a company – please remember there’s a human on the other end of it, and try to be kind.”

4. Remember you can’t please everyone. The infamous “Sue, you’re shouting at tea” has generated mixed feelings, and it’s easy to see both sides. While the vitriol that ‘Sue’ has received in the aftermath of this tweet is completely unacceptable, Yorkshire Tea can’t be held responsible for defending their position and humorously trivialising the subject matter. If everyone remembered to #BeKind, as they suggested in the very same tweet, then this would have all been a storm in a teacup (sorry).

James Hyde

Why get Chartered?

By Liz Fullick, Chart.PR MCIPR

I’m frequently asked if it’s worth doing the assessment to achieve Chartered status, to which I always answer yes. The supplementary question is inevitably about how difficult it is, which is predominantly what I want to tackle here.

It’s robust, rigorous and challenging, which is one of the many reasons it’s worth doing, and probably the main reason people are put off.

The CIPR describes Chartership as the highest level of professional accreditation it can confer on practitioners who meet the ‘required standard of professional distinction’.

Distinction and excellence is what it’s all about. As PR professionals we should be prepared to give our best at all times, and being chartered is one of the ways we can help demonstrate that.

It’s right to feel a degree of nervousness and trepidation. At the assessment you stand before your peers and demonstrate your integrity, leadership, and strategic understanding, in a friendly and relatively informal setting. But it’s not an exam – it’s evidence of you in context, your moral compass, how you practice, what you bring to the table.

Being assessed by peers for me is the most valuable part of the exercise, and the most daunting. Validation from those we admire and respect is much worthier than any sort of laurel from those without understanding of our roles and challenges.

This is an opportunity for self-reflection, on the day and generally. The assessment judges us on ethics, leadership and strategy, the dilemmas they present and how we approach them. Just as in our day jobs we get out as much as we put in, so too with the assessment. We should always be prepared to share our views, to discuss and at times to challenge, whether at work, in network meetings or being assessed for Chartership. One of the great things about the day is getting to hear from peers working in other sectors and industries, their experiences and ideas.

Therefore, it is right that the assessment is rigorous and you should be nervous going into it, because I am assuming you take your role seriously, give your best self with professionalism and integrity and taking an easy option would not be in your DNA. You’re a member of the CIPR and you’ve completed at least the minimum number of annual CPD cycles, which I feel is already evidence of self-reflection and development,
and therefore puts you well on your way to Chartership.

The formal assessment ends with a peer review of a two-year CPD plan, which though not formally assessed, is a crucial make or break element and two of your fellow practitioners will have to sign it and commit you to it.

You find out on the day if you’ve made the grade. Then you can wear it as a badge of honour to demonstrate you’ve attained a gold standard within your industry, and that you’re prepared to maintain that in your everyday practice. It is not a hurdle to overcome and forget about, but then we’ve already established that you are a thinker and someone for whom self and career development are important.

Is it difficult? Yes, but well worth the effort. It’s a benchmark that will help reassure employers that you practice to the highest standards, and will help enhance your career prospects as you progress. I wholeheartedly recommend you go for it. Good luck!

Got questions? Want to hear from two other Chartered PR Practitioners in East Anglia? Join this free webinar on 10 March.

CPD: invest in yourself

Written by Comms Lead, Rose Ling.

“I’ve completed my CPD for the year!” I exclaimed to my colleagues, only a few months after the annual process had started. As I told more people at local CIPR events, I was always greeted with the same remark: “How have you managed to complete the 60 points already?!”

I believe this is really helped because of where I work. I’m lucky enough to be part of a well-known PR agency in Suffolk, where our individual CPD is at the heart of the culture, and an internal training programme is run to complement our individual learning.

As CIPR members, we know that the continued professional development (CPD) programme is a core expectation for all PR professionals, and that CPD must be completed each year to keep your accredited status.

Many leading membership organisations have a CPD within their field, and the CIPR has one as a key route to professionalism. From my few years of involvement, it strongly shows proactivity in keeping up to date in an industry that never stands still, and this continued learning benefits not just you personally and professionally, but also your company, colleagues and our wider profession.

There are ten ways I feel I benefit from completing CPD each year and why everyone should consider becoming accredited:

  • Status – being an Accredited PR professional
  • Individual learning
  • Continually develop skills
  • More knowledge
  • Team development
  • Benefits clients – ideas and solutions
  • Benefits my future career
  • Motivating for my professional and personal development
  • Interested and interesting learning materials
  • Self-satisfaction and high achievement

All of these fit into my idea of professionalism and why completing CPD is so important to me, in and out of work.

Personally it is a great achievement to have and the learning materials are interesting and easy to digest. I am always curious and there is always so much everyone can learn. To not want to learn new skills means you stand still, you never open your mind. That keeps me motivated and shows my network and peers that I am keen to learn.

CPD not only benefits my personal development – with a massive back catalogue of webinars, white papers, podcasts and more, at my disposal so I am always learning – but it benefits the company I work for and my clients.

Professionally it highlights that you know what is happening around you. You are taken more seriously and you are able to better serve your clients with your continued knowledge.

Our profession never stands still, so it’s vital you don’t miss out. You are able to stay on top of the changing industry CPD puts me in the driving seat of my career. It maps my journey and gives me the knowledge and skills I need to progress.

As the time to complete this year’s CPD draws closer, (29th February) I hope that that I’ve interested/reminded some of you to put in the time and invest in yourself.

Value and support: this is YOUR CIPR East Anglia


“Build it and they will come”

Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams (1989)

So, here we are – 2020. Time for a bit of reflection and congratulations, I feel.

Our voluntary East Anglian committee has been continuously evolving, with a few great champions of comms in the region stepping down after many years of service (you know who you are!), some moving back to have babies, and new faces stepping forward to pick up the mantle.

We all have day jobs, and – like most of you reading this – understand the stresses that our line of work sometimes entails.

Therefore, a huge well done to everyone involved in helping the committee organise and attend events such as the regional PRide Awards, the first Norwich Best PRactice Conference, and the dozens of other meetups and learning opportunities throughout 2019.

And to EVERYONE who attended these events, thanks for your input, engagement across last year.

Examples of some of the CIPR East Anglia activities in 2019 include:

We’re a committee of volunteers who are here to facilitate things that you’d like to see in the region:

  • More regional peer meet-ups in pubs after work? Great.
  • Want a business breakfast on a particular subject? Let us know.
  • More on the role of SEO in comms? We’re here to help.

Perhaps you have knowledge you could share, and want practice presenting to an audience. Get in touch – we can help you make it happen.

We also know and appreciate how spread-out CIPR members are across our region, so are looking at ways that we can connect with comms colleagues in different ways – including webinars, podcasts and other online materials.

Please feel free to get in touch with any of us on the committee via social (LinkedIn & Twitter) or on email here.

Keep your eyes peeled for more events coming soon, and save the date for the regional Best PRactice conference coming on Thursday 14 May. More details soon.

Bye for now!

Adam (@adamdriver85)

What happens when you get comms pros and project managers in a room to talk about change?

By Becky Hall | Chair of CIPR East Anglia | @beckyhall210

One in three projects do not achieve the intended goals (PMI).

If comms pros and project managers, with their qualifications, charterships and experience, know the principles of making change stick in organisations, why do so many change initiatives fail? It was a recurring question at an event in Cambridge this week led by CIPR East Anglia and the APM‘s East of England branch about delivering effective change through great engagement.

After thought-provoking presentations from CIPR Chartered Practitioner Jo Twiselton and the APM’s Kevin Brown, we all sat in small groups for some lively group therapy discussion about ‘doing change right’. It was clear from the off that there was heaps of knowledge and experience in the room. We were in broad agreement that the organisation – not the project team or comms professional – needs to genuinely feel accountable for making the change stick. Otherwise the change (eg new IT system, new process, new organisational structure, new organisational values) will be delivered but the business outcomes everyone wanted (eg efficiency, happier employees, better customer experience) will not.

Some great points were made about things that should always be done from an engagement perspective:

  1. Listening, empathy and co-creation – emotional intelligence and bringing people along on the journey is super important. Jo presented these points to the whole group at the start of the session and emphasised how – while they seem like obvious things to do – they are often totally overlooked. Lots of nodding heads in the room!
  2. Ask the difficult question(s) and don’t accept rubbish answers without challenging a bit firstPMs and comms people should ask ‘but why this and why now?’ more, and with more conviction, having each other’s backs as we do this. I’ve myself picked up comms for projects where the business lead is too busy or is just entirely uninterested, and sometimes a difficult conversation is necessary, or the organisation wastes time, money and morale.
  3. Stop things at the gates if necessary – Comms pros could get leaders’/clients’ understanding and support for the things that we know change initiatives and projects need to have or be in order to not be a total car crash. If the project is already set up to fail, should we more boldly say this to our leaders and explain there are other business priorities that need communications support where our expertise would make a bigger difference for the organisation?
  4. Do away with rose tintsHonest conversations and reports about progress, warts and all, and measuring success against business outcomes rather than activity is an absolute must. If Project Managers are under pressure to fill their highlight reports with lovely green RAG statuses, or communications people are only judged on how many people have received their newsletters, organisations lose sight of the purpose of the change. Over time, trust erodes between the project team and leaders. Leaders feel foolish for over-promising and project teams don’t feel listened to.

It was also acknowledged that there is a lot outside of a communications professional’s control that influences the success/failure of change initiatives. Suggestions included:

  • Leaders should have a checklist to run through before work is funded, project team is assembled and an excited email goes out from the leadership team. Is there an influential sponsor who genuinely gives a cr*p about making this happen?! Is the change a priority and are we prepared to stop other things to get this done properly?
  • Organisations need to be prepared to change course if information (closure reports, feedback surveys, assessments of sponsors) reveals it’s needed. This may involve some difficult decisions and conversations – eg if a project just needs to be put on hold or a different sponsor is required) – but organisations must be bold and not continue just because changing direction is too hard.

With all that knowledge and understanding of change in the room, why – we all were discussing at the end of the session – do so many change initiatives fail? Someone mused it’s because people are unpredictable and change needs people’s support to be successful. 

I came away wondering if it’s because the facts we hear about all the time – eg one in three projects do not achieve the intended goals – are based on statistics that include projects that should never have been started in the first place. If the stats filtered out the projects that didn’t have an engaged and effective sponsor, or that the organisation simply wasn’t ready for yet, would the statistics be more cheering?

What do you think?

Watch out for details about the next CIPR East Anglia and APM event in Spring 2020.

Ten reasons to choose an agency outside London

By Rachel Cass, senior account manager, Genesis PR.

It’s easy to get distracted by the ‘London factor’ when choosing an agency but the truth is, there are top PR consultancies based outside London across the country. Thanks to technology, clients can connect wherever they are, and location is not an issue when selecting an agency.

So, why are companies from FTSE 100 to SMEs choosing PR agencies based outside the big cities? Here is the rundown:

1 It’s a small world

General advances in technology e.g. skype, enable people to connect from anywhere in the world, while the rise of flexible working means many PR professionals are equipped to work remotely, providing the additional benefit of a highly responsive service.

2 Back to the roots

Consumers are demanding more personal connections to brands and businesses which has seen a rise in grassroots PR. Regional agency teams tend to live in local communities and so understand the area and local issues. Regional agencies are also experts in regional, local and hyper local media and often specialists in creating campaigns which relate to a variety of different audiences.

3 Nimble agencies

The nature and make up of regional agencies mean they are often more agile and responsive – an essential skill in today’s 24/7 media environment – and can adapt more quickly to clients’ changing needs.

4 The A-team

Regional agencies tend to put a more hands-on, senior team members on client accounts. With larger agencies, the pitch may be done by a director, but more junior employees often carry out the day to day work.

5 Personal service

Staff turnover rates are lower at regional agencies so the account team you sign up to is less likely to change. Building trusted relationships is an essential ingredient of successful PR – both with clients and media – and these can only be built over time. Longer standing partnerships ensure the needs of clients are fully understood and the best outcomes delivered.

6 Value for money

Lower overheads mean lower costs, so you avoid the London premium and get better value for money.

7 Size doesn’t matter

Regional agencies get things done! They are not part of a big machine and have fewer levels and layers, so can work faster and smarter.

8 Working hard

Regional agencies have a point to prove and as a result, often work harder to show they can more than contend with city agencies, again, providing better value for money.

9 Talent pools

Talent and creativity exist around the UK, not just in the cities. Exceptional agencies across the country are attracting top PR professionals who don’t want the London commute and are helping to grow creative hubs outside of the major cities. Outstanding talent can be found in many locations such as Suffolk which offers a highly attractive alternative. More and more universities are also offering PR and creative degrees, meaning that expertise is developing across the country.

10 Multi-skilled

Professionals at regional agencies are often required to master a wider range of skills whereas larger agencies tend to have dedicated employees working on specific aspects of PR. Whilst this offers honed expertise it can lead to a disjointed approach which impacts on results.

At the end of the day, choosing an agency should be based on how well the team understands a client’s needs and its ability to deliver campaigns that strike a chord with your audience, not location.