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We don’t like to boast here at 8020 Communications – well, perhaps a little – but winning an award is always very satisfying.
Picking up the prestigious 2020 ‘Long Running and Retained PR Account’ award from the marketing and media gurus at The Drum, for our 15-year relationship with private jet operator Luxaviation UK, is certainly deserved recognition for our inventive and tireless team.
What’s even more important to us, though, is to continue our great work not just with Luxaviation UK but with all our clients. So we’ve been analysing what we do, and here are six of our conclusions, each point a key element in building a successful and sustained agency/client partnership:
- Make sure the client gains real-world benefits. There’s no value in PR for PR’s sake. However popular, far-reaching, informed, authoritative, eye-catching, ingenious or even iconic, there’s no such thing as good long-term PR that doesn’t actually lead to better results for the client. Since we’ve been working with Luxaviation UK, the company’s turnover has grown by 208% and fleet size by 67% (up to 25 aircraft).
- Understand the client’s unique goals. You can’t measure success without an objective. When we began working with Luxaviation UK, we were told the company was struggling to raise investment for new aircraft because of a low profile outside the industry. Our mission was clear (and soon achieved).
- Be flexible. The client’s objectives are likely to change over a long relationship, as will the marketplace, which means an agency’s tactics and targets will need to change too. Since our launch brief to secure coverage in media from national newspapers to the financial press and luxury lifestyle magazines, we’ve also turned our attention to trade media with dozens of thought leadership and opinion articles published since 2006. Through highly targeted campaigns, we’ve helped Luxaviation UK win clients from corporate charter customers to high-net-worth individuals (and HNWIs are notoriously difficult to reach and influence), as well as one of the most prestigious public sector contracts possible. And lately our work has included maintaining customer recognition and trust in the business after Luxaviation UK’s 2017 rebrand (from London Executive Aviation).
- Keep your friends close. It really does go a long way, for a long time, if you and your clients like each other and talk often. You’ll build invaluable respect. As Luxaviation UK’s Patrick Margetson-Rushmore says: “It was very easy for us to develop a mutual trust early on and we have never felt the need to change firms. I have no doubt in my mind that everyone at 8020 has materially contributed to our growth and success.”
- Be resilient. Glamorous headlines are great but, in any long-term relationship, there will be times when all you can do is fight the fires of industry crisis or (possibly unfair) criticism. When necessary, we’ve been battling on Luxaviation UK’s behalf since 2005, not least in 2019 as Brexit fears suppressed the economy and charter demand and this year as the coronavirus pandemic caused global travel chaos. We didn’t flinch in our efforts to keep Luxaviation UK’s profile high and reputation strong. Did you see CEO & managing director George Galanopoulos discussing COVID-19 on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ in May? Over a million people did.
- Inventiveness is invaluable. Over many years, few companies generate a constant, easy flow of irresistible news stories. But if you’re ingenious, you can devise high volumes of media-friendly output for almost any client. We helped, for example, create an event at the Design Museum in London, for which Coventry University’s automotive design faculty was asked to plan the interior of the private jet of tomorrow. We offered the readers of ‘City A.M.’ newspaper the chance to win a private jet for a day. And we always follow global breaking news closely, looking for opportunities to comment on anything from the Rugby World Cup to government plans to apply air passenger duty to private jet flights.
With our help, Luxaviation UK has moved from a ‘white label’ industry secret to a well-known, highly respected, headline-grabbing market leader.
As in all aspects of life, long relationships in the PR world can be hard work at times but the rewards – and awards – more than justify the effort.