Aug 15th 2019

Building a dream PR team to top the league

We’re into August now, which means I’m allowed to talk about football at work again. Sorry everyone else, it’s happening, so just get on board with it….

The Premier League season is dawning once again and offices up and down the land will be preparing for war on the ultimate battlefield of the fantasy league.

But, before I can sort out my team for the season, it’s my turn to pen a Babel blog. So, I figured two birds one stone, right?

I love a good extended metaphor, so thought I’d take a look at what components are needed when drafting in an invincible fantasy PR team.

Last year I wrote a blog comparing members of the Babel squad to teams from the World Cup (I have written about other topics, I promise). That was a mistake though as it encouraged far too much debate – Paul was NOT happy about being Switzerland.

Therefore, there’ll be no individuals named here for my own safety. This is purely about the qualities needed for putting together the dream team of PR.

Formation

Anyone who has played fantasy football before knows there are (super annoying and lame) restrictions put in place to make the game ‘fairer’. Ugghh. You can’t play 11 strikers and you can’t use infinite fake money to sign all the best players.

Unless you are very lucky, chances are your business can’t pile unlimited resources into PR to achieve the results it wants either. Before we dive into the nitty gritty of picking our squad, it’s important to think about how campaigns are structured to best maximise a PR budget.

Going with a back-3 or a back-4 might be a headscratcher for fantasy players, but at least you can make adjustments week to week. For your brand, planning whether you want to focus more on content development or thought leadership, social media or events management etc. can be important, but things change. Working with an agency that can be flexible about where to place resources to deliver the best results is the key to a successful campaign that keeps the boardroom happy.

Right, now that’s sorted, let’s pick a squad.

Old reliable

First things first, when thinking fantasy league, you need to pick players that are actually going to get game time. Only three outfield players managed to be completely reliable and play every minute of every game in the Premier League last season. While (I hope) nobody in our team is going to be out of action with a pulled calf, sometimes the unexpected happens and circumstances change.

The first important element in building a successful PR dream team is giving everyone the best possible chance of playing. We actively encourage flexible working at Babel – I’m currently writing this from my five-star beach condo in Hawaii FYI – and promote both mental and physical wellbeing. You can pick all the multi-million-pound megastars you want, but they are no use sat in the stands!

In safe hands

Next up, it’s time to pick the keeper. While it can be nice to have a goalkeeper like Man City’s Ederson who chips in with the odd assist, the primary role of a fantasy keeper is to make saves.

When all else fails, the keeper is the person to keep a cool head and prevent a crisis, directing those in front of them to where they need to be.

In PR, a badly managed issue can become a crisis very quickly. A badly managed crisis can spell catastrophe. As such, you need your PR ‘goalkeeper’ (ie. Director) to be a safe pair of hands but one who can communicate effectively with the rest of the team and use their experience to make those crucial split-second decisions that can make the difference between winning or losing.

Spine of the team

Clean sheets are an important way of building your points score in fantasy league, and the key to clean sheet points is picking a defence that’s organised.

Organisation is obviously an important skill for a PR pro as well; keeping on top of a fast-paced industry and accounts that can throw up unexpected hurdles at a moment’s notice.

However, more than simply keeping the other team out, the modern defender also scores a lot of points in attacking situations, knowing when to join the forwards and timing runs to perfection – look at Liverpool’s pair of fullbacks for the prime example!

Timing can be everything in PR, never more so than with issues jumps. A well organised backbone to your dream team creates the foundation to launch all-out-attacks at the most opportune moments.

Maestros in the middle

Fantasy football, much like PR, can be a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ type of business. Midfielders can score points for clean sheets, assists and goals, so they take on a big responsibility to be consistent all-rounder point scorers. There’s no time for living off past glories.

Our midfield maestros are our Account Managers. These are the people who make everything tick. They strategise and organise with senior leads, develop content to support with media relations or marketing objectives, hit the phones with account execs and motivate the team towards results.

A strong midfield is often the difference maker for a fantasy manager, just as a strong Account Manager is for a PR campaign.

Goal getters

Simply put, strikers need to score goals. There’s nothing worse than picking a fantasy forward who decides to go AWOL from week to week and makes you wish you’d chosen someone else (cheers Lukaku…).

It’s a results game at the end of the day. Modern PR campaigns have a lot of moving parts, with metrics to measure all sorts of business objectives. But for most campaigns the most crucial result is still media coverage. Good coverage is what moves the needle in terms of increasing exposure, building credibility, improving SEO and everything else besides.

To ensure PR goals are being scored, you need campaign consultants who deliver and are always hungry for the next goal. They know their media landscape, but they’re always adapting to it as well. A successful fantasy PR team needs media relations pros who are the all-round centre forward: foxes in the box, who can pounce on every half-chance, but can also create a moment of magic out of nothing.

Captain content

Last but not least, once you’ve picked your squad, you need to pick the captain.

Fantasy football captains are awarded double points each week, so there’s big pressure to select the right player to wear the armband. You need someone who is guaranteed to give you the most bang for your buck and deliver a massive points haul. The captain is your most valuable player; the MVP.

However, for a PR campaign team, the captain shouldn’t be any one individual. At Babel, our MVP and captain is our content. We believe in crafting messaging that resonates with audiences.

We also believe in having a bit of creative fun and writing about football, wine, sheep and whatever else we feel like, but that’s besides the point!

A well written message is worth its weight in gold. It can be utilised time and again in different content formats and presented to different audiences, giving the best possible results and maximum return on every campaign.

The transfer window

As we approach the opening day of the season, fantasy fanatics will tinker with their teams right up until the deadline.

One of the biggest times for conversation amongst competitive friends and colleagues is the opening weekend, when everyone is convinced that they have the winning formula and nobody else in the world will have thought to select Mo Salah.

However, to win the fantasy league, you have to know when to freshen things up throughout the season and bring in the in-form talent to fire you up the league.

We’re always looking to add to our team, so if you’ve got the talent (and a better extended metaphor than this!) then get in touch.


Declan Bradshaw
Declan Bradshaw CAMPAIGN MANAGER