It was the sort of media opportunity businesspeople dream about: a full one and a half minute piece on BBC Breakfast, combining both pre-recorded pieces and a live interview with the MD, repeated throughout the morning. Whoever James Laxton, MD of Laxton’s Specialist Yarns has got doing his PR, he ought to give them a bonus.
However, as we all know, getting the opportunity is only half the battle. You have to make sure you fully exploit it, and I’m not sure that Laxton entirely achieved this. Take a look at the clip here and see if you agree with me.
In some ways Laxton had a tough job following on from his employee in this piece. That employee (unnamed by the BBC) might not have been the first person the marketing team thought of when they looked around the factory for a media spokesperson but he did brilliantly. He spoke with a broad smile, and he brimmed with enthusiasm for his traditional and highly-skilled work – there would have been few viewers who didn’t warm to him. He also did a great job of conveying the company’s key selling point: it’s not competing on price with textiles manufacturers in Asia, but it offers a high quality product.
So, it was a challenge for the boss, but one that, had he risen to it, could have seen this turn into a major PR triumph. And he did ok. He certainly looked the part; he was calm, considered, and clearly proud of the work he is doing taking his family business into the 21st Century. However, I think he got a bit lost with his message.
He told viewers that they have responsibility to buy British, so that retailers will want to stock it. It was a somewhat confused argument – you can see him slightly losing his train of thought – and it wasn’t the right argument to make. Viewers don’t want to be told what they should do; they want to hear what’s in it for them. The point his colleague had made about quality was the right one to use, and I think that with a bit more preparation on his key messages Laxton would have had much more impact in this interview.
Those are my thoughts – what are yours? (NB. I’ve resisted all temptations to talk about woolly spokespeople, so you should too!)