Michelle Doyle is a public relations consultant who has a Master’s Degree in Marketing Communications. The forty-nine-year-old recently worked with her client YIGA (Your Island Guide App) to have a successful launch a few weeks ago. But why public relations?
Positive Vibes sat down with Michelle to discuss her decision to become involved in Public Relations and her journey as a media practitioner in Barbados.
Q: What is your mantra for life?
A: I live by two mantras as they fit both my personal and business life. ‘Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together’ and ‘Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.’
Q: What is one thing the public would not know about you?
A: I am deeply concerned about the long-term effects of single-use plastics.
Q: What does Michelle do for fun?
A: As 90 per cent of my job involves technology, I try to get away from it. So, going to the beach, meeting friends, playing road tennis, catching up on my reading and any movies I might have missed are activities I like to do.
Q: You are a PR consultant. How did you become involved in communications?
A: When I was in school, girls did what were traditionally female subjects for example Office Practice, Food and Nutrition, etc. I was not interested in any of that and chose Principles of Business as I was mainly interested in advertising. I was told I was talkative at school, but I cannot remember that as I was always in the background. I would consume advertisements, both print and broadcast, as I was intrigued by the psychology behind them. The interest continued in the United Kingdom and at college when I secured an internship at Bartle, Boyle, Hegarty (BBH) in Piccadilly. This will sound cheesy, but I saw magic created. I became acutely aware of the detailed research required to produce one advertisement that would influence buyer behaviour. I then chose Business Studies, majoring in Marketing at university, as I sought a deeper understanding of how a business effectively functions. The natural progression for me was a Master’s in Marketing Communications with PR, of course. Along the way, I did various PR courses and was a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) to hone my craft.
Q: When did you realise you were talented in Public Relations?
A: I appreciated how talented I was when I was employed at Transport for London specifically for the London Safety Camera Partnership, also known as speed cameras. I was responsible for creating campaigns for eight London Boroughs. At that time, the public had a great dislike for speed cameras with residents campaigning against them with letters to local councillors, lobbying ministers and misinformed media. A major coup was the positive media coverage in print, broadcast and online from the local and national media in response to an unveiling of a camera on a busy road notorious for speeding. Tragically, a number of people died or were seriously injured at the site in one incident and it met the criteria for a camera to be installed. I managed to orchestrate an unveiling of two cameras that included closing an entire section of the road. Creating such an effective campaign with so many variables – grieving families, hostile public, local mayor, police, emergency services, local residents, schools and media – gave me a renewed confidence as that was the most intense PR activity I had undertaken at that point.
Q: As the world recently celebrated World Free Press Day, what is your goal as a media practitioner?
A: As a PR consultant my goal is to ensure I can make the media’s job as easy as possible by pitching with facts in a relevant, timely manner and respond to any request. They are already inundated with different deadlines, requests and articles; if I can be ahead of the curve and anticipate their needs that makes both our jobs easier.
Q: What advice would you have for anyone interested in pursuing the field of Public Relations?
A: To start in PR, they should first understand the inter-relationship between PR and marketing and the value it brings. Without formal qualifications, they should try an internship to gain relevant work experience. However, to get their foot in the door they need to be quite impressive with their skill set. Try volunteering for specific tasks where they go to school or college, do research on the company and show how they might devise a PR campaign for one of their clients. They need to think creatively. If they choose formal education, I suggest a general degree with PR as a module or choose various diplomas/training courses. PR professionals need to understand and know how a business operates overall before they can devise effective campaigns. Finally, they must be punctual, think quickly on their feet and possess the ability to listen well and communicate even better, both written and verbally.
Q: How can we find you on social media?
A: I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram as @itsmichelledoyle. I am currently working on my soon to be launched website. (LG)