An interview with Amanda Brooks Chart.PR, MCIPR, Dip.CIPR
Going solo in public relations is never an easy call, even for the most experienced professionals.
According to Bloomberg, eight of ten new businesses fail within the first 18 months.
From the practical concerns of ‘Where will I work?’ ‘How will I maintain a routine?’ to the broader anxieties ‘How will I find new business?’ ‘How will I stay relevant in a fast-changing industry?’ – there are no shortages of apprehensions that can plague the mind of a newly declared independent practitioner.
“I think the biggest challenge was attracting and developing the personnel to provide a consistent standard of service. In those days, we had to do this in-house. It was challenging but vital to success.” says Amanda Brooks Chart.PR, MCIPR, Dip.CIPR, Managing Director of brookscomm.
Since co-founding the agency in 1995, Mandy has delivered strategic PR and marketing services for a wide range of clients including international electronics manufacturer Belkin. Similarly to brookscomm, the PR industry has undergone tremendous change over the past twenty years.
“Client demand has evolved,” says Mandy reflecting on the changes in her time within the industry. “Clients require a better integrated and measurable service that delivers demonstrable benefits.”
It was that increasing demand from clients needing business-smart, strategic counsel that inspired Mandy to sign up for the CIPR Diploma.
“I had 20 years’ practical experience running a small tech PR Agency but I had no formal qualifications in PR. The agency was ticking along but we wanted to evolve and enhance our services.”
The personal desire to push forward and evolve professionally also proved a motivating factor for Mandy, whose specialisms include B2B, technology and STEM.
“I wanted to be hands on, up to date and forward thinking. I was keen to bring theory, history and practice together but working full time and as a mum of three, it was very important that my learning was relevant and immediately useful.”
Taught at master’s level and designed to equip students with a strategic mind-set, the Diploma prepares public relations practitioners to lead businesses at board level. Students can enrol for the qualification at centres throughout the UK and overseas, while online and blended learning options are also available.
“I was able to learn flexibly to fit with my busy life. There is a big time commitment to make but you can very much make it fit your schedule,” Mandy added.
When asked to reflect more broadly on the impact the Diploma had on her career, Mandy offered a compelling endorsement.
“The Diploma exceeded all of my expectations. It enabled me to cement my practical knowledge and experience with an overview of the theory and history of the profession. I’ve used my new knowledge, skills and connections to expand the agency. It’s enabled me to offer an enhanced professional and more measurable service to our clients.”
For Mandy, the direct impact on her business wasn’t the only benefit derived from completing the Diploma. In 2014, Mandy became a Chartered PR Practitioner and she’s quick to credit the importance of her professional qualification in helping her achieve Chart.PR status.
“Achieving the diploma equipped me with the knowledge and confidence to get chartered.” That sentiment chimes with recommendations from the CIPR’s Chartered Assessors who commonly observe that candidates who’ve undertaken the Diploma tend to be better prepared for Chartership Assessment.
The advice Mandy offers prospective students considering the Diploma couldn’t be clearer: “Definitely go ahead and do it. It’s not just a qualification in name but something really useful. Having strategies and examples to fall back on is a huge confidence booster.”
CIPR Qualifications are enrolling now to study online and with centres nationwide. For more information visit the CIPR website.
Image courtesy of flickr user FutUndBeidl