What PR pros can learn from the Great British Bake Off

As PR professionals, we pride ourselves on having our finger constantly on the pulse - being up-to-date with the most important events is crucial - and what's more important than the return of the Great British Bake Off?

PR pros should take a leaf out of the GBBO recipe book, writes Gemma Sowerby
PR pros should take a leaf out of the GBBO recipe book, writes Gemma Sowerby

Bake Off is not just a show, but a TV event, creating headlines every year. So what lessons can PR pros learn from its tried-and-tested recipe for success?

Balancing style and substance

On Bake Off, every bake has to taste good and look amazing – prioritising one over the other could land you in the danger zone. What use is a beautiful pie if the meat isn’t cooked through?

The same goes for PR: we have to ensure the messaging is right with everything we do. A good byline isn’t great unless it conveys the right message, and a research campaign won’t land – however big and bold – unless it creates the right brand awareness. Expertly balancing strong content with striking presentation is what keeps clients coming back for more.

Challenge the status quo

Bake Off contestants have to go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd. From adding spice to their scones, or challenging themselves with a risky new pastry recipe, the world of baking is changing – and so is PR.

Branching out in search of the new is what the best PR pros are focused on in 2018. Transitioning to fully integrated accounts might take a bit more time and effort than adding chilli to your chocolate mousse, but being unafraid to mix things up will always pay off.

Timing is everything

You don’t need to be a professional baker to know that timing is key. Every episode has a cacophony of beeping kitchen timers – not too different to the floor of a PR agency.

For PRs, keeping on top of news cycles and knowing exactly when to comment on breaking news relies on excellent timing. Being one step ahead of your competitors is critical – and communicating this to clients is crucial to secure the best coverage. The ability to juggle multiple deadlines is just as important. In fact, the perfect PR would be able to draft and distribute a newsjack while baking a tarte au citron – this surely isn’t too much to ask!

The final ingredient: personality

It’s not only the delicious baking and endless puns that characterise every series of Bake Off – what makes the show special is the personalities on screen. For PR pros, making the most of personalities is vital.

Content should strike a balance between the personality of the spokesperson and the tone of the target publication. Even more important is the personality needed to craft the ‘killer line’ – taking time to get to know your spokespeople will always ensure the best coverage.

With the country’s favourite TV show finally back, the PR industry would be wise to take a leaf out of Bake Off’s very successful recipe book.

If only Paul Hollywood were around to give us that elusive handshake…

Gemma Sowerby is a consultant at Lewis Global Communications and director of Women in Media

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