Pack prepares to swap sides

The Liberal Democrats' digital PR chief has said he will help companies behave more like political parties when he joins Mandate Communications later this year.

Digital guru: Pack
Digital guru: Pack

As revealed on (26 March), Mandate has appointed Mark Pack as an associate director, charged with boosting the agency’s digital PR offering. He will make the switch in early June and will work across public affairs and wider PR campaigns.

Pack told PRWeek that a key focus in the role would be to help businesses learn from political parties’ campaigning tactics.

He said: ‘Political parties live or die by both their reputations and their ability to turn people in to advocates for their cause. Both of those are areas where there are interesting things being done by companies. But there is also a lot of potential across the commercial sector. In a lot of cases, companies see people they engage with as customers rather than potential advocates.’

Pack also said many politicians were ahead of companies in terms of using social networking tools: ‘It has been easier for politicians to embrace Twitter because a large part of what they’re selling is themselves and therefore they need to engage in personal communication with people. There is more of a challenge when you’re talking about a product or a company that isn’t immediately as individual or personable as an MP or a candidate.’

As head of innovations for the Lib Dems, Pack is well regarded across the political blogosphere.

He spent ten years with the Lib Dems and played a key role in creating the party’s digital presence, as well as managing the Lib Dems’ internet campaign in both the 2001 and 2005 general elections.

Pack can also take credit for a series of internet firsts, inc­luding the first UK party leader on Facebook and YouTube; the first national party website to provide RSS feeds and the first party to have an MP (Lynne Featherstone) regularly using Twitter.

Mandate CEO Sacha Deshmukh said: ‘Brands are coming under increasing pressure from campaigning groups and individual campaigners. Mark will still be doing political campaigning work but this will also be applied to brands and corporate rep­utations.’

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