In the fourteenth interview of our #firefy25 anniversary series, Andy Rogers, director of communications at CEDR (the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution), and former Firefly, speaks to Claire Walker about the past, present and future of PR. Andy discusses the need for collaboration with journalists in the modern era of PR, rather than the ‘Russian roulette’ approach of old, whether the office phone will survive and how having a groundswell of supporters will be an essential part of campaigns of the future.
We are delighted to announce that Firefly has been shortlisted for a Golden Hedgehog PR Award for our work on The Centre for Effective Distribution’s ‘Inquiry into Public Inquiries’ project.
With the ‘Public Inquiry’ very much engrained in the UK’s consciousness in the wake of the News of the World hacking scandal and the resulting Leveson Inquiry, The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) was midway through its project examining the effectiveness of Public Inquiries and asked Firefly to help raise awareness and encourage contributors to come forward to take part.
We commissioned simple omnibus research to determine the public’s level of faith in the Public Inquiry process and, as predicted, a level of discontent was discovered. The findings were offered to top tier media with the opportunity of a briefing with the project’s co-chairs, former Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Woolf of Barnes and Chief Executive of CEDR, Karl Mackie.
A media day was organised, beginning with a live interview on BBC’s Radio 4’s The Today Programme, and the co-chairs then met with journalists from national and legal press including the Financial Times, the Press Association and Legal Week. This gave the chairs the chance to get across their hopes for the project and encourage other experts to become involved.
We view the ‘Low Budget Campaign of the Year’ category as being particularly prestigious as it truly shows that effective PR campaigns do not have to cost the world. Being shortlisted is a testament to the agency (us) but also to our client CEDR, whose investment and collaboration really can’t be praised enough in making the campaign a success.
The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) has re-enlisted Firefly’s issues-based PR services following successful project collaboration in 2010.
Originally tasked with raising mainstream awareness of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and establishing CEDR as a leading voice in the industry, the latest brief will see Firefly focus on the organisation’s not-for-profit work via the CEDR Foundation. This will include support for some of CEDR’s most ambitious undertakings to date, including UK Public Inquiry reform and corporate governance dispute resolution.
The campaign will encompass two core projects, the first being CEDR’s ‘Inquiry into Public Inquiries’, being undertaken in partnership with former Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Woolf of Barnes. The project will assess the role ADR can play in improving the Public Inquiries process. The second project involves CEDR’s partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), forged to equip emerging market businesses with the right tools to handle board-level disputes. In both cases, Firefly is providing PR counsel and awareness-raising via top-tier media relations.
Andy Rogers, associate director at CEDR said, “From a PR perspective, our campaign focus is on topics – including board conflict and Public Inquiries – that have significant media currency. In choosing Firefly, we are re-engaging with an effective PR partner who can create the right environment to discuss CEDR’s evolution, including our pro-bono work.”
Following a competitive, four-way pitch, Firefly Communications has secured a strategic brief to strengthen CEDR’s reputation by raising awareness for the expanse of the its services and capabilities. These include expert mediation in personal and commercial disputes; conflict management in the workplace; advanced negotiation skills; and how to use structured dialogue in a variety of conflict scenarios.
CEDR is an internationally recognised authority on alternative dispute resolution methods, training and accreditation, with a global remit to establish mediation as one of the most effective tools for reducing the high cost of conflict in business. The organisation, the largest of its kind in Europe, confidentially mediates many high-level business disputes and consults with high-level institutions and NGOs, such as the World Bank.
The Firefly-led campaign, which commences in September, will incorporate PR as well as digital communications elements. Its aim is to achieve greater understanding of mediation (and related disciplines) and its role in global business, as well as CEDR’s unique profile as both a charitable and commercial organisation.
“We were impressed with the level of thought, creativity and insight applied to Firefly’s proposal, and also saw great potential with the overarching theme the team proposed, which we plan to leverage across PR and marketing,” said Andy Rogers, communications manager, CEDR UK.
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