As NFTs creep into social media, how safe is your marketing plan?

As NFTs creep into social media, how safe is your marketing plan?

What exactly are NFTs, and what impact could they have on your marketing strategy?

LLPR’s PR & Digital Marketing Executive, Max Dobson, demystifies the latest digital buzzword and explains why social media platforms are about to take the NFT leap.

NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are the modern day, digital equivalent of trading cards, finding their boom in mid-late 2021 with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s original first tweet being sold for $2.9 million.  

NFTs are simple PNGs which can be bought and sold using crypto currency and stored in carbon reliant, power-hungry computer systems. They’ve also gained a reputation as an expensive way to boast to your friends – with some being rare, limited editions like the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, a limited series of colourfully designed monkeys which can command tens of thousands for a single piece.

As with any online mega trend, things got out of hand. Now, social media monopoly, Meta, wants in.

According to a memo shared to the Financial Times last week, Facebook and Instagram owner, Meta, is developing a scheme to allow users to integrate their NFT collections with its social networking platforms. This would open the opportunity for users to show off their collections to followers and create exclusive groups and pages with the expensive PNGs as the key to entry. Following this news, big brands are scratching their heads to figure out how to navigate the marketing landscape when hurdles such as this are in place. Surprisingly, there is some hopeful forecasting for smaller businesses in such a future.

Facebook has already tried its hand at digital currency with its launch of ‘Facebook Credits’ in 2009 as a way for users to buy in-game benefits for programmes like Farmville. An NFT / Meta integration, however, would be a further development in the age of crypto where users will be able to buy and sell natively within Meta’s platforms. According to sources, Meta is also considering introducing a scheme where users are rewarded with ‘Zuck Bucks’ (as Meta employees are apparently calling them) for positive online behaviour or for interacting with championed brands.

This is where the foot in the door of Web-3 begins to step on some big brand’s toes. Introducing the potential of financial gains for interacting with your brand allows companies the chance to buy their customer’s loyalty. Starbucks, for example, announced recently they are introducing a line of NFTs which, when purchased, gives access to an exclusive club with various benefits, extra content, and new ways to interact with the coffee giant.

Should other companies wake up and smell the coffee, following Starbucks into the NFT game, customers showing off their exclusive access to swanky clubs and cool collectables could be the easiest marketing strategy imaginable – and customers will be paying to do it.

 

 

But is the NFT bubble beginning to burst?

Total spending in blockchains has globally begun to show signs of wanning in 2022, almost halving from January ($12bn) to April ($7bn). There is also a factor of oversaturation, with 9.2 million NFTs sold to a total of 1.8 million people.

One can gather from the data that the explosive introduction of the trend is past its initial peak, with the dust settling on a landscape regulated by those who are already invested and brands looking for a late inclusion into the crypto market. With Meta’s plans to welcome NFTs onto platforms like Instagram and Facebook via NFT hosting sites like Ethereum and Polygon, there could be a resurgence of popularity as access for more casual users becomes easier.

Launching an aggressively exclusive, paid-for membership to extra content and deals might be a progressive step into Web-3 for global corporations who want to benefit off the Bored Ape success. However, for smaller businesses, it could be nothing short of guerrilla marketing, scaring loyal customers away.

The fact that Meta is rushing to bring NFTs into its platforms is proof that users are actively demanding and searching for more ways to interact with their favourite brands, with those with more money to burn happy to use it on flashy gimmicks. Smaller companies (smaller than the omnipotent giants like Meta and Starbucks) have the benefit of being able to offer this interaction in a transparent, human approach.

Being true to your reputation both online and offline is a tried and tested way to ensure that loyal customers feel valued and appreciated – as a PR agency we are aware how far relatability and human connection can go. So, don’t worry, we won’t be selling our staff pictures as NFTs anytime soon, unless anyone out there wants to make an offer?

 

Time to Get Real

Time to Get Real

PR & Digital Marketing Executive, Max Dobson, shares his thoughts on the fast-emerging platform BeReal and what it could mean for the future of social networking.

Scrolling through your usual plethora of social feeds can be overwhelming; pressuring you to present an idealised version of yourself. Luckily, a new contender in the sharing game seems to hold an antidote.

Launched in 2020 by Kévin Perreau and Alexis Barreyat, BeReal is a unique platform where users are invited to post an impromptu picture with both front and back facing cameras within a 2 minute time slot. There are no likes, no celebrities, no ads and, most importantly, no filters.

A refreshing and authentic take on sharing a snapshot of your day, users are only allowed to view their friend’s posts when they have shared a picture themselves, minimising endless scrolling and ensuring you only interact with the app when you feel involved. In their terms and conditions, users are strictly banned from using the application for “advertising or commercial purposes to publish or facilitate the transmission of advertising, commercial solicitations, spam, “chain letters”, “pyramid schemes” or to collect information, data or Content about other Users without their permission”. Essentially, it gives you the chance to see realistic daily updates of your friend’s lives, beautiful imperfections and all.

The app has already raised over $30 million of initial funding after seeing a 315% increase of downloads in 2022 so far, becoming one of the App Store’s most popular Social Media apps.

BeReal also calls out users for posting late, even showing how many times they attempted to take the picture before publishing the selfie. Though somewhat pressurising this feature pushes for total authenticity in the way that people share moments from their day; whether you’re enjoying an ice cream in front of a glorious sunset or your television after a long day. The app even opts for “RealMojis”, selfies of you reacting to the post, rather than the usual text-based responses (which are still available for those posts that just deserve a conversation).

For myself, BeReal has become an essential tool for staying in touch with friends who I don’t get to see very often, getting daily snaps of them at work or relaxing around the house creates a relatable, shared experience that allows us to feel closer. With no space for influencers or ads on the feed, the app’s interface also seems comfortable and intimate; a space for friends to stay in touch without pretence or expectation.

BeReal social platform screenshot
BeReal social platform screenshot

So what does this mean for us as a PR agency? And what does it mean for brands?

Even though BeReal remains a strictly no-ads-allowed platform, it suggests that users are actively searching for transparency, that they find authenticity more attractive than mountains of adverts surrounding and confusing them. Whether big or small, businesses can take refuge in the fact that their audiences appreciate honesty and humanity in the way they interact online, just as they would expect them to behave offline!

Many platforms have quenched this desire for users to experience intimate interaction online with huge results before. The free multi room video call hosting app House Party, for example, scored over 50 million downloads during the first wave of COVID, allowing young people to connect in a distraction free interface. The app has, however, dipped in popularity and has become a thing of the past, a flash in the digital pan which faded when it became overcrowded.  

The appetite for BeReal, however, seems to be a trend that will be sticking around as downloads continue to climb and its sharing restrictions remain parentally firm.

With BeReal creating an informal safe space for users to be their true selves for the eyes of their select friends only, advertising space on conventional social media platforms can reflect their behaviour and take on a stripped down, human approach. At LLPR we know how to recognise the true personality of our clients and present them in a trustworthy, relatable way to their audience.

If BeReal is anything to go by, the web is becoming a more self-aware network with users seeking commerce that speaks to them as unique people; something which can be achieved through engaging, personal and hand-crafted digital marketing.

We might not be asking our clients to share #NoFilter selfies (yet), but we are excited to let them tell their stories in a welcoming, passionate way.

The importance of reputation in family businesses

The importance of reputation in family businesses

Leila Willingham, Account & Business Manager, writes on the value of reputation within family owned and operated organisations

As family businesses, we benefit from unique advantages such as a shared vision, strong values, and a long-term outlook. However, we can also face difficulties such as being resistant to change, undertaking succession planning and transitioning to the next generation. A huge differentiator between family and non-family-owned organisations is how the personal and emotional element of the business plays into corporate decision making; for the better or worse.

Businesses with such history and preserved financial assets can be complex organisations to protect reputationally, and with a family name so closely attached there is even more at stake. Whether the family is central to the brand or not, there is a degree of uniqueness in each family-owned organisation that demands a tailored and considered approach to reputation management.

Reputation is the result of what a business does, what it says and what others think about it. Some academics such as Rindova argue that reputation is an asset that provides a sustainable competitive advantage and influences an organisation’s financial performance, meaning it is certainly something worth thinking about – especially when we intend for our businesses to thrive not just today and tomorrow but for years to come.

 

Reputational strength in family firms

Family businesses tend to be more values led than other organisations, due to the desire to protect the family’s assets, image and reputation. These values are often brought to life through a strong approach to employee engagement and the workplace, a high-quality product or service offering, ethical business practices and good management – all things that earn good reputations. The extra layer of care, attention and cautiousness that is inherited as a steward of the family business helps keep us out of trouble.

Plus, if communicated well, our values and their positive impact on our organisations and stakeholders can give the business a competitive advantage. Brand management theorist Kapferer claims that a business’s fatal differentiation from its competitors is the respect for its brand values and the status of the brand name built upon these – great news for family businesses!

Reputation management isn’t all about preventing and protecting, but also about building and strengthening too. A solid reputation is a unique selling point in itself and one that is very difficult for competitors to replicate. This competitive advantage is crucial to the long-term success of a business intended to remain strong for generations to come.

Although, while this is all positive, we mustn’t be naïve. We cannot predict and plan for everything, the pandemic has taught us that much. We must expect the unexpected and know how to respond to it.

Some view reputation management as a function that ‘kicks in’ during a crisis; a damage limitation tool. However, to be most efficient, it should be used as a preventative, not a cure. As business tycoon Warren Buffett once said, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” and this is rings especially true in the context of family businesses, which may have upheld their reputation for centuries.

 

What reputational hazards put family businesses at risk?

Every family business is different and a ‘one size fits all’ reputational evaluation just doesn’t exist – reflecting on your own business’s reputation, you need to consider all the unique nuances that may play into it. Reputational hazards could be anything from a faulty product to a director caught with their pants down in the pub.

All the common family business challenges pose reputational risks and, unfortunately, can feel much more personal and emotional in our world – think succession planning, the next generation, disagreements, long-term ownership, finances, the board and decision makers, employees and customers. Exploring a few common examples helps to identify how reputational risks come in all varieties of scale and strength:

 

  • Family members

You might not think that your parent, sibling or cousin are capable of serious reputational damage. However, family members, whether they are involved operationally or not, are potentially the biggest reputational risk to the business (sorry!) and this needs to be recognised. Not only is an errant family member emotionally difficult but can cause huge reputational concerns too.

 

  • Financial status

The Sunday Times’ yearly ‘Rich List’ reveals that several of the wealthiest people or families resident in the UK are those governing or running family-owned organisations. Financial strength, performance, growth prospects and resilience all support a positive company reputation; however, with that comes challenges.

 

Even businesses with retained profits and working capital need to remain efficient and this sometimes means difficult decisions are made in order to do so. With such financial reserves, decisions such as redundancy can seem conflicting to the company’s financial status and unnecessary by stakeholders. The comments on this article regarding Andrew Nisbet and his family firm demonstrate the potential response from stakeholders if not managed properly.

 

  • Succession

The reputational impact when one leader takes over from another must be considered, especially when it involves family. As the leader of a business changes, an opportunity for a reputational shift, positive or negative, opens. Through this sensitive period, it is key that the good feeling, trust and admiration (all things that contribute to a healthy reputation) that is felt towards the business remains and, crucially, is transferred from one leader to another.

 

  • Governance

Governance is very important to many family businesses and disagreements within the family and wider team aren’t uncommon. Sixth generation Clarks Shoes came close to being sold in the early 90’s because the aspirations of family shareholders had become disconnected from those of company management.

 

Reputationally, this moment could have disastrous for the business. If the debate had slipped outside of the boardroom, its impact would have ricocheted through the business, impacting morale and the sense of security of the workforce as well as external impressions of the brand. Would you want your employees or customers catching wind of the debates that took place in the board room? What would you do if they did?

 

Reputationally protecting a family business

Reputation management is required to be an ‘always on’ function and can’t just be used as a first aid kit. The RepTrak Reputation Model provides a great framework for benchmarking a business’s reputation and says that reputation is built through the good feeling, trust, and admiration that stakeholders feel towards a company. The model states that a business’s products or services, innovation, workplace, governance, leadership, citizenship and performance all contribute to a healthy and valuable reputation.

At the heart of reputation management for a family business sits the need to protect its history and heritage. Yet, as explored, there are also a variety of day-to-day factors that can massively influence reputation.

The subtle complexities of our unique organisations must be understood, recognised and managed to build and protect the business’s reputation. Identifying and awareness of reputational risks coupled with strategic communications is the winning formula to doing so.

Risk management provides structured information to assist with business decision making and is also invaluable for reputation management and can help make the unexpected less daunting. In a family organisation, all unique facets must be considered through this exercise: family feuds, death of a family member, personal wrongdoings. Experts, including Andrew Griffin, suggest that internally driven issues are the hardest to manage and so risk management for family firms is exceptionally important.

Issues identification and risk management for family businesses must predict, prevent and prepare for reputational risks including those involving all family members, on a personal and professional level. PR pros Michael Regester and Judy Larkin are famous for the phrase ‘an issue ignored is a crisis ensured’ and this perfectly encapsulates why identification of potential threats is important from an operational and reputational perspective. By doing so, family firms can look to make changes to reduce risk and head off any challenges before they even arise.

All company communications (internal and external) should be mindful of reputation. Communications play a critical role in building and maintaining the key ingredients for a good reputation; the good feeling, admiration and trust people feel towards an organisation. It for this reason that one of the top five things the IFB recommends when planning succession is good communication.

Communications should be used to share the great work and achievements all stakeholders should feel pride in. However, communications are of equal importance when delivering tough messages such as redundancies or significant updates such as a change in leader. Making sure that all communications are delivered in a sensitive manner will help to maintain or build the good feeling, trust, and admiration that stakeholders feel towards the family firm – this should be the same for positive and less positive communications.

Although reputation should be managed proactively as opposed to reactively, the role of communications is undeniably important in a crisis.

As family organisations we are often more naturally inclined to act in a personal and human way when it comes to business. However, a careful balance of emotional and corporate communication is critical, particularly within a crisis or issues management situation.

When a family business client witnessed a devastating fire destroy part of the organisation’s head office, not only were they concerned for the operational impact, but they were watching a highly historic building disappear. It was a devastating tragedy for the family.

Upon reflection, the management team recognise that their Chairman, a family member, shouldn’t have been or have been expected to be the spokesperson in that crisis. The client now has crisis planning in place that, in some circumstances, requests family members to leave the site to allow for ultimate efficiency to protect the reputation of the business long term.

The closeness of their relationship with the organisation can compromise family members in a crisis. The emotional link to a business can cloud their thoughts, rationale and ability to make decisions; all factors that can pose additional risk to reputation at a critical moment.

As plenty of evidence and theory supports, there is a particular requirement for careful decision making in a crisis. The timely construction and delivery of messages, that are in keeping with the business’s tone of voice and address the issue in the most appropriate way possible, is going to underpin the success of this process. Balancing the emotional response with one that will protect the business long term is notably important.

 

 Reputation: the armour around a family business

The circumstances identified here are only a handful of the factors, unique to family businesses, that influence an organisation’s reputation. There is no singular most important factor that must be considered and these all need managing to either bring benefit to the business or to mitigate a risk.

For long term success, beyond the lifetime of the current leader, opportunities to build on the business’s reputation need exploring and the risks needs managing.

Businesses with years of history, even those with exisiting, positive reputations, must protect and continue building these to support ongoing success for generations to come. A family-owned business that doesn’t manage its reputation can leave it open to being a target by the media and other stakeholders.

View reputation as your most valuable possession, something that must be protected, kept safe and away from harm. An organisation that is so highly regarded by stakeholders could be at more risk due to its status – you wouldn’t leave your most valuable piece of jewellery in an unsafe risky place, so why do the same with your business’s reputation?

Reputation management should provide a layer of armour not only around the firm, but around the family as well. It shouldn’t be seen as an investment but as a requirement, the same as how we view a safe place to store tangible items at home or in our offices.

Reputation is so critical to the success of a long-term vision and many generations of reward – there is no other type of organisation that should prioritise it as highly as family businesses should.

The Sky’s The Limit! Sam’s Apprenticeship Story

The Sky’s The Limit! Sam’s Apprenticeship Story

Our first PRCA Apprentice Sam joined us from British Airways, where she was working as cabin crew. While her work at LLPR doesn’t involve *quite* as much travel, she’s continuing to fly high – already adding invaluable support to her colleagues, and bringing incredible team spirit and positivity.

Here at LLPR, we’re thrilled to become an PRCA Apprentice Employer. The scheme is open to applicants of all ages, from school leavers to retrainers, such as Sam. We’re a big believer in transferable skills and talent; while many of our team have PR or journalism degrees under their belts, there’s a whole lot more who have come to a career in PR from a variety of other avenues and career paths.

What we look for in an LLPR team member transcends technical ability. Superb communication skills, solid copywriting ability and creative flair are the building blocks to a great PR. But what makes every one of ‘Team Lean’ special is that they share the values we aspire to as a brand. That’s why we instinctively work so well together:- and that, as they say, is when the magic happens.

Hear from Sam herself, as she tells the story of her first few months at LLPR….

‘Apparently, the pandemic drove 60% of people to make a change in their career and I guess I fall quite firmly into that statistic. At 25 years old I decided to take the plunge and start afresh, joining Liz Lean PR as the agency’s very first PR & Communications Apprentice.

Making such a change can be a daunting experience, but for me I have never felt so confident in a decision. Since graduating from university five years ago, I have been searching for my “dream job” and until now, had no such luck. In my continued search, I had been toying with the idea of taking an online diploma or even a Master’s degree, and then as if by magic, the opportunity to study for a Level 4 Diploma PR Apprenticeship appeared. The beauty of this apprenticeship is I can choose assignments that will directly help me in my professional career; I am learning about the industry and getting industry experience in real time. As the PRCA likes to say, I’m earning and learning!

Like any new job, I was nervous, but everyone has been incredibly welcoming since day one and just as excited as me to be in the office following the pandemic. Whether they are in the office or dialling in via Teams, my colleagues have been on hand to answer my many questions. Within just a few days of induction, it was time for me to get involved. I was so excited to be trusted with some blog writing, PR planning and media monitoring before even starting the official “apprenticeship” side of things.

Settling into the office environment was easy, especially with the beautiful Sandbanks beach on our doorstep! I’ve joined my colleagues for lunch time beach walks and even made use of the office paddle boards – the epitome of a great work-perk!

I really enjoy the variety of work that we do at LLPR, it means every day is different and I’m learning how to become much more adaptable. Understanding how to prioritize my time and manage my workload was one of my first assignments to complete for the apprenticeship – it could not be MORE relevant! I have always considered myself to be an organised person, but since starting my new role I am definitely refining this skill. Priorities are constantly changing (and I love to say yes), so understanding deadlines and task urgency is proving to be key in organising my work.

In my first three months I have joined three virtual classrooms, attended six webinars, completed five assignments, and started a campaign project, all while supporting my account managers with their clients. I am hugely involved in the social media side of our work which I’m really enjoying and now I am starting to write more copy, which is really encouraging. The next 15 months are going to be fast-paced and demanding but also extremely fun. It couldn’t be a better time to join the company either, there are so many exciting plans in the pipeline, and everyone is so driven to achieve great things individually and as a team. I’m finally feeling stimulated and challenged, something that I was eager to find in my dream career.’

 

Paddleboarding at lunchtime with a team member? Yes please!

Mental Health Awareness Week: tips from the team

Mental Health Awareness Week: tips from the team

Struggling with your mental health should never be treated any differently from a physical ailment. We all have our own weight that we carry and it’s vital in the workplace to have a supportive team that will help pick you up when life gets too heavy.

At LLPR, we always pride ourselves on maintaining that balance between working hard being PR superstars and looking out for each other and our mental health.

We have many initiatives in place and ways to keep us feeling positive, such as:

  • Encouraging mindfulness and meditation activities with the team
  • Apps such as Headspace and Calm for team members
  • Yoga and fitness sessions, free paddleboards for use
  • Getting out in the fresh air during the working day to enjoy the fresh air and benefits of our seaside location

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is Nature, so we asked the team about their favourite things about nature to keep our mental wellbeing ticking over.

“It’s so vital and nurturing for the soul to get outside and embrace all the beautiful scenery we have around us – we are so lucky to be based in such a beautiful area. I have always found a huge amount of comfort in nature, and I have no shame in being a literal tree hugger! We’re all human and have our own high and low moments; being in nature and welcoming the fresh air is a simple solution for our mental wellbeing.” – Liz Willingham, Managing Director

 

“My favourite thing to do if I’m feeling stressed is to get some fresh air and take my dog for a walk. It never feels like a chore, especially in places like Hengistbury Head. I can turn my phone off and take my time to enjoy that quality time!” – Samantha Pape, PR & Communications Apprentice

 

“It’s great when the weather gets warmer and I am able to get out on the water, whether that’s on the coast or in the countryside, so I can grab my paddle and board and venture down the river or over calm seas. Getting out on my paddleboard is a great way to keep fit while taking in fantastic scenery along the way.” – Carol Middleton, Account Manager

“ We’re all so lucky to have the most incredible scenery on our doorstep and there’s nothing better than getting out there, embracing the fresh air and taking in the natural beauty all around us. I love exploring new places, whether it’s a few minutes down the road or a totally different continent.” – Venita Cutler, Senior Account Executive

 

“I enjoy the simple things in life, cracking open a cider and watching the natural world go by on a sunny day is just heavenly. I moved to Dorset from London last year and have spent every moment I can getting out to explore the beautiful countryside. Every day I’m reminded of why I left urban life to come here – It’s safe to say I found my happy place!” – Lucy Mercer, Account Manager

 

“What the past year has taught us is to take time to appreciate how beautiful nature is and nurture your mental health by enjoying some of the beautiful walks that are on your doorstep. There is something about the vibrant colours and smells of spring’s blooms that is instantly calming and rejuvenating.” – Shona Race, Account Manager

 

“When I push myself to get out in the open and fill my lungs with fresh air, I always feel better for it. Whether it be a quick walk at lunch time or exploring somewhere in my free time, getting active does help to clear my head. Whatever the weather, I like to notice the colours, sounds and smells around me, engaging yet relaxing my overactive mind!” – Leila Willingham, Business & Account Manager

Mental Health Awareness Week: the MD’s perspective

Mental Health Awareness Week: the MD’s perspective

Mental Health Awareness Week is rightly highlighting #Nature as one of the most important therapies. Being in green spaces is vital for our mental health and many of us have noticed this even more over the past year during the pandemic.

I’m a Cornish girl so being dragged along a rain-sodden beach on a Sunday with the dog was something that was the norm for me; my much older sisters often grabbing the opportunity to throw me in the sea (for fun!) and get me into trouble!

But my connection with nature became very strong at an early age.

When my father died very suddenly aged 55, I was 12 years old and the way of grieving that felt right for me at the time was endless walking with my dog, Holly, in the local woodland. So, finding a comfort in nature has always been my default setting.

As I’ve got older, I have realised how significantly important open spaces like forests and being around trees is to me, as well as time at the coast which we are so fortunate to be awash with here in Dorset and also in my spiritual home of Cornwall. I have my favourite spots which call me when the chips are down; a favourite bench on a clifftop near Porthtowan overlooking the wild Cornish north coast and Poldark landscape, or the New Forest or Wareham Forest where I can’t help but pick a tree to give a good hug. I don’t have a problem with being called a tree hugger!

In my adult years, experiencing the stress of the workplace, a divorce, juggling family with running my own business and leading a team has brought its bumpy road moments. Everyone has their own version of their journey with similar struggles. We are human, we have up’s and down’s. It’s normal life.

 

This year I have felt it important to do something specific for the business leader, the employer, the boss. There is rightly a lot of information, support and signposting for our teams and workforces which needs to continue and grow and become much more heightened in importance in the workplace. However, I believed we had a need for a 360 degree approach and give some time to asking the boss how they are feeling too. If they aren’t in good shape, their teams may find their own stress even worse as a result. As bosses, our reputation sometimes becomes more important than taking care of ourselves and asking for help when it’s needed.

We often have to put our ‘game face’ on in front of our staff as no one wants to work for someone who is a bit broken! Our customers need to think we are ‘on it’ 24/7 and never have any off moments. It’s expected that the business leader wakes up with their big pants on and a spring in their step every morning and are immune to sleepless nights, worry, fear and anxiety that leading a business can bring. And when others’ livelihoods are on your shoulders, well that responsibility can sometimes, for all sorts of reasons, become a bit too much to carry.

 

As a result, Dorset Chamber has supported me in creating an initiative called ‘Got Your 6’ (GU6 for short). Created to highlight the important of business leader resilience and a route for our business community to ask for confidential and non-judgemental help, GU6 has been developed with partners such as Dorset Mind, Ouch Training and Livewell Dorset. Through sponsored Mental Health First Aid training, and attracting other volunteers with this amazing qualification already under their belts, we now have 15 ‘GU6 Champions’. These volunteers from a huge spectrum of sectors and backgrounds with experiences of their own are all listed at https://dorsetchamber.co.uk/gu6-dorset/

Their Linked In profiles are accessible to anyone to direct message them for a call for help, whether that’s for a simple chat with someone in a position of leadership who can empathise, for advice on specific emotive subjects such as redundancy or financial worries, or for a more serious call for help. They are there to listen, provide support, and signpost to organisations and other resources as a next step. The key thing is to demonstrate its better to share challenges and work through them than face them alone and suffer the potential consequences.

The feedback to Got Your 6 has been fantastic so far. New volunteer champions are coming forward all the time, and law firm Lester Aldridge has identified it as such as important initiative that they have come on board as sponsor to support its evolution.

Our Champions are receiving calls from those who feel they need us, which is both upsetting, but also reassuring that this is definitely a much-needed initiative.

If you lead a team, run a business, and feel overwhelmed, burnt out, and at times feel incapable to see a clear path ahead then remember GU6 is here to help, as well as the other potential routes of support available, including of course Dorset Mind. It’s whatever works for you but doing nothing should not be an option.

‘Got Your 6’ is another term for ‘having your back’ and comes from WW2 fighter pilots when in flight formation, making sure the pilot in the ‘6’o clock’ position had the back of the plane in front. We all feel a bit like fighter pilots after the year we have had, so the name seemed to fit nicely.

Check out @GU6Dorset #GU6Dorset and the Dorset Chamber link above for resources and more information.

And this week (any week) go hug a tree. You’ll be surprised how good nature feels…..

Stay well,

Liz

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