Vicky Fairclough: Get as much experience as you can

 Beautiful,ever-cheerful and smiling, Victoria Fairclough is a people's person- the type of person you want to be around. She carries an aura of radiance that is very contagious. Besides having an admirable personality, she has an impressive profile with career history as a communicative executive with over 14 years experience. This includes a complimentary 3 years in Television production.

 She also has proven success within both agency and in-house, industry experience spanning in corporate reputation, broadcasting and media, entertainment, film and television, technology, FCMG and consumer.

Vicky is the go-to-person for heavy-weight consumer, consumer PR campaigns, communication strategies, corporate communications and reputation management, social media , internal communications, promotions, events organising, celebrity talent and stakeholder management, programme publicity and CSR projects.

It might interest you to know that 'Vicky' as she is fondly called, serves as my mentor in the media industry under the Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women. Being under her tutelage has been a priviledge, it is not easy to have a person genuinely interested in your professional and personal development. In the course of my work and relationship with her, I have learnt the values of proper time management, business planning/strategies and having the right attitude.

Despite her busy schedule, Vicky obliged Omote Ro Dhe for a chat and shared her wealth of experience/wisdom nuggets from her career path, passion for women, fashion taste, personal life and more.

Read excerpts below:

*You are a passionate and results-oriented communication executive with over 14 years experience, what drives you?

Generating great results and feeling appreciated and valued. My instinct is that most people want to do their best and be appreciated for it - it’s a universal human trait.

*What does Public Relations mean to you?

Communications comes in all shapes and sizes - and the advent of social media continues to evolve how we interact with each other - for better or worse. Public relations are a way for companies, brands or people to proactively and reactively manage and protect their reputation. Good public relations rely on a positive relationship with journalists and other influencers to shine the brightest light possible on a news story. It’s a nuanced skill with a high return-on-investment which isn’t always fully understood or valued. In my, obviously biased opinion, while advertising can give n instant increase in sales, good public relations can give a brand long-term credible value and desirability.

* Why Public relations? If you had an alternative, which job would you do that you know you can do so well?

I started my career making TV programmes which is still the best job I’ve ever had! I actually wanted to work in film and I felt TV was a good route in. I loved working in TV - making programmes is fun from start to finish - and you get to work with incredibly talented and creative people. I worked my way up through the ranks from junior runner to an Assistant Producer which was satisfying and flattering. I moved from the production side to PR as there were fewer and fewer permanent jobs in TV - and PR was similar but different so I got to use the same skills and do more writing which I love. A creative writing job would be my dream role.

*Do you encounter challenges in the workplace? How did you overcome?

I’m a firm believer that people are the root of most joy and most of the problems we experience in life! I deal with challenges on a daily basis at work and I find if you have a good working relationship with people across your business, external stakeholders and influencers most issues can be resolved quickly and pain-free. For those tricky people - having an honest and open conversation about the mutually beneficial best way to work together usually irons out any wrinkles. Knowledge is no longer the key to success - its personal relationships. If you don’t spend time nurturing your working relationships and improving your emotional intelligence - you will never truly succeed in the workplace.

* What are key skills needed to communicate a client's message?

Clarity and thorough business knowledge are essential skills. You need to be able to understand the business and what it stands for - to be a credible articulate spokesperson. To do this you need a good relationship with clients so you can pull out all the key details and stay up-to-date with business news and challenges. You need to be able to understand their business inside-out so you can tell their story articulately, clearly and with authenticity.

*How can a PR professional be successful in producing great content and leveraging it on social media?

You need to be clear about your target audience - and ensure your content is relevant to them. There isn’t a one size fits all approach. Tailor your content to be engaging and relevant to those you want to speak to - and ensure you’re using the appropriate channels to share that content. Also offer some taster content for free - your audience needs to feel that you have a bigger purpose beyond just trying to taking their money. Share some of your content to give them an accurate view of your product / service so they can build genuine brand affinity and feel confident that you’re offering what they need and stand for something that deserves their time, attention and money.

* Which social media channel do you use mostly and why?

For my job, I keep an eye on most of the channels and try out the new ones too. For personal use, I mainly use Instagram which is linked to my Facebook page. It’s really down to personal preference and what you want to use it for.

*What do you love mostly about your job?

I like the variety - I never know where a day, week or job might take me and who I might meet. I’ve worked with film stars, models, Olympic gold medallists and some inspirational business leaders.

*How do you relax? Any favourite travel destination?

I read books, go to the cinema, go running or Netflix and chill! My favourite destination is Devon in the south west of England. It has beautiful English green rolling countryside with coastline and sparkling cobalt sea views.

*Why do seek to mentor women in their career path?

I believe we should all help and support one another - and that it’s important to give back and share your knowledge and skills with others. In my experience, women tend to struggle more than men with getting a mentor or sponsor for their career - so I feel it’s doubly important for women to support and elevate each other.

* What is that fashion item you love dearly?

Well I’m not at all a cool fashionista (!) and I tend to spend my money on experiences and rent rather than high fashion, but I do have navy winter coat with red trim that bought last year from Boden which I always feel really smart wearing.

* Describe your personal style

Clean, elegant and classy.

* Favourite mantra
Leap and the net will appear.

* Any advice for those looking up to you in the PR industry?

Get as much as experience as you can - most PR agencies offer work experience so give it a try - and learn on the job. Also make sure you understand the media landscape - newspapers, magazines, trade, specialist publications, social, online, TV etc - and the wider industry you’re working in e.g. fashion, music, food etc. You need to be able to evaluate all of these elements and piece them together to decide what kind of news story is relevant and impactful for these publications and their audience. Be clear on your objectives for a campaign - and always understand your target audience. 


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