About Jo-ann Robertson

Jo-ann Robertson is the CEO of Ketchum London. Her areas of expertise includes strategic media relations, crisis and issues management, stakeholder relations, corporate reputation management, and government relations. Jo-ann is a connoisseur of fine shoes and loves baton twirling. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @RedRobertino

Author Archive | Jo-ann Robertson

Listen up to be a great leader.

Want to become a better leader? Stop talking and start listening.

I’ll be honest from the get-go. Listening is not my preferred option, I prefer talking. I am a person who likes to speak up, have my say, come up with solutions. Those who know me know I am a strong personality who is confident to weigh in on an idea and that I am not shy in being vocal about what I believe in.

And that’s not a bad thing.

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Storyworks.me: Leading Through Turbulent Times

Political uncertainty leads to economic uncertainty, which, in turn, leads to business uncertainty as people fear for their job security and the future success of their company. What people want, and need, during tough times is strong leadership.

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Everything Changes, but Everything Remains the Same

One of the first lessons I learned when I started working in communications in the early 2000s was that successful business or brand campaigns were no different to political campaigns. What are the key ingredients?

A powerful vision/purpose
Clear objectives
Simple messages
Great spokespeople
Rapid rebuttal

Much has been made about the digital and social revolution, but the ingredients above are exactly the same. In fact, the evolution of technology and the sophistication of social networks should make much of the ‘traditional’ approach easier. That’s why when I read this article from the Conservative Party digital team about their top 7 tips from the 2015 General Election campaign, I thought, really… that’s it!

But then I realised that although this approach, and these tips, are in many ways obvious – there are very few companies or brands that are doing it successfully. Why is that? Well l have a few thoughts:

1. Businesses or brands haven’t done the hard work to get to the right strategy and messages. Without this, always-on will just be noise. So do the hard work up-front and reap the benefits.

2. Always-on campaigning can be seen as time-consuming and expensive. It doesn’t have to be. With the right strategy, messages, and team, it can be cheaper AND get you a stronger ROI than one off campaigns.

3. Content, content, content. The need for visual content to capture audience’s attention has never been as important as it is today. Again, this doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be creative and smart. So ensure you have a visual team member at the heart of the operation, not as a nice to have.

If you want to succeed in today’s 24/7, short-attention span, crowded environment – then you have to be in campaigning mode. The three steps above will put you on the front-foot. Do it, and you will see a difference in your results. Don’t do it, and you will be left behind.

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A Modern Labour Fit to Govern

The Labour Party should not be surprised at the situation it currently finds itself in. When you have a leader that doesn’t connect with people, a strategy that people don’t understand, and policies that appeal to a minority of the electorate, then another term in opposition should have been (and was by many) expected.

But all is not lost. Although the Conservatives won a majority of MPs, they haven’t captured the mood of the country. Therefore, if Labour can do what it should have done five years ago and honestly reflect on what the Party needs to do to reconnect with voters, we could win a majority in 2020.

What will that take?

A fresh look at the Labour Party’s identity and a reinvention of Labour values for Britain in 2020
A fresh leader from the 2010 intake from outside London who has a vision for the Labour Party and the country
A manifesto for change that is rooted in equality of opportunity, championing aspiration, and rewarding success

Labour can win again. But the choices the membership make over the next weeks and months will dictate if the win will be in 2020, 2025, or 2030.

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60 Seconds with Ketchum: Protecting Corporate Reputation

Interested in protecting your business reputation when faced with complex and difficult issues, such as tax? Ketchum London’s Jo-ann Robertson provides some top tips in 60 seconds.

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60 Seconds With Ketchum: How do You Influence the Influencers?

Interested in influencing the influencers and getting them excited about your brand, but don’t know where to start? Jo-ann Robertson, Partner and MD of Corporate and Public Affairs in London, shares her tips on harnessing the power of 3rd party endorsement and getting the business results you need.

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60 Seconds with Ketchum: Being Prepared for a Crisis

Be prepared or prepare to fail. When dealing with a crisis, your business needs a strong leader, team and crisis response plan to come out on top. Never suffer another disastrous communications effort in crisis again! Check out top-tips for handling any catastrophe that may hit your business.

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What is the Perfect Crisis Response Team?

I recently spoke at a conference co-hosted by Ketchum Pleon London and PRMoment.com on “How Should Brands Prepare for a Social Media Crisis” (2 February 2012) alongside in-house communications specialists from HSBC, O2 (Telefonica) and eBay, and wanted to share a few highlights from my presentation on the perfect crisis response team.

The first thing to say is that a perfect crisis response team doesn’t exist. Every situation will require different skills, expertise and personalities – so it is important to be flexible. Often the most obvious team is probably not the best one! As you would expect, the team should be composed of communications professionals, but also has should include legal, HR, operations, and subject matter experts as part of the mix. Just because someone doesn’t have the ‘right’ title, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right skills and temperament, in a crisis you need the best people for the job.

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