Today’s columnist, Neil Anderson: Power of talking face to face

Bid for help to ensure Sheffield Blitz sacrifices are remembered by generations to come
Bid for help to ensure Sheffield Blitz sacrifices are remembered by generations to come
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Deciding which media channels to use for a publicity campaign is one of the big dilemmas faced by PR people.

No two projects are the same and it’s now like a military operation pulling them together.

Issues on the planning front haven’t come much bigger than the forthcoming commemoration of the Sheffield Blitz 75th anniversary.

That’s not because of the size of the campaign – it’s the fact that the age range of the target audiences couldn’t be more varied.

Even the youngest of the Sheffield Blitz survivors are now touching 80 years old; anyone that saw active duty is older still – Doug Lightning, who fought the fires in December 1940, for example, is now 97.

Sons and daughters of survivors have their own take on things – they grew up playing in the bombsites that remained around Sheffield in the 1950s and 1960s.

The attacks are now regularly studied at school so there are whole new generations eager for knowledge.

It’s fair to say our campaign to raise awareness and funds to mark the 75th anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz was going to have to mobilise traditional media to cutting edge digital and back again.

I’ve lost track of the talks I’ve done on the subject at venues around the city in the past few months – from age awareness groups to history societies.

Many forget the power of a face-to-face presentation – something that you’ll never achieve with a YouTube clip .

The younger generations might rely on digital communication but good, old-fashioned talking is the lifeblood of Blitz survivors and that was all it took to get the jungle drums in full swing.

Traditional newspapers (the forward-thinking ones are no longer ‘traditional’ by any stretch of the imagination) and broadcast media provided further air cover while their added digital reach gave rise to awareness as far as Germany with a military delegation visiting us only a few weeks ago.

Twitter has the knack of getting your campaign into areas you never expected and it hasn’t failed to deliver so far – check out #SheffieldBlitz75th for progress.

And we’ll soon be unveiling a Sheffield Blitz 75th app thanks to Llama Digital who heard about us in The Star.

Our Heritage Lottery Application has gone in and donations are arriving daily.

Donations to Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trust bank account (account: 52118665 sort code: 54-41-47) – or cheques to Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trust, 88 Abbeydale Road South, Millhouses, Sheffield S7 2QP.

* Neil Anderson, Media Public Relations