David Rowe had come to talk to us about a £141 million pound project from Boldover Pit in St Austell. How this project had attracted over 11 million visitors since it opened in 2001, visitors who come in all sizes, ages and backgrounds for more different reasons one could mention. That is a lot to talk about.
Rowe explained that Eden Project was so much more than greenhouses, it had steadily grown into a successful brand, being 39th out of 500, also being an educational charity it easily stays on the right side of many organisations as it is profiting for purpose, a purpose that most agree with.
So you would think it easy to do Rowe’s job? Actually no, it seems as though Rowe may have one of the hardest jobs; yes it is goodwill, but how does goodwill get into the published media?
He used the example of ‘the seed’ sculpture that now lives in the middle of the educational centre. It was created over two years of work, but media still lacked interest despite efforts. It was the last day when the ‘seed’ was being installed into the centre when Rowe managed to get a ‘media scrum’ and the ‘eyewitness’ double page spread in The Guardian.
Rowe smiled as he gave us this information. It took one message to get the sleepy journalists to come running to Eden to report on a sculpture none of them cared about before; Rowe just told them all about the danger of putting the sculpture in. Bad news sells, so mentioning that bad news could come will make people want to be there. An interesting tip if morale on a campaign gets low.
His second and most reiterated point that he used many examples for was friendship. PR is about knowing who is who in the media world, and having good relations with them. A friendship with a high profile journalist in Sun motors managed to gain Rowe a free spread worth £150 thousand from a little intriguing story.
Knowing what to give to who is a very important line of PR.