Most Trailblazing PR Tech Leaders Making Waves in ...

Amber Daines: Mastering the Art of Strategic Communication

Most Trailblazing PR Tech Leaders Making Waves in Industry

In the world where communication is constant, Amber Daines has become a leader with both experience and agility, for over 26 years. She’s not just a Founder and Crisis Communications Expert; she’s the storyteller of resilience, the navigator of complex PR waters, and the architect of helping others build, maintain and repair their reputations.

Amber is not your typical media relations practitioner; she’s a licensed and award-winning media trainer, a former international business journalist who once wielded the keyboard and camera, and a PR strategist with over 12 years expertise in high-stakes crisis communications campaigns. Her journey has been a tapestry woven through the corridors of power, from boardrooms facing the storm of the Banking Royal Commission to the internal restructuring of ASX listed companies and national associations.

Across several continents and through the ebb and flow of geopolitical landscapes, Amber’s strategic skills have been honed in a range of agencies and media outlets as well as inside government organisations, not for profit groups, and corporates. She’s not just a consultant; she’s a global connector, drawing strength from her extensive network nurtured in Australia, Asia, the USA, UK, and Europe.

But Amber’s story is not just about crises averted; it’s a narrative of using communications as a tool of empowerment. She has been the guiding force for hundreds of CEOs and business leaders, a sage who shapes PR strategies, refines stakeholder relations, and hones business communications for both the present and the horizon.

From award-winning journalist to sought-after crisis whisperer, Amber has lent her expertise to an illustrious list of organizations, including the giants of finance, technology, and healthcare. Her brainchild, Bespoke Co., born in 2007, isn’t just an agency; it’s a haven for B2B PR where earned media and leadership profiles ascend to new heights.

Agility in PR

Founded in 2017, Bespoke Co., previously known as Bespoke Communications, had modest beginnings, starting with a single beauty client and only $1,000 in the bank. The venture took flight when its founder, Amber, decided to leave a secure full-time position in marketing and fundraising at the age of 30. Initially drawn to PR freelancing and writing to explore new possibilities, she discovered her passion for running her own PR agency, leveraging her media connections and news sense developed during her time as a journalist.

During the early years, traditional media played a predominant role, and social and digital media were in their infancy. This positioning proved advantageous as clients sought a combination of traditional and emerging media channels. The evolving landscape now demands a keen understanding of various digital communication platforms, necessitating agility in adapting to emerging technologies.

Earning media coverage remains a significant achievement for Bespoke Co., and the company excels in securing exposure for its clients. As the business landscape evolves, Bespoke Co. adapts by embracing emerging platforms and maximising digital communication strategies, from live TV interviews to podcasts to blogs and videos. Despite the transformative journey, the company continues to uphold the importance of securing meaningful earned media coverage as a pillar of its offering.

Amber reflects on her unexpected entrepreneurial journey, acknowledging the steep learning curve. Seeking guidance from a range of PR experts, mentors and business coaches, she unlocked her purpose and focused on what she had to offer. Continuous learning and mentorship remain integral to Bespoke Co.’s growth and evolution, reflecting a commitment to staying informed and inspired in the dynamic field of public relations.

Media Training Redefined

At Bespoke Co., Amber and her team specializes in holistic business-to-business communications, offering services such as crisis PR, training, and reputation building across various industries. Notable clients include Westpac, eBay, AMP, Qantas, Booktopia, and Sephora, as well as non-profits like The Australian Water Association and Wesley Mission.

What sets Bespoke Co. apart is its holistic approach to crisis management, focusing on creating long-term resilience for companies and leaders. Amber and her team provide roadmaps out of crises, ensuring accountability and preventing the recurrence of similar problems.

One unique aspect of Bespoke Co.’s services is bespoke media training conducted by her and a team of seasoned ex-journalists who bring a credible understanding of how to deliver successful media interviews. Unlike formulaic approaches, the training is customized to clients’ campaign goals.

Amber’s dedication to staying ahead in the public relations industry is evident in the launch of two innovative products since 2021. The first is podcast training, drawing on her experience hosting the successful ‘Politics of Everything’ podcast. The workshops help clients produce their own content, providing control over messaging and communication.

The second product, set to launch in 2024, is an ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) tool named ‘ESG4PR.’ This world-first innovation enables smaller companies to benchmark and measure their communications performance in ESG matters. Addressing a critical need, the tool allows companies to evaluate and communicate their performance in areas like diversity, sustainability, and philanthropy, offering objective measurements and benchmarks for comparison.

Amber believes that ESG4PR not only addresses a universal problem across industries but also helps businesses stay ahead in reputation management. The tool provides insights into areas where companies may be lagging, allowing them to rectify issues before they become public problems. This forward-focused, holistic approach reflects Amber’s commitment to shaping the future of PR and communications.

PR for Every Industry

Amber highlights that while Bespoke Co. operates in various sectors, its core expertise lies in business communications. The firm excels in leveraging ideas to the media, shaping opinions for decision-making opportunities, and ensuring that people remain central to the stories clients wish to tell. This emphasis on effective communication is consistent regardless of the industry a business operates in.

Many clients approach Bespoke Co. without prior PR expertise, often considering communication as a ‘soft skill.’ Amber emphasizes that in today’s 24/7 media world, the way a brand and its leaders communicate is crucial for longevity. While financial and strategic skills are valuable, the ability to convey messages, handle difficult announcements such as layoffs, communicate post-crisis changes, or deliver news with empathy, kindness, and empowerment is equally vital.

Amber’s perspective underscores the importance of effective communication not just as a skill but as a fundamental element that contributes to a brand’s endurance and success in a dynamic media landscape.

Media Mastery

In an era dominated by digital and social media, media relations might be perceived as outdated. However, Amber, recognized as Australia’s most awarded media trainer, emphasizes the enduring relevance and rarity of media relations as a skill. Having trained nearly 6000 leaders across diverse sectors, Bespoke Co. focuses on effectively managing media interviews, whether for crisis campaigns or new product launches.

With a clear understanding of their niche and leveraging 12 years of experience in crisis and issues management, Bespoke Co. has established a robust crisis communications division. This division provides support to entities ranging from major banks to charities, guiding boards and executives through crises. The agency ensures clarity on necessary steps and aligns communication strategies with their activities.

Recognizing the constant access to information and images through social media, Bespoke Co. emphasizes the nonstop role businesses play in managing their PR effectively via digital tools like LinkedIn or TikTok. Regardless of the platform, creating a connection is the starting point for successful PR strategies. Bespoke Co.’s expertise lies in navigating this evolving landscape, offering valuable insights and support in media relations and crisis communications.

Technology, Sustainability, and Human Expertise

In navigating the evolving landscape of media and communications, Amber ensures that Bespoke Co. benefits from an intergenerational workforce, tapping into diverse experiences and ideas to employ both cutting-edge technology and time-tested insights. Recognizing the need for more sustainable and equitable ways of working, the continuous refinement of Bespoke Co., guided by Amber’s vision, aligns with a commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations.

The development of the ESG4PR tool reflects Amber’s belief in the importance of communicating ESG factors effectively to stakeholders. This digital tool is designed to democratize ESG communications, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that may not afford extensive benchmarking exercises. It aims to enhance the impact of businesses on the planet, people, and profit lines.

While acknowledging the opportunities presented by technology and AI for increased efficiency, Amber emphasizes the irreplaceable role of human ingenuity, ideas, and expertise, even in the face of tools like ChatGPT. Looking ahead, she embraces the transformative potential of the PR landscape in the coming decade, foreseeing advancements such as the rise of self-directed digital newsrooms for companies.

Bespoke Co. remains committed to striking the ideal balance between leveraging technology and maintaining a human-led approach. Understanding technology as a foundational element in its operations, the company underscores the significance of human insights, analysis, and expertise in delivering exceptional PR services. By aligning technological advancements with its core values, Bespoke Co. aims to meet the evolving needs of its clients, solidifying its position as a trusted and impactful partner in the PR industry.

Sustainable Growth Through Collaboration and Continuous Learning

When it comes to prioritizing and identifying opportunities for sustainable growth within the industry, Amber emphasizes the importance of a collaborative approach. Clients actively contribute to shaping the direction of Bespoke Co. by expressing their needs and expectations. The agency strives to incorporate these client insights while also crafting ideas that reflect best practices in media management and digital marketing.

To stay at the forefront of industry trends and best practices, Bespoke Co. actively participates in workshops and seminars. This commitment to continuous learning ensures that the agency remains adaptable and evolves in its operations to meet the changing demands of the market. By combining client input with a proactive approach to staying informed, Bespoke Co. positions itself to identify sustainable growth opportunities and provide innovative solutions within the dynamic landscape of media and communications.

More Meaningful and Impactful Campaigns with ESG Focus

Amber’s future vision for Bespoke Co. is centred around making clients’ campaigns more meaningful. The agency is willing to put in the necessary work, leveraging the right technology, to ensure that clients’ campaigns have a lasting impact. This commitment to meaningful and impactful work aligns with Bespoke Co.’s ethos of continuous refinement and improvement.

The development of the new ESG tool, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, further exemplifies Amber’s core belief. She sees these considerations as the bedrock of any successful business. The ESG tool is designed to address the importance of communicating effectively about environmental, social, and governance aspects, recognizing their significance in today’s business landscape.

This forward-looking vision reflects Bespoke Co.’s dedication to staying at the forefront of industry developments, integrating technology where needed, and consistently refining its approach to meet the evolving needs of clients in the dynamic world of media and communications.

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