Despite the UK’s reliance on the shipping industry, with around 95 per cent of goods reaching our shores via the sea, many people sail through their lives without giving this a second thought. As with many other industries, often the only time the spotlight is shone on the shipping industry is when something goes wrong. Well, we don’t think that’s very fair.
It’s the unfortunate nature of the beast that the day-to-day crucial work of the industry is largely deemed unremarkable by the media and not ‘newsworthy’ enough to warrant covering.
So how do we redress the balance? Simply put, the industry needs to make more of its good news stories and not be afraid to shout about the fantastic work it does.
As part of our work with maritime professionals’ trade union Nautilus International, we recently worked to showcase the hard work seafarers do day in-day out to bring us food, fuel and countless other goods. We created a series of video shorts, aimed at educating the general public with a series of facts and figures that may surprise them, including:
- The world’s merchant fleet is made up of 1.5 million seafarers aboard 90,000 vessels
- The shipping industry contributes £327 billion to the global economy
- In the UK alone, the maritime sector supports more than 250,000 jobs and contributes £11 billion to the economy
- 40 per cent of Britain’s food and 25 per cent of its energy arrives via the sea
Not only does this provide an insight into an often overlooked industry, but it also gets people thinking about how much they unknowingly rely on shipping to go about their daily lives. Proactively working to generate interest and goodwill from the general public while business is running smoothly can lead to enormous benefits if anything were ever to go wrong.
It’s tempting to just carry on as normal, to ‘keep our heads down’ and carry on doing a great job without lauding our own achievements, but this approach won’t bring any benefits if a crisis does ever hit the company or the industry as a whole.
One example of our work showcasing clients’ hard work is a recent anniversary publication for maritime charity Seafarers UK. We pored over 100 years of fascinating archives and worked to create a publication that is not only proud of the past but looks to the future, enabling the charity to celebrate its achievements while raising awareness of its ongoing good work.
But it’s not all about flaunting our accomplishments – sometimes we need to ensure the right voice rises above the noise to make an important point heard. With Brexit looming on the horizon, this is a tumultuous time for the nation at large – and shipping is no exception. Shipping and port bosses have recently warned Theresa May that the current two-year Brexit transition period will not be enough to ensure “frictionless” trade continues in docks across the country. By crafting a communications strategy that gives key people in the industry the chance to be heard, we can ensure our key messages get across to the decision makers we need to influence.
As this week marks London International Shipping Week, there’s never been a better time to take a look at your communications strategy and see if you’re merely treading water or going full steam ahead.
Why not get in touch with us to see if we can lend a helping hand?