I had a very pleasant dinner last night hosted by Xero Accounting and Shine Communications. Afterwards I remembered an incident with Shine, in which the PR executive managed to get an entire page article placed in the Guardian through me. She did it not by pitching massively hard but by listening.
This is years ago. We met at a London club for lunch, and she talked me through her clients. One of those at the time was Sony Playstation, the gadget must have been a year old or so by then. She was keen to pitch games, games and more games.
Except I wasn’t a computer games player. I’m still not other than time wasting on the iPhone.
So she did her job, talked me through a few things and happened to mention a musician – Nitin Sawhney – who’d written the music that went with one particular game.
Sawnhey was one of my favourite “world” musicians (I hate the expression “world music”, where do the others play?). Still is. Legitimate musicians writing game soundtracks sounded new.
So I had the idea of writing a piece on whether we’d reached a tipping point. Was the game soundtrack about to become as legit as movie soundtracks?
To her massive credit, the PR person abandoned all of her preconceptions about getting me to write about games generally and agreed to try to set up an interview with Sawnhey himself. She did so, I pitched the idea to the Guardian and you can still see the result on the website here.
The point was that instead of sticking to her script, something a lot of people in the business do, the PR person listened to me and realised I was engaged by what she said. She had enough wit about her to realise the piece I was sketching out in my mind might not be the coverage she’d envisaged but it was very much in her client’s favour.
It was apparent last night that the company remembered the incident well. And I’m not surprised – communication is what the job’s supposed to be about.