Why did I call my PR consultancy Purple Rain? There are many reasons, but before you ask, no, it’s not because I am a massive Prince fan. If I am being honest, I actually prefer ‘Raspberry beret’ from his vast repertoire.
The story begins back in 2006 when I began to work in the communications industry following my passion for writing and photography. Through my experience, I began to appreciate that Public Relations is all about reputation management. Companies, charities and organisations engaged with PR wish to build their reputation, raise their brand awareness to key stakeholders and ultimately grow. Telling stories through the media, online and via networks are all ways to help organisations to mature. Whilst some organisations seek solely to increase sales of their products or services leading to profits, others may be committed to building membership or campaigning for change.
Whilst working in PR agencies in Belfast, I dreamed of one day having my own and in my little black notebook given to me at an Invest NI conference I began to jot down some ideas. I felt the name had to reflect the creativity the industry requires and so from a few options, the name Purple Rain was shortlisted should I ever have the opportunity of setting up on my own as a freelance practitioner.
Purple has for centuries been associated with the higher echelons of society, a colour symbolising not only wealth but high standing in the community. Lydia sold purple cloth in the New Testament Bible. In 1953 HM The Queen Elizabeth II wore a 21-foot purple velvet, Ermine-trimmed Coronation Robe.
Purple’s elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it. Purple fabric used to be so expensive that only rulers could afford it. The dye initially used to make purple came from the Phoenician trading city of Tyre. Fabric traders obtained the dye from a small mollusk that was only found in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea.
I don’t have to tell you that rain, despite how we might object to it at times, it is needed for growth – of seeds, grass, crops and potatoes. I should know, I grew up on a farm. I know the importance of a weather forecast in influencing when to work in a field and in some cases what work to leave for another day. When it hadn’t rained for a long time and eventually came, we were thankful to see it whilst everyone around us might have complained for its inconvenience.
For me, Purple Rain summed up the essence of public relations – helping to nurture, grow and build reputations.
There are some sentimental reasons also why the name affirmed with me. When my mother Joyce married my father John in July 1971 she chose a purple dress for her bridesmaid. When I was growing up, my dad, who sadly passed away last year, used to recite a poem for me, based on the rhyme ‘Jemima Jane’ he learnt in his primary school days. He lovingly adapted the verses for me, as my middle name was Jane. ‘Rebecca Jane, Rebecca Jane, she loved to go out and stand in the rain, she loved to go out and get herself wet, and she had a duck for her favourite pet’. Rebecca Jane, owner of Purple Rain has a nice ring to it.
Stories are the catalyst for PR and with each that are told, they start a journey that begins with awareness and travels via knowledge, interest and preference leading finally to action. Each drop of Purple Rain activity helps clients to tell their stories so they can embark on this journey, growing as they do so, building their reputation with each step. How seriously companies’ take their PR will be reflected in each of the aspects – the bigger the investment, the bigger the preference and actions that will be delivered.
With the recession squeezing the economy, my position as an account manager in a Belfast communications company was made redundant in January 2011. With time on my hands and free business courses at my disposal via Prince’s Trust, Invest NI and local council programme SEED, I set up my own PR consultancy in the spring of 2011. That’s when Purple Rain began its official journey.
Since then, I have sought to build the reputation of all the clients I have had the privilege to have worked with. Through relationships I have built up over the years, I have written press releases, arranged features, managed social media platforms, advised on communications strategy and more recently and after completing training, offered photography services with the aim to better the reputations of those companies I represent.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and do get in touch if you think your business could do with some Purple Rain.
This article was written by purplerain