Milton Keynes: A lack of profile simply adds to the invisibility of shipping, suggests a leading PR professional in today’s Maritime CEO profile. Jean Winfield is the managing director of her own company, Jeanius Consulting.
Winfield’s background has always been a mix of PR, marketing and sales, the last 12years being specifically maritime – “an industry I now couldn’t possibly leave,” she says. Having previously co-owned another maritime PR and publishing company and been director of the highly successful inaugural London International Shipping Week 2013, she sold her interest and launched Jeanius Consulting last year.
Winfield set up Jeanius Consulting with a view to offering a slightly different service to what’s already out there, incorporating a greater sales perspective for clients.
“I’m a strong believer in PR/marketing and sale strategies running in tandem as part of a company’s proactive business development programme,” she explains.
Winfield says the shipping industry, by and large, has a “sceptical” perception of PR, most believing it is something they can do without, until, that is, they find themselves at the negative end of a press story.
“The industry and the companies that make up the maritime sector need to be continually pro-active in promoting themselves which takes hard work and persistence but can bring some real tangible business results,” she says, adding: “Encouraging the whole industry, company by company, to embrace PR means there is both a certainty of increasing public awareness and an encouragement of a growing openness about the important role shipping plays globally.”
Winfield says she has seen very little progress in openness among shipowners and operators in the 12 years she has been in the sector with the exception of some publicly listed firms.
This cloak of invisibility does nothing to help the global economy understand the crucial role shipping plays, she points out.
Maritime supporting and service industries have done slightly better and have begun to embrace PR and media perhaps, Winfield says, because of it being such competitive global marketplace these days. “However,” she maintains, “it’s still all rather ad-hoc with companies seeing it as a cost and extravagance rather than an investment.” [07/05/14]