Beyond the brand | Amanda Coleman

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Amanda Coleman is a crisis communication specialist and the director and founder of crisis communication consultancy Amanda Coleman Communication Ltd. Based in the UK, she has more than 20 years’ experience in crisis and emergency communication. In ‘beyond the brand’, Amanda shares her career, business and personal interests.

The industry

Why did you pursue a career in public relations and communications?

I have always loved words which was why my first job was as a journalist. I then became aware of PR which was not something I had considered before. Once I started working in PR and saw the impact that it can have, I was hooked. 

What areas within the industry are you most interested in (currently)?

I am obsessed with crisis communication, risk communication and reputation management. After more than 20 years in police communication I see the importance of effective crisis communication. It is when we can help people who are dealing with the worst moments in their lives. 

How has public relations and communications changed since you first started working in the industry?  

When I first started working in PR the Internet was on one computer in the corner of the room. We were still faxing news releases and sending out photographs. A lot has changed particularly when you look at the impact of AI. There are some fundamental principles and approaches that never change but the technology has given us a lot as well as created some headaches. 

What trends are you seeing that pose the biggest opportunity or threat to the industry?

The biggest area of concern for me is the trust deficit. People are increasingly cynical and do not believe what organisations are saying. Trust takes years to gain and seconds to lose. I worry that PR and communication professionals will be adding to this problem. The situation is only going to get worse with the impact of AI. We do have an opportunity to shine a light on these problems to those leading organisations and businesses.

Leadership and management

What do you believe makes a company a great place to work in? 

They value their staff and are prepared to listen to what they have to say. They create a culture that is inclusive and values the differences that people bring. If they can get this right internally then they are more likely to be able to treat customers or service users with respect.

Do you work in an office, remotely or have a hybrid model? What is your preference, and why?

I enjoy working from home and having the luxury of a home office that I operate from. It is great to go and work with teams when I get the chance. 

What is your leadership or management style?

I would like to think that I would empower people to be able to do their best without micromanaging them. But I know I am a bit of a control freak, so it was always a difficult thing to manage. Now I try to be as supportive as possible whenever I am mentoring or coaching people. 

What key skill or characteristic do you look for when hiring new people?

I always looked for people who really wanted to make a difference in the work they do. If they love people and communication, then they were what I was looking for. Crisis communication needs people who are committed to it. 


What is your favourite book or movie?

It depends on what mood I am in. I love The Godfather 1 and 2 but quite like the Mission Impossible films that you can just switch off and watch. I love films but have missed out on quite a few over the years so I am catching up. I usually love whatever book I am currently reading, which at the minute is The Incredible Events in Women’s Cell Number 3 written by Kira Yarmysh, Alexei Navalny’s press secretary. 

Would you welcome a digital detox for a week or approach it with caution? 

I really don’t think I could do it. I do switch off from time to time but enjoy how connected I can be particularly for family, friends and work. 

Do you prefer sun holidays or city breaks?

I definitely prefer the city breaks and really love Norway. I am learning Norwegian and was able to try it out on the poor people of Oslo during my last trip. 

If you won the lotto what would you do?

I would make sure family and friends are comfortable and have a few charities that I would support. After that I would have a house full of animals and possibly a flat in Oslo. Not that I have thought much about it!