10th Feb 2014
“When I joined, there were many misconceptions about London’s Air Ambulance, including that we are fully funded by the NHS or a flying patient transportation service,” says Siobhra Murphy, Head of PR & Communications. In 2011, she became the first in-house member of staff dedicated purely to communicating the key messages via PR and marketing.
Siobhra oversees all aspects of the London’s Air Ambulance brand, from managing PR campaigns to marketing collateral and everyday management of the charity’s digital channels, including the website and social media.
“Before I joined, the charity’s communication with stakeholders was managed by external agencies. The operational staff simply wouldn't have the time to sit down with an agency and answer their questions every time, let’s say, a journalist needed information.
“I believe PR is the most powerful way to educate people about the charity and update our supporters on the latest news and developments. It is about transparency and letting people know how their money is making a difference.
“People value a good article that has been written independently by a journalist over any piece of advertising. In January, the news about our 25th anniversary was all over BBC London and in almost every London publication — from the front page of the City AM to the London Evening Standard and Metro. It would cost a fortune to advertise in these publications.
“The coverage we generated around the 25th anniversary was unprecedented. We were never able to do this before. It shows how supportive the journalists are of our charity. It is important for us that the journalists are aware of the key facts - that we are a charity; that we deliver an advanced trauma team to critically injured patient’s side; and that we are renowned for clinical excellence and pioneering procedures world-wide. Understanding the charity means that they will report on us correctly and come to us for our comment.
“There are many charities people can choose to support and education is key for informed decisions. Not everyone knows that trauma is the most common cause of death for people aged under 45. We want people to know what a difference London’s Air Ambulance can make for someone who is critically injured.
“It is my job to get these messages to as many people as possible. It’s great to have a big successful campaign but little everyday things can make a massive difference as well. Like a tweet from an ex-patient that only comes up when you search for relevant keywords on Twitter. That is how we got in contact with Emma and many other ex-patients, who have done so much to help us further spread awareness of the charity.” Watch Emma’s video
“We can’t talk to everyone personally, I wish we could, and without understanding and support from the public, London’s Air Ambulance wouldn’t be able to continue its service. Whether it is a video, an article or simply a social media post, helping us spread the word about the charity is a valuable form of support anyone can afford to give.
“I feel very lucky to do this as a job, it is the most humbling and rewarding experience.”