Establishing, then protecting, a strong, professional corporate identity is a critical part of many public relations campaigns. Hours, sometimes days (or weeks…) of work can go into establishing the correct tone and messaging needed to underpin a campaign.
This is entirely understandable and is definitely recommended: big companies have brands to protect and shareholders to please, and the bigger they get, the more fiercely they guard those brands and reputations.

Sadly, sometimes, this can result in very staid, prosaic copy and content. Functional, but no fun. ‘ctional’, if you will.

The thing is, with the exception of Piers Morgan, we are all just people, talking to other people. And people like to be entertained. Copy should zing, it should have some personality behind it, because if nobody wants to read it, they probably won’t. And then you’ve just wasted your time.

When you work in PR, it’s always a pleasure when a client allows a bit of personality (either theirs or yours) to shine through – which is why it always raises a smile when you see big organisations pull this off.

This week, the Government’s intelligence arm GCHQ was forced to react when artist Banksy took a swipe at the organisation in his traditional style.

I read the article and was fully expecting a ‘no comment’ or, at best, a stuffy response from GCHQ (the public sector can be ten times worse than the biggest corporates when it comes to issuing press responses with any sort of verve) – but what we got was light-hearted and genuinely responsive to the situation.

I’m not saying this represents the height of wit – my sides remained intact throughout – but at least there’s a bit of personality there, and for that alone, they should be applauded.

Here’s the response in full:

A GCHQ spokesperson said: “This is the first time we have ever been asked to comment on art.

“Although we are not qualified critics, we are as intrigued as the rest of the residents of Cheltenham about the appearance of the mysterious artwork.

“For those who are interested, our website gives a glimpse of what modern-day intelligence operatives are really like, although some may be disappointed by the lack of trench coats and dark glasses.”