Sally Osman, Paddy Haverson and the Royal PR machine

Today marks a momentous day for Sally Osman, who, in June, will take on the role of Communications Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

Whilst researching my book, The Fame Formula, which examined the PR legends of Hollywood, a pattern started to emerge: the very best publicists in the game were not taking on the A-listers as one might expect. Although such individuals can offer a publicist great collateral, they are dangerous. The wisest publicists are always wary of stepping into warm shoes.

When Jay Bernstein – who represented names like Sammy Davis Jr and Farrah Fawcett – looked back over his career and those he could have represented, he noted that there is always a reason why someone leaves a big job, and you will be judged by your predecessor’s success.

When a brand is successful, it’s important to take a hard look at who’s representing them.

Paddy Haverson, who took on the position in 2004 was a prudent and wise PR who knew how to harness the worst of times, turning them into stimulus for fairer weather.  will be a tough act for Osman to follow – he was an inspired choice, and in the nine years he spent in the role, managed to turn the media’s perception of the Royals completely on its head. His representation was almost near-faultless.

Osman and Haverson share a great set of contacts, wonderful relations and both are clever planners and execute decisive action. Success is a result of good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience is earned through poor judgment.

I rate Sally Osman, she is a strong PR, but she has a big challenge ahead of her. She has big shoes to fill, perfecting how to say ‘no’ to numerous requests, and potentially making a lot of enemies along the way. She will know all this, and I wish her every success in the new position.

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