Interview: Louise Robertshaw

The head of communications and campaigns at Guide Dogs says comms professionals need to believe in their brand and be passionate about the cause

Louise Robertshaw
Louise Robertshaw

- Describe your role

My responsibilities include brand and creative services, internal and external communications, digital media and public affairs.

- What challenges do you face getting press coverage for the charity?

Our amazing guide dogs and cute pups do a sterling job of getting the charity press coverage. However, we have struggled in the past to get the media to see beyond the fluffy dog stories and take us seriously as a campaigning organisation.

- What are you currently working on?

An ITV documentary, Me and My Guide Dog, which was broadcast this month, has already had a dramatic impact for Guide Dogs by reaching new beneficiaries and supporters. Every day in the UK someone goes blind, and the programme educated viewers about what it is like to live with sight loss and how our support can bring back the sense that life is for living.

We are now working with the TV production company to secure a mini-series that follows the litter of 11 puppies as they are trained to become life-transforming guide dogs.

After a successful year with our Dog Attacks campaign, we are now also ramping up two transport campaigns.

We are also making the final plans for Guide Dogs Week 2013 - our annual awareness week in October.

- How do you think charity comms will change in the next 12 months?

As the age of austerity continues, comms departments will continue to be challenged to make more impact for their organisations with ever-decreasing budgets. Of course, this links to the exponential growth in digital, so making the best use of content across both online and offline is vital.

- What advice can you offer other comms professionals who want to work in the sector?

Believe in the brand and be passionate about the cause. But most of all, you need perseverance and persistence.

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