Some trials & tribulations of PR'ing Exercise TRANSGLOBE!

In response to various comments I have had recently from people not being able to get their heads around TRANSGLOBE and the need for sponsorship and funding and why isn’t the MOD funding the PR etc etc, whilst I understand these reactions, I will always seize an opportunity where I can to help further the PR cause of an initiative that is most certainly deserving support at a time like this when the morale of our armed forces is at such a low ebb.

We (the small team running this Exercise of which I am a part) are of course very aware of the sensitivities surrounding issues such as the reduction in funding compensation claims, the lack of appropriate equipment and the terrible loss of lives, which, to be honest, is a reason why I think that Exercise TRANSGLOBE continues to need PR to help keep what they are doing in perspective.

Some people, having made their points very succinctly, may care to appraise themselves more fully by reading the comprehensive feature article already in the public domain and written by the Project Officer Sqn Ldr Neil Cottrell:

http://www.yachtsponsorship.com/index.php?s=Transglobe

It is the three Services that invest independently in a number of Adventurous Training (AT) activities as a means of developing their personnel so that they are equipped to face the physical and mental demands of operational deployments.  These activities include sailing, mountaineering, gliding and micro-light flying, kayaking, hill walking, windsurfing, sport parachuting, diving, mountain-biking and cycling.  All use equipment provided from a combination of public and non-public funds and are proven to develop confidence, stamina, courage and leadership.

Offshore sailing is administered by the RN on behalf of all three Services and uses publicly funded vessels from 34 feet long to the four Challenge boats at 67ft.  For Exercise TRANSGLOBE the operational costs of using and supporting the boats is part of the agreed, annual budget for AT during the Financial Years 2009/10 and 2010/11.  The MOD does not fund the full cost of travel to and from the destinations where the yachts’ crews will change over, neither does it fund the PR element. We have a number of sponsors involved in this Exercise who are mostly providing equipment in kind rather than funding and whose ‘payback’ includes publicity.  The majority of the cost of airfares is being funded by the personal contribution made by every individual participating in the Exercise supplemented by donations from non-public funds (such as the Services’ Sports Lottery charities) and commercial patronage.

I would also like to address a comment I received when I suggested that someone might like to sponsor or fund continuing the PR –  described by a correspondent as ‘PR fluff about a bunch of armed forces people going for a sail‘.  I am sure they meant this in a general and sweeping-statement-sort-of-way, but as a reputable and highly experienced PR consultant I can’t say that I’m too thrilled at having what I do described as ‘fluff’, especially as much of what I have provided and achieved to date for TRANSGLOBE in terms of my time and contacts has been virtually pro bono. Had I been working in an agency, my time would have been billed out at a minimum rate per day that I’ve not even been earning in a month!

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