Sir Bobby Keeps his Promises – Does your Agency?

I was delighted to see Sir Bobby Charlton honoured by Manchester United at the weekend with a stand named after him

He is without doubt one of the true legends of British sport.

I’m not a Man U fan but having met Sir Bobby back in 2005 while reporting on London’s Olympic bid I’ve been an admirer of his.

As a young (ish) reporter I got to ask Sir Bobby a few questions while he was accompanying members of the International Olympic Committee around an exhibition in Wembley. He was showing the IOC’s decision makers what the ‘new’ Wembley Stadium would like.

As we chatted a school steel band was playing in the background. They were local kids and I asked Sir Bobby what he thought of the music. ‘Smashing.’

He genuinely seemed to enjoy it having already chatted with the kids and then he added; ‘If we win the Olympic bid I’ve promised them a visit to Old Trafford on a match day.’

I thought no more of it. Went away wrote up my piece on his visit and included his comment about the local kids going up to Manchester.

A couple of months or so later it was announced London was to host the 2012 Olympics.

Sir Bobby sprung to mind. I remembered his promise. Keen to get a feel good follow up story I rang his office and left a message with his secretary (back then it was surprisingly easy to do). To be honest I didn’t expect a reply.

The next morning my colleague Ben who had zero interest in football put a call through to me saying ‘it’s some bloke called Bobby Carlton or something like that.’

It was Sir Bobby. I nervously reminded him of the Wembley visit and what he said about getting the local musicians up to Old Trafford if the Olympic bid was succesful. I’ll always remember his reply. “Well I made the young uns a promise and I’ll keep it. Just get the school to contact my secretary and we’ll get it all arranged.”

And they did. The kids got to visit Manchester and watch a game. The man is pure class.

Sir Bobby kept his promise and I came across a great bit of PR and marketing from an agent recently who clearly outlines his agency’s promises to clients.

He set out what his company would do for people they worked for and what they could expect from his agency.

I’ve seen this kind of thing before and have worked with agencies to create theirs.

Whether it’s a customer charter or similar type pledge I’m always surprised how few agencies, or indeed businesses, encapsulate what they are about in just a few lines.

Obviously it’s one thing to make a promise but another thing to keep it as Sir Bobby showed with all the style and good grace he displayed throughout his stellar playing career.

While you probably won’t get a football stand named after you, by keeping your agency’s promises you should go a long way to building a good reputation in your local markets.

Thanks for reading and here’s to your next instruction.


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