Why Cumulus? by Ben Starkie

If you're looking for a reason to hire us, this is not the page for you. Go here

If you're looking for more information about where the name Cumulus comes from then look no further. Goodness knows why you care, but in case you do...

I can think of no more fitting metaphor for Communications than the cloud. Cumulus is defined as a "cloud forming rounded masses heaped on each other above a flat base at fairly low altitude... Origin: mid 17th century (denoting a heap or an accumulation), from the Latin, ‘heap’".

Strategic communications is like a cloud - formless, insubstantial, ever-present, constantly moving and changing shape according to current conditions, piling up to build something beautiful, sky-high ambitious. 

Clear skies? New opportunities? A product, service or person whose reputation needs building? Clouds on the horizon? Stormy outlook? An issue or crisis to handle? Cumulus has the answer whatever the weather.


PR Defined by Ben Starkie


So let's start with the beginning. What terms do we use for what we do?

We offer a service, so on a day-to-day basis it matters little what people call it as long as we serve well. If you offer a service you better be humble. If your service concerns communications, humble isn't enough: you'd better be invisible. You're the storyteller, not the story. 

But given that this is Cumulus' blog, I get to indulge myself for a moment. Defining what we do is important. Those few people who have taken the time properly to understand the subtleties of our profession, realise this. That the influence and discretion we exert, is powerful. Those who haven't or don't, just need educating.  

So let's start with the beginning: we don't do PR. We do Communications. For simplicity, we've defined it as PR, digital and media. But as you'll see, this is wholly inadequate. 

PR: This stands for public relations. Not press release. I said not press release. And it doesn't mean media relations, or events, or seminars or white papers. It means all these things and none of them. Because it is what is says: public relations. In theory, that includes any activity that involves a relationship with the public, including social media engagement.  In practice, people understand it to mean traditional media relations (print, online and broadcast). It bothers me that I have to describe what I do as PR so people start upon an understanding of what we do. But it's a fact of life. Even this website is optimized for the term PR. Dammit.  

Digital: Anything online is digital. Digital is also shorthand for online advertising, social media activities and influencer relations. And lots of other stuff. It's pretty catch-all.

Media: And if you thought terms couldn't get any broader...they just did. Media is any (yes any) channel of communication. It's also a term used for the people who own and manage those channels - journalists, bloggers, YouTubers, producers, Instagram influencers etc. And for the content they create.

OK, you've got me. These definitions are far from clear. If we say Cumulus does PR, digital and media, we're kind of saying we do it all. We have and we can. 

But what we really do is simpler than that. A chef offers up lasagne on the menu, without getting into the details of the pasta, meat and sauce. Cumulus' dish is Communications. This takes the blend of PR, digital and media skills to offer you something specifically tailored to your communications needs, that is both strategic and lasting. I'll go into more concrete details on this in another post. Or you can look up our work. That's it for now.