Q&A with Founder of Transmission PR, Aby Hawker

Spotlight: Aby Hawker

When putting together campaigns, it is vitally important that they consider all identities to be as inclusive as they can be. Trans people are often overlooked within our PR and media channels. We speak to Abi Hawker, founder of Transmission PR, about her recently launched Playbook to support building awareness for your communication teams.

Why did you launch Transmission PR?

I’ve been in comms for more than twenty years working on a wide variety of clients spanning everything from airlines to aggregates. Around eight years ago I was approached by a contact who was launching a private healthcare service providing support to trans and non-binary people. The client was looking for someone to head up their comms and I thought it sounded interesting so said yes. I spent six years focusing solely on trans healthcare but it was clear to me that the communications challenges were applicable to all sectors, so I set up TransMission PR. As well as healthcare, we now work across a number of other sectors, providing internal and external communications support as well as training.    

Tell us about the Playbook you are launching and how it will help organisations?

There are some fundamental steps which communications professionals need to be mindful of when putting together campaigns that are inclusive of, or targeted towards, gender diverse individuals. I kept seeing the same mistakes being made over and over. These were resulting not only in brands being damaged but the community being negatively impacted by the backlash. I want to ensure that those working in this space have a better understanding of how to navigate it with the necessary consideration and respect for this community, so that the comms they put out achieve the desired effect of increasing visibility and showing solidarity with gender diverse people, rather than causing chaos for everyone involved.

Why is it more important than ever before that we are supporting trans inclusion within our comms?

Right now, trans people are being disproportionately targeted, we need to recognise that and begin redressing the balance through informed and considered communications. We all have a part to play. The media narrative is geared towards generating clicks, so the consistent themes we are seeing are those which seek to stoke hate and division. The trans community is on the receiving end and it is incredibly harmful. When organisations and brands enter this space without the due care and consideration, launching campaigns which are immediately taken down because of the backlash they receive, they become part of the problem. Organisations and brands that want to be seen as ethical, responsible and accountable, need their actions to reflect those values at all levels, irrespective of who their target audience is. Showing support for the trans community sends a strong message that a company cares about doing what is right.

How can we support more

Firstly, when we are moving in this space we need to understand that our communications approach requires a little more care, a little more knowledge. Then we need to educate ourselves, understand what we are trying to achieve and why. There are plenty of examples of what not to do, as well as the great examples of how to get it right. Learn from those. Go all in, decide you are going to create a campaign with integrity and get the necessary input from specialists – like the team at TransMission PR – to ensure you do it right. So often, when we are moving in a novel space there are teething problems, the Playbook sets out the basics of what to expect so that your campaigns move the conversation on, rather than repeating the same mistakes.

Aby Hawker is the CEO and Founder of TransMission PR a communications consultancy which specialises in trans inclusion and awareness.

You can download a free copy of the PR Playbook: Navigating Trans+ Inclusivity here: https://transmissionpr.com/pr-playbook/