Archive for November, 2007

Charitable Relations

November 28, 2007

With thoughts turning to Christmas, and goodwill and charity towards all men [or presents and food, but we’ll skip past that], we thought it was about time to update on the progress made by the Third Sector PR and Comms Network. The group was inspired by the PR and Comms Network, but that’s as far as we can take any credit. Rob Dyson has enthusiastically driven it forwards, and here’s how they’ve been getting on:

Formed in May, ‘The third sector PR and Communications Network’ got a mention in PR Week back in July, and now has over 430 members, who are all PR’s, comms directors, fundraisers, journos and other movers and shakers in the industry.

Some top “facebook friends” are:

Andrew Bloch, co founder of Frank PR
David Wilcox, Social reporter / writer.
Howard Lake Director, Fundraising UK Ltd and editor of http://www.fundraising.co.uk
Helen Jane Beckett, Media Trust, Head of Communications
Jane Dawson – Media Connections Project Officer at Voluntary Action Media Unit
Peta Delahunty Media and PR Manager (Fundraising) Macmillan Cancer Support
Christina McGill Head of Communications, Breast Cancer Care
Jude Habib – SoundDelivery, Owner and Director.

The group’s first drinks and speed-networking event happened in London earlier this month, and we had a really good turnout, including reps from Media Trust, ex-BBC and freelance agents, British Royal Legion, Bliss, Marie Curie Cancer, Mind, Volunteering England and Make Your Mark, to name a few.

Media monitoring agency Clipability ensured no-one was left thirsty with their generous bar tab, and donated a bottle of champagne to a business card raffle.

Rob created the group in May 2007, after seeing an opportunity to harness charity comms professionals to network, support each other, socialise and share ideas and resources. If you want to know more drop me a line or visit the site.

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Fame and Fortune…

November 28, 2007

beckons for Alex, well blog fame at least.

Alex is interviewed here for Sarah Stimson’s recruitment blog.

PR perks…

November 27, 2007

…are numerous and varied. At least compared to being an actury or similarly exciting [but more lucrative] professions.

We all know the cliches of parties, booze, etc, and at least for the next month, the stereotype has some merit. Certain branches of PR aaccumulate other goodies, whether they be samples etc in consumer, or press trips to flash locations in most disciplines. Then there’s the more apparent, such as lunches and drinks with journos.

But perhaps some of the biggest perks are when the chips are down. As a consumer you’ve been affronted, and your initial response to the indignity suffered at the hands of retailer x has been rebuffed with a cursory dismissal. And that’s when you bring out the magic lines. ‘I work in PR and…’.  Now this works much better when you know journalists in that sector, and so can threaten [or allude to] the idea you might share the stories of your consumer misery. It can work even better if you claim you blog as well; this still seems to frighten those so unfamiliar with blogs they regard them as having magical power to foment negative PR.

PRs I know have used these tactics recently with a major utilities firm, a high street bank in a dispute over a mortgage offer, and an online retailer. Beats a few free cocktails for kickbacks from the job.

PR and Comms Network Christmas Drinks!

November 21, 2007

With the long dark nights drawing in, the office discussions of what the bonus is going to be like or the various emails going back and forth asking whether ‘the party’ is going to be any good, one can’t escape ( or even hide from) the simple fact that it will soon be Christmas.

So how better to enjoy this festive period than with us, here at the PR and Comms Network!

We’ve organised our Christmas, PR and Comms Network drinks at the Carbon Bar in Marble Arch on the 13th December.

If you’d like some more information and would like to attend, come and say hello at the event page on Facebook.

Borkowski Talks

November 19, 2007

So, Christmas parties are round the corner, and you’re planning nights out between now and then. Instead of the potentially career-threatening drunken karaoke with your accoutn team, why not do something more career-enhancing…and listen to a legend.

The nice chaps at T4W have convinced Mark Borkowski to sit in a chair and hold forth to the PR masses. He’s done some great work for clients, and achieves the rare trick of respect both inside and outside the industry. His blog is pretty top notch too. More details here, or Facebook event here.

I’m planning on attending myself; be good to see some of you there.

PR blog-tastic

November 15, 2007

Thought I’d flag a couple of interesting posts from the last few weeks:

Ed Lee [a guy who has done some fun stuff already in his career, and followed David Brain’s advice] with interesting thoughts on salary, a topic close to everyone’s heart. As with the classic ‘jam today/jam tomorrow’ situation, sensible advice to look beyond the immeadiate pay packet, and assess development opportunities.

The term diginative is cropping up more and more. Worth considering what it actually means, especially as, if like me, you constitute one, you’re unlikely to think of what you have always instinctively done as anything out of the ordinary.

A portrait of a charming PR…

November 6, 2007

Fancy yourself as something of a charmer when it comes to getting your topic onto the schedules for broadcast? Or maybe you just fancy yourself as a bit of a charmer, which has less relevance for this blog, but hey…

PRs spend plenty of time trying to convince producers of the relative merits of their pitch, the magnificent interview value of their client, and the stellar and ever so tiemly interest value to the listeners. But is this soon to be moribund? Are your smooth words to become redundant?

Jeff Jarvis blogged last week [article] about the introduction of schedules incorporating feedback from the audience, before they’re even broadcast. Newsnight is one example, Radio 4 iPM show another. ‘The people’ seem to have got very firmly behind this, which is even more alarming for the eager PR.

When the wisdom of crowds [a concept not without its oxymoronic value] is applied to media schedules, the bold assertions you make to the producer in your pitch ring more hollow.

Is this the future? Probably not. It relies on programmes with a sufficiently motivated and time-rich audience to feedback. Newsnight and Radio 4 have this. MTV probably would too. Gardner’s World would seem a natural candidate targeting the silver surfer. Not every programme has access to this, and the time demands are not inconsequential.

How do you tackle it as a PR? Ensure you’re telling your brand/corporate story clearly, and let the masses act as your advocate. Open up and reach out. After all, it is they, the people, who are deciding the schedule.

Poor pitching/spamming

November 1, 2007

PRs beware. Now you might not be ignored by a journalist, but named and shamed for your half-baked pitch efforts. Check Chris Andersen’s [of Wired and Long Tail fame] blog to see if you’re one of the named and shamed.

UPDATED

This ‘PR-off’ between rival agencies re the above is priceless.

PR ‘Thought Leadership’ – The Holy Grail

November 1, 2007

What’s the one thing every client is pushed to be, the one label every PR strives to be attached to their spokesperson; the very bedrock of your new business pitch?

Thought leader.

The very phrase sends shivers of anticipation and pride down the spine. But John Kay would have you think again, according to his FT article. He’s pretty fed up of ‘thought leader’ research, which neither thinks, nor leads. He wants less PR spin. He also has the grace to acknowledge the motivation behind this all to often lies with the inadequacy of the client’s business to pass the acid test of newsworthiness.

The indictment ‘This is the age of the bogus survey’ is forceful. Yet it is a topic all too often lamented, and yet the oft-predicted demise of the survey still hasn’t materialised. Is this because the public are sophisticated enough to see through the ruse, yet still enjoy shock findings? Or, as is more likely, does the blame actually lie squarely with journalists? Due to understandable pressures they are forced to look for the newest, most impactful, and quantifiable. Surveys hit the spot.

But remember next time you flog your tired surevy which merely purports to think or to lead; one day you’re going to have a top notch spokesperson, who really do occupy the hallowed turf of thought leadership. And yet you’ll end up with same NIB you achieved with your poll revealing how infrequnetly the average student changes their underwear. PR, like life, is rarely fair.