Archive for the 'News' Category

Guinness is good for you (especially if you are a shareholder)

December 2, 2008

It’s been a while (and even this post is recycled) – more to come soon.

 

I’ve been saying it for years and finally, people are listening to me. A report out today by Management Today has named Diageo as the most admired company in the land. They do say good things come to those who wait.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, the second 20 per cent sale can’t come quick enough for M&S as they plummeted from 1st to 29th in the rankings. Could be a difficult Christmas in the Rose household this Chrimbo.

Tesco. The Librarian’s choice of supermarket.

August 31, 2008

How’s your grammar? Can you tell when to use ‘who’ and when ‘whom’? ‘me’ and ‘I’?

Hopefully those of us working in communications are pretty comfortable  with such niceties of linguistic convention. (I stress hopefully).

But given the woeful grammatical knowledge of the average member of the British public, should we be celebrating or raising an eyebrow at Tesco’s decision to replace signage on the quick tills, from ‘ten items or less’, to ‘up to 10 items’?

Personally I’m all in favour, but I’m even more in favour of Tesco making some posiitve press out of their decision. The Campaign for Plain English are admirable if normally ineffectual busybodies, but Tesco have taken notice of complaints/suggestion which could have been dismissed out of hand, and adapted them to fit their message.

“We’re high-brow enough to understand the need for good grammar, but realistic enough to know whats important is customer clarity”. Not to mention column (and blog) inches. Everything to everyone. Just as they’d aim to be.

(I have doubtless managed countless grammatical infractions across this post. Well, I don’t care, this is a medium for self-expression… Do you like the way I got my excuses in early?!)

Alex

PR Week social media podcast

August 28, 2008

So, can’t hear enough of my thoughts on PR and social media on this blog? Thought not (ahem).

Check out what I’ve got to say on why social media matters to PR, how you can go about monitoring online buzz, and where PRs can really add value.

Alex

UK PLC – Superbrand or Superbad?

July 23, 2008

There was a very interesting piece of research released this week by the Centre For Brand Analysis which looked at the branding of companies and how they are viewed by the public. A good article covering it appeared in the Telegraph on Monday:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/07/21/cnbrands121.xml

 

The worrying top-line finding was that new British companies are failing to establish brand reputations with consumers. Even all conquering companies like Tescos saw brand recognition fall significantly. It therefore raises the question – is there a crisis in the perception of British brands?

 

The BBC was the highest ranking British company on the list, cementing its position as Britain’s most successful brand with British Airways close behind. At the top of the list was Google, which probably raises questions about the demographic of those who were surveyed, but regardless, British companies should be made aware of this apparent weakness in their businesses.

 

With consumer recognition at an all-time low, does it provide the PR industry with the ammunition to go to companies and suggest traditional methods of raising brand awareness are failing and that now is the time for some alternative, more integrated, combined PR/marketing/advertising campaigns?

Easter PR calendar hooks

March 20, 2008

Two positive pearls from the fine art of PR calendar hookery today. Which appear to have been received with  amusment by ever-cynical journos..First the Times,  covering the Philipine governmnet release, cleverly hitting upon the fact Jesus was indeed crucified, to push a story promoting tetanus jabs…See below for an excerpt. Thanks to my colleague Dan for spotting,

Secondly, RAC/Aviva with FT Alphaville picking up their regular bank holiday travel choas story, which this year has alighted on the credit crunch as an exacerbating factor. Well worth a read for some very funny journalism.

If you’re going to be crucified get a tetanus jabJoanna Sugden

Of all the health risks associated with being crucified tetanus infection is not the first that springs to mind. But the Filipino government has issued a health warning to devotees who re-enact the Crucifixion every Good Friday advising them to get a Tetanus jab before being nailed to the cross. In a move aimed at cure rather than prevention the Department of Health has strongly advised devout Catholics to get a vaccination before taking part in crucifixion ceremonies to prevent infection. ..

If you’re going to be crucified get a tetanus jab Joanna Sugden – Of all the health risks associated with being crucified tetanus infection is not the first that springs to mind. But the Filipino government has issued a health warning to devotees who re-enact the Crucifixion every Good Friday advising them to get a Tetanus jab before being nailed to the cross.

In a move aimed at cure rather than prevention the Department of Health has strongly advised devout Catholics to get a vaccination before taking part in crucifixion ceremonies to prevent infection. ..

Miriam goes London-wide

February 13, 2008

Quick mention for fellow PR and Comm-er Miriam Laverick. She’s been featured on these very e-pages before, and could be found earlier this week in the London paper, venting her rage at oversized buggies ,of all things.

The commenters are especially amusing. sense of humour failure for some.

How to [nearly] ‘PR’ your event

January 29, 2008

Maybe you read/saw/heard the buzz yesterday about QTrax, the revolutionary music download service offering free legal music, funded by adverts with every track.

Twitterwent crazy. My office almost got excited. And how had they done it? They realised that Cannes, in the midst of one of the regular media love-ins, was the place to hit all the journos and influencers that matter in their field.

 So, blanket coverage achieved, buzz created…the sky was the limit, and the PR had massively over-delivered on ROI.

But just hours later it began to unravel. Actually, those music label majors hadn’tsigned up. So those 20m+ tracks we could listen to? Erm, let’s try 20k tracks, if that. Did the website work? No, it was off-line when I tried to access. Those glowing endorsements on their literature? Out-of-date and context apparently.

 Result this morning? Acres of negative coverage, and a reputation [possibly] irrevocably damaged.

Moral? Align product with PR first. Second, just like shares, reputations can go down, as well as up.

Trusting youth

January 22, 2008

 So, did you manage to avoid reading about the Edelman trust barometer this morning? Avoided the FT, blogs, Twitter and Qik videos? I certainly didn’t, and it’s much to their credit that they covered an interesting topic, in detail, via a number of channels, new and old.

Taken from David Brain’s summary of the findings, here’s the points which especially grabbed my attention:

A youthful optimism in France, Germany, Russia and UK:

  • Europe is traditionally a skeptical audience when it comes to business earning trust, yet the rising 25-34 influencer generation in France and UK show a youthful optimism in trust in business compared to their more jaundiced 35-64 year old counterparts.
    • In France, Germany and the UK, trust in business is significantly higher among the younger cohort (47% vs. 36%)
    • In France the business trust gap is a full 22 points (25-34 52%, 35-64 30%)
      • Younger French also are more trusting of NGOs.

Younger elites embracing social media and web-based communications:

  • Younger opinion elites France, Germany and the UK show higher usage of company’s own website and online message boards.
  • They engage in significantly more online activities, including sending instant messaging, reading blogs, playing online games, posting pictures/videos, and participating in live discussions.
  • They are more likely than their older counterparts to share opinions and experiences of companies on the web – with respect to both trusted and distrusted companies.

What attracted me here as the causality between greater trust in business and greater engagement with brand’s online presence amongst younger people. Speaking personally, I expect to ‘understand’ a company, and my immediate point of reference is both online word of mouth perceptions and the company site itself. But what’s the link here? Do younger people make more effort to get to know brands, and hence have greater trust? Or have companies looking to speak to younger consumers made the effort to move into the online space so actively engaged with by this demographic, and so are simply taking their message to consumers better?

Or, finally, is it just that we’re naive?

Christmas PR quiz time

December 19, 2007

I’ve heard some people are winding down for Christmas. I say ‘heard’, because I’m pretty convinced Christmas is a mythical event on the distant horizon as yet, but apparently others are having a relaxing time.

With this, and season’s sentiments in mind, 77 PR have profuced an end-of-year PR quiz, and you can win yourself some fizz [in case you haven;t indulged enough yet].

Give it a go here.

James Gilheany- ‘A life’

December 10, 2007

London, UK 10 December 2007. The PR and Comms Network is pleased to announce its newest administrator, James Gilheany.  James is a renowned communications expert with several years of experience with top-level international clients, making him ‘the go to’ guy for many of the UK media’s top journalists and commentators.

 

When asked about his appointment, James said: “Well, it’s another excellent award for my already glittering career.  It just goes to show that if you work hard enough then you do get rewarded.”

 

James comes from a proud family of PR professionals well known to some of the UK’s top agencies for their sterling work on a variety of challenging accounts.  When asked about the effect his siblings being the industry has had on him and his career, James, in customary humble fashion, answered: “Yes, initially they did help me.  But when you have this much natural talent, it’s hard not to make it to the top.”

 

James brings with him an expert knowledge of the political world, the fast-moving City scene and the turbulent international community.  He has successfully combined this near encyclopaedic knowledge with silky media relation skills that have made him the envy of many an account director over the years.  However, it has not always been such an amazing success story for James.  His current high-flying status is a far cry from his modest upbringing in Feltham, Middlesex.  “It is a sh*t hole” James said, for once losing his near legendary professional veneer, “it’s the sort of place the producers of the Jeremy Kyle show go to look for new victi….sorry, guests.  The only good thing about that place is the sign that tells you you have left.”

 

Escaping the boundaries of Feltham, James found his academic home in Nottingham where he attended university achieving a BA in politics.  It was as a student that James first became interested in working in communications.  “I was working as a bouncer at my Students Union and I thought to myself: if you can get your message across to a drunk, off his head on Stella, then surely you would be able to convey important client messages to a journalist.” James explained whilst pointing to his fully accredited license which allows him to work any door in the UK.

 

In his spare time James lists football, cricket, reading and writing the odd letter of complaint to local government authorities amongst his many and varied interests.  James is also a fully registered member of the Communist party and has asked us to point out he has never made a donation to the Labour party either directly or through a third party.

 

James is currently working for a top 20 PR agency where no one takes anything he says seriously.