Tag Archives: professionals

The Drum misses a beat

28 May

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I was interested to read that marketing magazine The Drum is challenging itself to develop an upcoming issue in front of a live audience.

At first I was impressed by the editorial team which laid down its own gauntlet to discuss content and interview key spokespeople (such as Dom Burch, head of social media for Walmart, and Selina Webb, communications director for Universal Music) to put together one of its fortnightly magazines. I was even quite excited at the feeling of sniffing out a story with the professionals, but all of those feelings disappeared when I found out that I was going to be charged more than £200 for the privilege.

I know it’s a commercial event for the brand to grow and improve its offering, but that doesn’t stop me questioning how The Drum can ‘sell’ this opportunity. Especially when the challenge is lukewarm; it’s hardly down to the wire – with more than two weeks from the ‘live’ session until the magazine is on the shelf.

I feel that The Drum has dressed up an exciting concept for the publishing world in sheep’s clothing. An event like this has the potential to hold something special for attendees that online and digital wouldn’t offer – the traditional interviews, feature angles and front covers.

More than this, it’s the perfect chance for young budding PR, marketing and advertising bods to learn some industry nuggets – but at this rate they’re priced out. I think working with future media executives would’ve made a much better story, but as it stands I’m cynical as to how much decided on the day will actually be published.

What do you think – is this a unique idea or a commercial flaw?

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PRs say they lack creativity

28 Nov

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This week I came across the headline ‘PR scores itself poorly for creativity’ on website PR Moment and had to read more.

The survey by the Holmes Report and training specialist NowGoCreate questioned 650 professionals from 35 countries on how creative they think the industry currently is – the answer is not very much. More than 60% believed the industry was lacking BIG ideas.

The reasons for this included: lack of budgets, clear objectives and an understanding of clients’ businesses.

There’s a correlation here. If you don’t understand your what your client wants then the budgets to deliver BIG campaigns won’t materialise.

Obviously most PRs will find these survey findings insulting. I’ve been lucky enough to work on some great campaigns (Unilever Food Solutions’ ‘Ambu-lunch’ and British Roast Dinner Week) this year and be part of a wider agency that refuses for barriers to come between great projects (Make Decent Coffee skip idea and the first-ever chocolate hotel room). If the idea is there, it’s down to PRs to be brave and pitch it in – brief or no brief.

I agree that more can be done to bring out the creativity of PRs in the workplace – and small additions to brainstorms that I blogged on last week can make this happen. Get people engaged with the brief and set challenges to work together to polish the ideas once agreed.

Let’s go through some of the other reasons PRs felt were imposing on their creativity:

Lack of time
Brainstorming and scoping ideas is an investment – for business and personal development. Get involved and learn how it works.

Difference in opinion about what ‘creativity’ really is
If you’re questioning whether you are creative, you’re probably not.

Leadership don’t view it as important
Don’t expect your business to grow with this attitude.

We’re in a rut
Make an effort to get out – show your clients why they hired you.

How creative do you rate your agency?

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Are all PRs deluded?

17 Sep

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Anthony Hilton from the Evening Standard raises a good point in this week’s PR Week. As paid consults, how far are we advising our clients on good stories, projects and campaigns? Sometimes the best advice is saying no that the clients’ ‘big’ idea.

Clients’ big ideas

Following on from my previous blog on watching your manager’s movements, this time my advice is be cautious of your clients. Yes – they know their business inside out. But, they don’t know PR.

Having worked with a number of clients, in my time I’ve had to put my foot down on a number of occasions to clients telling me everything from responding to news stories with their news after its appeared, to requesting names from a competition press release to be removed.

In this situation, stick to your guns when kindly explaining that you can’t (won’t) put your reputation and journalist relationships on the line on their every whim.

Spreading the good news

Hilton hits the nail on the head when he says that sometimes press releases just aren’t that interesting to journalists, ‘however important they are to the sender.’

I believe I’ve worked on some good campaigns and although the overarching theme is topical, the double digit key messages has put journalists off by wondering, ‘what on earth do they want to achieve?’

To even stand out in journalists’ inboxes, and then compel them to double click and open, a whopper of a subject line is needed. If it can fill the who, what and when, and encourage them to find out how, where and why, then you may have won part of the battle to be the ‘one in a hundred worth reading.’

Get it right first time by talking to the journalists you’re targeting to find out what they want. It can’t hurt and you might find a better, alternative angle from it.

Hilton concludes by wondering if some PR professionals are as deluded as their clients to continue putting out ‘below par’ press releases. Perhaps in this economic climate they are agreeing to every press release to boost their fees; eager to please. But, deluded they are not. If it wasn’t for them, your papers would be packed with much more nonsense than it is now.

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