Tag Archives: trends

If the cast of Friends joined Prime Time

20 Sep

This is brand new information!

Ok, I fooled you. It isn’t really. But, shame on you if you’ve missed the media banging on about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the first episode of Friends. It’s literally been everywhere!

And, not wanting to miss out, I’m going to give Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe some airtime of my own. No, it’s not a “20 things you didn’t know about Friends” blog. (Thank goodness, that feature idea has had more re-runs than the show itself).

No, I’m doing something much more industry focused. This, Prime Timers, is the definitive list of where I’d place the characters in my PR and marketing company.

Novel? Yes. Necessary? No. So, bear with me.

Joey – Reception
Imagine how happy you’d be if you rang up Prime Time HQ and were greeted with a friendly ‘how you doing?’

Joey is very much a people person and I’d want to exploit that on the front desk. He also knows how to act (I’m confident about that). So, if a client was getting pushy about why they were being kept waiting in the lobby (because we were obviously putting the finishing touches to our pitch presentation), he’d be able to devise a ‘believable’ cover story.

Note to self: Joey must not be allowed to change the TV station in reception to Days of our Lives. It must remain on BBC News at all times.

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Rachel – New business
Rachel isn’t getting this job based on the efforts she displayed as a waitress at Central Perk. Because, quite frankly, she wasn’t very good. But, when she worked for Bloomingdale’s and, later, Ralph Lauren, she showed that she had an eye for emerging trends and was able to work effectively and efficiently with models, suppliers and buyers. This is perfect for identifying new clients and securing briefs.

Note to self: Don’t allow her to recruit an attractive PA; it stunts her productivity.

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Ross – Research
Some might find this role boring but, with Ross’ scientific approach to problem-solving, he’d be great. Tasked with researching markets and ideas and pulling together competitor reports, he’d be able to justify all of our PR moves to clients with hard facts and figures.

Note to self: Don’t allow him to take breaks during office hours. It gets him into trouble and brings up bad memories for Rachel.

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Phoebe – Marketing
Imagine Phoebe heading up a brainstorm – she’d be brilliant. To create award-winning campaigns, every idea needs to be explored.

As they say, no idea is a bad idea in a brainstorm. And Phoebe would be able to bring the best out in her team by not limiting creativity – due to budgets, timings and resource – at the first hurdle. Even if clients don’t opt for those big ideas, it’s important they know we’re capable of producing them.

Note to self: Always ask her a secret question that only she’d know the answer to, to check her twin sister isn’t doing her job for her.

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Chandler – Social media
I know what you’re thinking. ‘Why isn’t Chandler in advertising?’ He did a great job in the show’. I’m telling you, he didn’t. Slogans and jingles are one thing, but clients expect substance and strategy behind their new product launches. I’d want to harness Chandler’s wit on social media – encouraging him to engage with consumers, start topical conversations and conduct focus groups – giving us, and our clients, the edge.

Note to self: Ensure he wears a name badge at all times, so people know exactly who he is in the office.

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Monica – PR
Monica gets what she wants, always. She’s fierce, competitive and knows how to play the game. From writing impactful features and interviewing powerful case studies to selling-in stories and securing coverage, she’d be a PR machine.

Note to self: Leave a note to the cleaners to ensure her desk is thoroughly cleaned each evening.

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So, there you have it. An all-star agency dream team.

Do you agree with my recruitment decisions, or would you make some internal shuffles?

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This is NOT a Royal Baby blog: Waiter, is that an iPhone in my soup?

23 Jul

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I use my iPhone all the time. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I look at, at night. I tweet, blog, Facebook and Snap Chat – and I’ll do whatever the next big thing is.

I don’t get offended by people checking their phone when they’re with me – it’s about staying connected and being involved in a conversation at that very moment. I’m always telling my friends that the great thing about social media is that it happens in ‘real time’. I can enjoy a conversation with someone on the other side of the world and not have to wait around for a reply, but feel assured that they are online and I know chatting will be as easy as if they were next door.

So, I’m not surprised that new research commissioned by Mars, part of Nestlé, has found that a fifth of young people check their phone at the dinner table. But I’m shocked that it’s not more than this, what with ‘tweet what you eat‘ trends taking off on social networks, encouraging people to share their dishes with the world.

The art of conversation isn’t dying, it’s just changing. Gone are the days of crafting a careful text to get great value from your 10p SMS that communicates everything you want to say in 160 characters. More often than not they’re now free so we can say as much as we want without spending a dime. Even Whatsapp, Twitter and BBM encourage people to make conversation little and often with as many friends as they can think of.

What would be interesting to find out is if the research applies to families eating at home or dining out. Yes, more people are eating in restaurants, pubs and hotels as cheap treats during the continued effects of the recession. But cheap as the occasions may be, to me it’s still a treat and I’d be less inclined to search the web or take a call if I was there.

The article on The Drum doesn’t go into detail of many other findings from the research. It makes me question if Mars got the results they expected – because I can’t see many other pieces of coverage online.

It’s also a strange time for this research to be revealed. It comes weeks after Jo Clarke made the news when she was refused service in Sainsbury’s until she ended her phone call – which led Nick Clegg to call for gadgets to be banned from the diner table. I can’t imagine Mars wanting to put the issue into perspective for political reasons. I’m also not sure how it links back to their brand – and if this was a theme among any of the questions asked.

Overall, at first glance, this activity has little PR benefit for the business and just reiterates what we already know. Agreed?

How often are you on your phone? Is it rude to scroll through messages when eating out?

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Social media – a lot like putting your pants on.

27 Feb

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This morning I popped into the Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFM&A) exhibition to sit in on a few seminars.

This morning’s best talk was on ‘social brand management’ led by Scott McKee from Birddog, a digital and brand consultancy, and Gareth Case from Xuber, a specialist commercial insurance company. They addressed the challenge faced by community managers everywhere, particularly for B2B brands: ‘I’m social, My brand isn’t.’

It’s well-known that some B2B brands aren’t the quickest to recognise and respond to new trends. Some even think starting a conversation on LinkedIn is a risk.

But, as McKee explained, LinkedIn has stabilised unlike Twitter and Facebook – which recently celebrated hitting the one billion user mark. So, it doesn’t make business sense to rely on this channel alone.

The problem is clients are desperate to know the ROI. They’ll happily invest in events, print advertising and a good-looking website without a second thought, but they expect instant results with social media.

Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford once said:

You may as well ask what’s the ROI of putting your pants on every day. There is a value to it but it’s hard to measure.

Damn right it is. But it feels good doesn’t it? So, why hold back on social?

PRs, marketers and brand consultants need to be really clear with their clients: new media, new rules, new KPIs. And, with 98% of the UK and US using social media, can they really afford not to give it a proper go? Done properly brands could end up with a loyal social community around them who do they talking for them.

What surprised me was how McKee and Case, his client, met. Case ended up on Birddog’s mailing list and from there, they listened and engaged with eachother on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. A chance ‘meeting’ that wasn’t taken for granted by Birddog. McKee gave Case reasons to keep his business front of mind – long enough until he had a generous marketing budget. Then, who did he turn to? The company that had already won him over.

Together, they did the usual ofdefining objectives, audience, and competition, but also fleshed out a content plan, put their community manager to work to engage 24/7 and monitored reports to respond to what people did and didn’t like.

In just four months, Xuber reached more than 3.3 million people as a direct result of its social media activity. More than this, it generated seven new business leads worth £3.7m. Not bad for an instance company remember.

The golden nugget of this seminar was when Case was asked how he got management buy-in to go ahead with his plans. He said, they set all the managers up with their own social media accounts and let them play around with them. When they struggled and fought against each other about how many followers they each had he said: ‘you can either do it yourself or marketing can help you do it better.’

It makes sense.

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