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Monday, 30 November 2009

Online complaints do more damage

multiple ripples spreading
The ripples spread faster and further online


Convergys survey shows negative posts by-pass complaints departments, costing companies c30 customers per complaint and putting off others. Shows the need for monitoring and managing feedback and keeping tabs on what's happening to your reputation both offline and online.

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Techno Babble

cartoon showing absurdity of jargon
Technobabble

As we're a B2B PR specialist agency, we deal with a lot of technical clients and have had to deal with a fair amount of techno babble.

Reducing stuff down to initials is fine in a close-knit technical community, but specialisms are so narrow these days that even well qualified people can encounter terms that are meaningless. So why carry this stuff over to press releases and websites where people of real influence lose the will to live after the first sentence? Not to mention potential clients' procurement officers and finance people who have to sign off the purchase decision?

A few clients have argued they need to demonstrate they have the technical know-how and that's fine. It just doesn't need to be visible at the first glance of the home page. And surely the line up of second and third degrees on their people page does signal more than a smattering of knowledge?

This is where the Internet really scores: enabling hierarchical information to be arranged so that visitors can chose to click through to well signposted complexity as they travel through the information avenues on a website. And White Papers or Reports can underline your technical abilities without baffling those site visitors that need more general information. Not everyone needs to see all the branches, twigs, leaves and roots of the tree to know they're in a birch wood.

(Picture licensed under creative commons from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TechnoBabble - many thanks.)

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Edinburgh on Google Logo

Edinburgh Castle and rock taken in Kings Stables Road
Edinburgh Castle by PHPR 






Good to see Edinburgh Castle on Google for St Andrew's day

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

PHPR collect VIBES awards 2009 certificate at Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh

Penny Haywood Calder, MD, PHPR, an Edinburgh PR agency collects VIBES finalist award - Scotland's premier environmental awards
Penny Haywood Calder, MD at PHPR with the VIBES finalist award  - Scotland's top environmental award






















Being good PR people, we spun our VIBES news round our contacts and have ended up seven positive results: several of which are really promising meeting requests.

There is also another agency wanting to know how to get the VIBES, so we've pointed them to the VIBES site where it's easy to download the entry forms and all the practical notes on the different award categories: http://www.vibes.org.uk/enter.htm

Plus Margot Grantham, the Scottish director of the excellent Athena network for women sent me a flyer with useful info regarding free recession-busting workshops in Edinburgh for small businesses run by the Business Environment Partnership alongside the City of Edinburgh Council. We are more than happy to pass this info on. The leaflet says:

As part of their Economic Resilience Action Plan the City of Edinburgh Council are working with the Business Environment Partnership to run a series of free workshops at the City of Edinburgh Council Chambers. Upcoming workshops are designed to give practical ideas to cut utility bill costs and understand current & future environmental legislation that may have a financial impact on your business.

Demystifying environmental legislation. What SME’s need to know to ensure compliance – 26th January 2010
Understand your utility bills to cut costs – 25th February 2010
They point out that a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales....

The ‘One-Stop-Shop’ provides free tailored advice to any Edinburgh-based company from a microsized start-up to a larger SME. Advice ranges from Government funded grants & loans, resource efficiency, green marketing opportunities to legislation with the aim of identifying cost saving or new sales opportunities for businesses.

Find out more about the workshops or their free advisory service at http://www.thebep.org.uk/ The lady dealing with registrations is called Amy.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Is PHPR Scotland's Greenest PR Agency?




PHPR is delighted that we received a VIBES Scotland shortlisted certificate at the awards ceremony held in the Scottish Parliament last night. VIBES are Scotland's top environmental awards for business. http://www.vibes.org.uk/


We had a serious new business enquiry just after the awards ceremony and we will be fixing up an initial meeting later on today: positive proof that VIBES awards are good for business.


The significance of getting this far in the VIBES awards was really brought home when David Sigsworth, chairman of SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) said, "The companies on the VIBES shortlist & the winners are recognised by multiple agencies and the Scottish Government for exceptional environmental performance."


PHPR was shortlisted for the best management award for small businesses (less than 50 employees). We are a very small business, and PR doesn't use lots of materials to manufacture things, so the savings we can make through environmental measures are quite small. But they do add up. We have been reducing, re-using and re-cycling since 1986. Each year we add to the eco measures we undertake and most of them benefit our bottom line. And we do help to spread the word and encourage other companies to gain the business benefits of implementing practical environmental measures.


We think we may be the first Scottish PR agency to get this far in the VIBES awards. Until we find out whether any other PR company has been recognised by VIBES for exceptional environmental performance in the last 10 years, we certainly can claim to be one of the greenest PR agencies in Scotland - and that's official!


We worked hard for that recognition. The VIBES awards are tough. Even after attending a half day course on building the business case for a VIBES award, we found the application process was very demanding. It took ages to pull together all the information and do the calculations to prove the savings we achieve. But at each stage we found out more about implementing green measures in business, and demonstrating the savings. And going through that process sparked off ideas for other measures we could try. Our first entry last year gave us really useful feedback from the expert judges - advice that we worked hard to implement before we entered VIBES this year. Yes, we did indeed put ourselves through the VIBES application process twice to get to this stage!


PHPR was one of nine Edinburgh businesses shortlisted:



  • Aquamarine Power

  • Balfour Beatty Rail

  • Edinburgh Napier University

  • Maximillion

  • PHPR Ltd

  • Prestonfield Hotel

  • Rabbies Trail Burners

  • Wilderness Scotland

  • William Waugh

VIBES is a partnership between: Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Environmental Protection UK, Envirowise and NetRegs.
With support from Business Environment Partnership, CBI Scotland, Energy Saving Trust, Federation of Small Businesses Scotland and Forward Scotland.


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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Does Advertising Work?



picture created with www.wordle.net

It is said that advertising is the last refuge of those who are not creative. That seems odd since advertising solutions: iconic images and catchphrase strap lines are surely the pinnacle of promotional creativity?

But small budgets can't stretch to that level of advertising. Even when you have strong design and creativity, you need heavily repeated inserts or screenings to gain attention. Even the best ads are hard to predict in terms of effects. They say most people don't even register the first three times an advert runs in most publications. Most small businesses stop at one insertion, thereby guaranteeing failure unless they are very lucky.

But there are some situations that are resistant to clever PR alternatives. For example, the need to shift a pile of beds to make way for new stock or generate a very fast cash-flow injection. Unless Mary Queen of Scots really did sleep in them all, this cries out for advertising in the local media on and offline. Plus some freebie posts on suitable online sites.

Don't forget to use those vouchers Google gives away for £30 of free AdWords. I got mine when I registered my business on Google Maps, but I've seen the offer fall out of business magazines. Every little helps as long as you have a good landing page on your website to convert interest from the ad into sales. And a well-written and optimised site that anticipates the information a buyer might need, and delivers that with a clear call to action on every page. It's always worth testing the form of words that works for your business online. By then, you'll be well beyond Google's £30 freebie, but at least they offer free analytic tools and helpful hints.

I always find that going back to the basics keeps me focussed. You'll save a lot of money and effort if you think about who you need to reach and whether you can reach them any other way before getting out the advertising chequebook.

The most powerful question you can ask yourself is: How do I.....? Then go for a walk, or have a shower - whatever activity is good for you when you need a great idea.

Would special offer leaflet drops be most effective? What about an in-store event with treats and discounts for existing customers? If they are suitable beds, what about ringing guest houses and hotels with a bulk buy deal to renew all their beds (and take away the old ones to minimise the hassle factor). A deal on matching bedside tables and wardrobes might clinch it?

This is the fourth in a series of posts re-visiting the 30 low cost or free publicity techniques featured in PHPR's founder's best-selling book: DIYPR, the small business owner's guide to 'free' publicity by Penny Haywood. The 30 techniques are a mix of digital and offline sales, marketing and PR tools because you need to work all three disciplines (sales, marketing and PR) to effectively boost a business. As the series develops, choose a few to trial for a few months. The aim is to work up to 10 varied publicity techniques that work for you and your business to create a rolling PR Plan for success.

Your feedback is most welcome and may be included (with proper attribution) in the forthcoming revised edition of DIY PR.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Clear Expression for PR

"If you think in terms of what problems you solve instead of what services you offer, your messages will be simpler."
http://ping.fm/CCcPp

That's such a good approach to marketing and PR communications. Less is always more!

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Eco Car

Look out for Nissan's 'Leaf' in 2010 - an all-electric car doing 100 miles on a single charge and a top speed of 90mph.

We're currently up for a Scottish environmental award: VIBES, which may be a first for a Scottish PR agency? We have seen the business sense in "reduce, re-use, recycle" and have run our Edinburgh PR agency on that basis since 1986. Plus we do like to keep abreast of promising eco-tech developments.

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Gaming brings new audience to Twitter

Xbox Live will integrate Facebook and Twitter directly into online gaming, bringing a whole new audience to Twitter.

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Influential Tweeters

The Klout Twitter app measures the influencing powers of individual Tweeps to "find the people the world listens to,"


Klout now lets you see the most influential Tweeters on a topic so you can build a Twitter list of the results.


Really useful for PR as it is all about reputation and influence.

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New Twitter Search by Business

Twitter's new search via third-party app will allow search by business - helping businesses promote, defend, or address problems fast.

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Orange deal integrates Twitter in UK TV

Orange has made deals with U.K. TV cos to integrate Twitter into news progs, films, TV shows, and football games.

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Orange SMS Tweets

UK users can tweet via SMS with Vodafone, O2, and now Orange, at 86444.

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Snapshot puts Orange UK into the Twitter Picture

Orange UK users can send picture messages to Twitter thanks to Orange's picture message site called Snapshot.

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UK's Global Cultural Impact

The UK has had an outsized cultural impact on the world. From music to sports to literature...and now-MMS with Twitter. http://ping.fm/AQGu9

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Monday, 16 November 2009

Social Media Friends Data

The real cost of 'free' social media is our friends' data?

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Friday, 13 November 2009

Schedule Priorities says Covey

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." Stephen R. Covey. Brilliant!

So often we end up with so many PR ideas, that it's hard to get them all done. The window of opportunity is not long in the news agenda.

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The Main Thing is to Keep an Eye on the ball

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing" Stephen R. Covey.

So true in a creative biz like ours! That is going to sit at the top of my GoogleNotes gadget for the next few weeks to keep me focused on client's key objectives which is the key to all good PR.

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30 low cost PR tips at 4networking

Looking forward to giving 30 lo-cost PR tips at 4networking.biz in Leith, Edinburgh on 24th November. £10 inc breakfast.

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Jo Malone Helps Entrepreneurs

Calling all UK aspiring entrepreneurs! New BBC 1 series with Jo Malone is here to help.

Let's hope the new entrepreneurs have as much fun and fulfilment as I've had running PHPR in Edinburgh for 22 years. It still gives me a buzz when our PR gets taken up in the media, or our online PR gets clients onto Google page 1.

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Thursday, 12 November 2009

Good Quotes

ThinkExist Dynamic daily quotation

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Monday, 9 November 2009

Social Media Trends

Six Social Media Trends for 2010 David Armano: Harvard Business Review: More popular, more mobile, less social.

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