The end of a (very small) era

13 May

Well, the time has come. It’s the end of another academic year. The end of another module. And, sadly, the end of this blog.

One final thing I have to do, is write a critical evaluation on this blog. What I’ve learnt etc.

So I thought I’d quickly share the main point I’ve learnt. And it, oh so nicely ties in with the theme of this blog. Brilliant, eh?!

So blogging, well it turns out it’s good PR. Good PR for what exactly? Good PR for me.

Creating an online presence is essential if you want to get on in the world of PR. You need to be out there, to be showing people just what you can do. You need to collect contacts. You need to showcase your writing skills. Having a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page and, of course, a blog does just that.

Building up my online presence with this blog hs spurred me on to continue it. I’m not going to continue exactly as I have been doing. But I will be keeping that online presence ūüôā

Now that this module is over, I feel free to write about whatever I want. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Writing this blog has given me the confidence to get my thoughts out there. My next blog won’t all be about PR, but as it is a big feature in my life, of course it’s going to pop up now and again.

So, keep checking back for the link to my brand new blog and thank you for sticking with me for this one ūüôā


Bad PR of the week

13 May

This week’s biggest case of Bad PR has been awarded to football. Football fans in particular.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the clip of a pathetic Hearts fan completely bypass security at Tynecastle at the Hearts v Celtic match on Wednesday night. He stormed upto Celtic coach Neil Lennon in an attempt to launch an attack, mid-match.

The football industry has tricky PR at the best of times. Many people see it as an industry completely driven by money. Many people see it as a place for thugs to get together and wreak havoc.

And with stunts like this, who can blame them? The man, who has now received a lifetime ban, has just given all those who criticise football fans evidence to bck up their claims.

The completely disgraceful behaviour shown by this fan, as well as plenty others up and down the country each week, is why football fan’s take this week’s Bad PR award.

PR is in need of some PR

13 May

The whole basis of my blog is good PR and bad PR. Who is showcasing their campaigns in the greatest way possible? Who is really damaging their reputation?

But I’ve recently been thinking about the PR that the Public Relations industry does for itself.

Lets face it, PR professionals earn a living by managing the reputations of their clients. But in amongst that, have we neglected our own reputation? Have we forgotten to give PR some good PR?

The public’s perception of PR isn’t great. I’ve recently submitted an essay which asked whether it was¬†acceptable to lie¬†on behalf of your client. I came cross so¬†many¬†articles and books where people stated that the public perception of¬†PR was very much that it was an industry built on lies.

Most¬†PROs¬†would be horrified. We like to see PR as doing good in the world. But it’s no wonder that this is what people think when you have¬†high-profile PROs like Max Clifford suggesting that “all PR practitioners lie through their teeth.”

Surely we want to get away from this image that PR is all bout deceit? We want to distance ourselves from associations with ‘spin’ and ‘propaganda’.

Obviously, that is only one perception.

Another common perception of PR is the more glamorous, Hollywood side to PR. If you asked a lot of non-PR professionals, I’m sure most of them would picture champagne, parties, freebies.¬†And who can blame them when, yet again, this is a picture painted often in the media. Think Samantha in Sex and the City.

So basically, people like to think of us PR lot as either big party animals who live the high life, or sneaky, lying through our teeth on a day-to-day basis.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think this is good enough for an industry that’s all about reputation.

We really need to start being a little selfish, and do some good PR for ourselves. We need to show the world the real PR.

The Cowell Factor

13 May

Think of PR…

Think of celebrity PR…

Think of the main man…

You got it? Chances are you’re thinking of Max Clifford.

Well, I’m going to be controversial here, but I think there’s a man who’s just as good, if not better than Mr Clifford himself.

The legend that is Simon Cowell.

But he isn’t a PR practitioner – that’s what you’re thinking. Well, no. He’s not. But he should be. He knows what he’s doing, that’s for sure.

Mr Cowell knows the secret formula for column inches. He knows the recipe for buzz.

Let’s face it, the X Factor is a mediocre show at best. A bunch of fame hungry individuals who very rarely have any real talent. Yet at the end of each year, I can guarantee it pops up in every conversation you have. You can’t escape it, it’s everywhere! I didn’t watch a single episode last year, yet even I could tell you that Cher Lloyd was a little madam and Matt Cardle wore a lot of hats.

PR Expert?

The same goes for Cheryl Cole. My thoughts on this woman are controversial, so let’s get it out of the way¬†straight away. Being a Sunderland girl, through and through, it’s almost programmed in me to despise the ‘Geordie lass’. This is an unpopular opinion. However, unpopular or not, my opinion is that she is just as talentless as the contestants on the show. Before the X Factor, she was just the common one from Girls Aloud who seemed to have¬† passion for fighting in nightclub toilets. Join forces with Simon Cowell, and within a year you’re the ‘Nation’s Sweetheart. A couple more years down the line and you’re breaking into the States, you’re the face of L’Oreal and you’re generally the most loved woman in Britain (with exception to Sunderland, of course). Like the X Factor, she is everywhere!

A few weeks ago, Simon had a bit of a clear out at his record company, Syco¬†Music. Artists such as Joe McElderry¬†and Shayne¬†Ward were dropped. Now you may be thinking ‘who?’ And I bet the rest of the country were too. This little piece of information was hardly top of the news agenda. Yet, once again, it did make headlines. It was talked about. It did trend on Twitter. Simon Cowell had taken a seemingly uninteresting story and somehow made it big news.

The point to this blog was not to have a rant, as much as it my seem. But it was to highlight just how PR savvy Mr Cowell is. If I was to sit in on a PR Masterclass, it wouldn’t be with Max Clifford, it would be Simon Cowell. Without a doubt.

Twitter to the rescue!

13 May

Aaaah Twitter. Where would I be without you?

It’s hard for me, someone who has been a part of the PR world for 2 years, to imagine successful PR without it. It enables you to get your message out to millions of people in an instant. It gives you the opportunity to create a buzz, to get your campaigns trending.

Twitter has done a lot for the world of PR. But what PR has Twitter done for itself?

In my opinion, it’s had amazing PR!

Recently, I haven’t been too well and so the last 2 or 3 days have consisted of staying at home, feeling sorry for myself, catching up on the millions of shows I had on my Sky+. One of those shows is Grey’s Anatomy, an American drama about the lives of surgeons in a Seattle teaching hospital.¬†

You may be thinking, where is this going? What has this got to do with Twitter and PR? Stick with me, I have a point!

Surgery in 140 characters or less

One episode saw a surgical resident tweeting throughout surgery. Tweeting her colleagues, interns and general followers. Letting them in on the goings-on of some pretty serious stuff. The whole episode took a dramatic turn when a donor organ was needed urgently. A simple tweet got the word out, and next thing you know there’s a helicopter landing with the perfect organ! Twitter ey, saving lives!

Now I’m well aware this is all fiction. But it demonstrated exactly what Twitter is all about, showcasing amazing benefits the social networking site could have. Who knows, maybe this stuff goes on in real life. Although, I’d be pretty worried if my surgeon was tweeting mid-surgery.

Nevertheless, I saw this as amazing PR for the site.

PR nightmare for Sony

12 May

You couldn’t write a blog about good and bad PR without mentioning Sony’s latest crisis. It just wouldn’t be right.

Before I do just that though, I’m going to let you in on a little secret… I’m no Playstation fan. I’m not¬†a games console fan at all, in fact. The nearest I’ve got is a few games on the Wii that are designed for six year olds!

But even with that being the case, I do know all about the hacking of the Playstation Network.

Millions and millions of users had personal and financial information put at risk when they system was hacked into last month.

Now that is¬†a disaster in itself. But what was even more disastrous was the fact that it took Sony six days to reveal this vital information. Six days?! I’m no PR expert (not yet, anyway!), but that six days has surely done an aful lot of damage to Sony’s reputation. As we’re all aware, reputation is a major part of PR. Some go as far as to define PR as ‘reputation management’. And as we all know, one of the contributors to a good reputation is trust. Surely leaving it six days before telling people ‘Oh hang on, I think all your credit card details may have been stolen. Sorry’ is going to take away most, if not all, of that trust that people had.

Playstation's very own 'Uh-oh' moment

Sony did eventually comment on the situation, and used social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to their advantage. But this prompted the question – was it all too little, too late? Should they have done more to reassure their millions of unhappy customers that they were in total control over the situation? My answer is yes.

Can Sony bounce back from this PR nightmare? I’ve no doubt¬†they can. Will they learn from their PR mistakes? You would hope so! Otherwise their PR team are seriously underqualified.

Although, I suppose a terrible PR team could mean that Sony could be recruiting in the near future…

Right that’s it, off to polish my CV!

Wedded Bliss

4 May
You’re probably thinking I’ve neglected this blog recently…

…and you’re right!

I’ve been very busy. Busy enjoying all the lovely, sunny bank holidays we’ve had.

I don’t know about you, but I very rarely think about the reasons for having¬†a bank holiday each time they come around. Yet last Friday, you’d have to have been living under a rock to not know why we all had the day off work.

It was the Royal Wedding of course. The fairytale turned real life – the commoner finally married the prince.

I’m not going to lie, it’s¬†a day I was really excited about. I even set the alarm to watch the build up at 7am!¬† And so obviously, I watched every second of it.

Once I’d stopped swooning over William and being insanely jealous of Kate’s stunning dress, I couldn’t help but think about all the PR related to the event. To think about the people actually involved in the wedding – the organising of the guests, the party planning etc. And then thinking about the vast volume of companies who had wisely cashed in on the big day, using it within their campaigns.

The most eagerly anticipated kiss of the 21st century

But what I thought about the most was just how much the wedding was brilliant PR for our country.

2¬†billion people worldwide watched¬†William and Kate¬†say I do –¬†that’s¬†a massive audience. And those 2 billion people also witnessed Britain at it’s best.

Starting with the ceremony.¬†People everywhere watched¬†on as a beautiful, young and excited couple beamed throughout the morning. You couldn’t help but smile when you saw the sheer love between the two. What an amazing couple to represent the UK.

And then there was the crowd. Lately when¬†such a large number of people have been gathered in London, it’s been for protests¬†and¬†we’ve seen nothing but¬†images of violence and destruction. Watching the crowds outside Buckingham Palace, you could see nothing¬†but joy. So many people gathered to celebrate¬†such a happy occasion. Now, I’m not naive enough to believe that every single person in the crowd was there to see the happy couple, plenty people will have just been wanting a good time on their day off. But regardless of their reasons,¬†a good time is exactly¬†what was had. Maybe it’s because I didn’t look hard enough, but when reading¬†articles the day after I¬†didn’t see anything substantial with regards to trouble on the day. The world simply was witness to people uniting and enjoying themselves.

Then there’s the weather. Who could forget about our old friend, Mr Sunshine. The UK has a reputation for being wet and windy. People don’t flock here on holiday to get a tan. But, miraculously, the sun shone down all day –¬†just like it has done the last few weeks. This is the one thing most people had major conerns about. Phillip Schofield made remarks about the decision of which carriage to leave Westminster Abbey in. Apparently, the good weather carriage was decided on at the very last minute. But, what do ya know, the sun did us proud!

There are plenty of other things too Рthe use of stunning British cars during the day, the breathtakingly beautiful, Alexander McQueen dress designed by Sarah Burton etc.

The whole day was something to be really proud of. The image of the UK sent out to the rest of the world was¬†just what a country would hope for…

…and it made it into my Good PR blog. Now, if that’s not saying something then what is?!