All 13 entries tagged PR

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August 04, 2008

Improving the image or the reality

Writing about web page

There are a number of construction sites I now pass on the way to work where I see the above banner displayed. Now, having checked out the organisation website I have to say up front that the basic principles are sound and good luck to the collective elbow.

However, I have a big problem that irks me everytime I see that slogan:

“Improving the IMAGE of Construction” (my emphasis)

This seems like a really odd thing to say and a little Old Skool PR to my mind. Never mind about the reality, let’s just improve the image.

Surely a much better slogan and objective should be

“Improving Construction”

Apart from the fact that it’s shorter conciseness fans, it is also connects the objectives of the organisation more directly to the reality of construction rather than some notion of how the industry is perceived.

The first option says ‘We don’t care how we actually behave as long as you think we are good’.

The second say ‘We care about how construction actually happens.’

Now, PR is obviously a lot more complicated than that in that many theorists argue that image is a construct of an individuals’ interactions with the products, messages and (most importantly and becoming ever more so) the behaviour of the organisation and employees. So in that nuanced context the slogan may be spot on.

Those sort of subtle contexts are, however, difficult to get on a banner though.

June 08, 2007

Your gig is cancelled

Writing about web page

This story appeals to me in a funny way – how Glasgow City council are fighting flyposters by adding a cancelled sticker to offending posters. What a great creative idea.

February 20, 2007

PR Week video briefing

Writing about web page

PRWeek have started doing video briefings which is interesting in itself but you have to love the moment in this video where the guy holds up the paper to illustrate his point and it’s upside down. Great planning people…

Made me smile anyhoo.

January 03, 2007

Saddam the execution – the official movie

It’s interesting how the scandal around the mobile phone video of the execution of Saddam Hussein really highlights the problems for those seeking to control communications and messages in the modern era.

On the day of the execution an official video was released of a calm and controlled scene, only to be followed a day later by a mobile phone video which contradicted the official version with shouts, taunts and a somewhat chaotic mood.

It’s a simple example of how difficult it is for organisations to manage the news in the way they used to and how much control has been lost.

Is this a good thing? It’s easy to argue that it’s always better to tell the truth in these matters, but Saddam is an interesting case here in that the former version of events was less likely to stir up trouble than the latter. Was the Iraqi government justified in trying to create an impression of calm in the interests of a broader peace when the alternative would have been to run the risk of greater conflict.

My own feeling is that you have to deal with the truth. This case demonstrates that you can’t hide reality anymore – trusting a PR person to manipulate a situation or manufacture a reality is a risky stratgey when every bystander has a mobile phone and news networks are desperate for footage. The exercise has been an absolute disaster for the Iraqi government and most likely for the US and British as well.

On top of the misdirection and communication failures of Abu Graib, the Mirror photos, warblogs and the weight of content on the web perhaps we need to start trying to deal with reality rather than struggling to create and control a fiction.

August 21, 2006

UK Govt enters YouTube

Well, isn't this interesting.

The UK Govt has started publishing short videos onto YouTube to promote certain intiatives – in this instance onw on 'Transformational Government' and another on department mergers.

Firstly, kudos to HM Gov for starting to use these tools. However, I would have to say that the videos seem to embody the same sort of crass self–promotion that you get with Party Political broadcasts.

The transformational government video seems to be the worst of these – considering the governments track record in implementing IT systems I would imagine most users look at this and think it's the worst kind of PR puffery. The video makes no attempt to tackle issues related to implementation, security etc etc and just jokes about without any substance.

Sharing the Leadership Challenge is much more interesting. More depth, insight and explanation. Doesn't treat the viewer as an idiot and tries to build a case and explain it. Perhaps the video could have been improved with more comment from doers rather than leaders. You can still dismiss it as propaganda but surely the point about services like YouTube is that you have a cracking right of reply mechanism. What will be interesting is whether the Public Sector Unions come back with an alternative view of TFL.

These are still early days in terms of the use of this channel, but you can start to see how organisations are going to jump in (I know we are planning stuff…) – but also how the channel users can quickly respond to communications with their own videos, comments and insight.

For your amusement here are the two vids, thanks to the power of BlogBuilder media tags – reproduced with absolutely no permission whatsoever:

August 07, 2006

PR and Youtube

Writing about web page

Interesting 'expose' of a spoof video posted to Youtube uncovered by the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by a PR firm working on behalf of the oil industry in the US the video parodies Al Gore and his campaign to raise the profile of issues related to global warming.

I am not surprised that Youtube is being used in this way. What surprises me is that all Exxon can do is take the piss – and do so in such a way as to attempt to hide a films origin.

One of the reasons that PR gets such a bad press (hahaha!) is that it is perceived to be underhand and sly in how it operates. This sort of crap just makes it harder for the rest of us.

August 02, 2006


Writing about web page

via BoingBoing – perhaps American Universities are not that far ahead in their marketing:


July 20, 2006

Sarah Beeny and her amazing elastic pregnancy

I find Sarah Beeny's pregnancies very odd.

Apart from the fact that she seems to be fertilised simply by being on telly (seriously – have you ever seen a series where she hasn't been pregnant at some point? I think medically it's called the Davina McCall syndrome.) her pregnancy seems to expand and contract within the programme.

For example, last night she seemed to be more pregnant half way through than at the end!

Kind of gives away the programme editors art a little don't you think.

May 08, 2006

podcasts part2

Follow-up to Podcast stats from Contemplating the Frame

As a nice little coda to my earlier post I got a call from a journalist today who wants to use one of the Warwick Podcasts as part of a package of material he is producing for their publication.

This is great for a few reasons – firstly it was a request to use the original content, not edited or rebranded – we must be doing something right then! Secondly it shows that Journalists are catching on to the new PR/Comms tools and that we are right to be supplying content in this way.

I also did some fag packet maths – 1250 downloads at around 20 minutes each is 25,000 minutes of Warwick content served.


Podcast stats

Writing about web page

With the help of Chris May we moved Warwick Podcasts onto a new distribution page which has made publishing a lot easier. The other major benefit is that we can now get much clearer stats on usage than before.

As we have just passed the first full week of the new system I am rather interested to see how it worked out.

Total Page Views for /go/podcast – 1275
Total Page Views for /go/podcast plus all sub pages – 2827

Downloads per MP3 file:

  1. /newsandevents/audio/nepal.mp3 : Total page views: 135
  2. /newsandevents/audio/techmatters.mp3 : Total page views: 112
  3. /newsandevents/audio/china.mp3 : Total page views: 92
  4. /newsandevents/audio/csa.mp3 : Total page views: 90
  5. /newsandevents/audio/energy.mp3 : Total page views: 86
  6. /newsandevents/audio/id101105m.mp3 : Total page views: 85
  7. /newsandevents/audio/oil.mp3 : Total page views: 82
  8. /newsandevents/audio/discworld_podcast.mp3 : Total page views: 79
  9. /newsandevents/audio/iran010206.mp3 : Total page views: 76
  10. /newsandevents/audio/islam.mp3 : Total page views: 73
  11. /newsandevents/audio/diabetes.mp3 : Total page views: 72
  12. /newsandevents/audio/businessfuture.mp3 : Total page views: 68
  13. /newsandevents/audio/wanton.mp3 : Total page views: 67
  14. /newsandevents/audio/football.mp3 : Total page views: 67
  15. /newsandevents/audio/muslimprison.mp3 : Total page views: 66

That's 1250 downloads in a week (bank holiday week too!).

I am really surprised at some of the numbers for older releases – the Google search terms shows that we do hang around in Google for quite a while.

Another nice part to this is that 90% of listeners are off campus, which is what I would have hoped.

Sadly, and I guess this is the usual podcast problem, we have no numbers on how many people actually listen to the things.

Oh Well.

I now just hope that Chris May doesn't point out some obvious flaw in the data!

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