— blending the mix

July, 2008 Monthly archive

I’ve been into the whole “PR people just don’t get it” thing ever since we launched PressRoom a few weeks ago.

We spoke to a room full of PR people who looked (on the whole) utterly confused about things like Twitter, blogging and social media.

“My colleague send press releases out as part of his job, will this social media release tool put him out of a job” was one such comment and typical of the lack of understanding of social media.

On this evidence, the suggestion is that indeed, as per Vero’s post, the PR Industry doesn’t get IT (IT being “it” the object, emphasised for dramatic effect rather than I.T. – that dodgy-looking tech department with long-haired geeks in).

But is it fair to say (frequently) that the PR industry as a whole just doesn’t get it? Look at esteemed luminaries such as Becky, Stephen and Stuart, not forgetting Brian and Geoff – there’s no doubt THEY get it! Why can’t others?

On the flip side, is it fair to suggest that the tech industry (ok, the early adopters) are trying to frighten the PR industry into needing their tech/building services by suggesting that social media requires NASA-affiliated qualifications? Then again we all have a responsibility to ensure that we keep up to date with thing going on in our industry – why should PR be any different?

Take the BIMA and Paul Walsh – no, please do 😉 when looking for a new PR agency, Paul advertised it on Twitter only. If you had to ask why, you were clearly not the people for him.

Is there an element of arrogance from the tech industry that they understand something that they know people need? Let’s not forget, many of these early adopters were the nerdy types at school who got bullied for being nerds, whilst the pretty, popular flirty girlies were the ones who went into PR and Marketing (yes, I know – stereotypes are bad, but sometimes funny!).

Ourman wades in with one of the few negative comments about the piece and makes a good point. Do bloggers have the right to demand more careful treatment just because they have a free-will-powered publishing tool (blog) at their disposal? The suggestion is that bloggers deserve more respect and care taken over their approach than a journalist in getting pitched to. But do they? Yes and No.

No, because they are no different to anybody else writing for an audience. Many bloggers want the exclusive, they need the latest breaking news ahead of anyone else just, like journalists. Why should bloggers take any different exception to a crap pitch than a journo?

Yes, because most blogs (and bloggers) are free from the constraints of corporate policy and can respond vociferously to the lazy pr pitches and can quickly slate the poor approaches for being exactly that – poor. Many hacks would no doubt LOVE the chance to respond in the way bloggers can so PR peeps take note.

And let’s not forget what Chris Anderson did (and he is/was on both sides of the fence!)

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Cool stuff I was readingJuly 16th toJuly 23rd:

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Cool stuff I was readingJuly 8th toJuly 15th:

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Wowsers, I have just been notified that a presentation I made for my part of the Marketing and PR 2.0 seminar last week has been featured on Slideshare’s homepage.

Ok, so we are only at 99 views (so far) and the exporting from Keynote to Powerpoint has buggered some of the slides up, it’s nice to be able to get the message out to lots of you peeps! Hopefully this will give the PR world some insight into the tools they COULD be using and realise that they, more than anyone, have the communications skills that mean they can begin making a difference to their clients’ messages.

Here it is:

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Cool stuff I was readingJune 27th toJuly 5th:

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Marta nails it – looks good AND factual!

UPDATE 7th July: Todd Albertson sent me an email to tell me about his presentation about Vision Caster (from the book of the same name). From the brief run through of the presentation, Todd looks to be getting at the same point as Marta, namely that evangelism through social media can change the world. Now anybody of any shape, size, colour and wealth can in fact influence others if they have the passion to do so. (at least that is what I have taken out of the presentation. Todd, maybe you would like to add something to this is it is not totally correct!)

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Something last week took me back to Steve’s post, and how PC design was turning the corner (despite IBM’s Thinkpad trying its best to bring back brick-based laptop design) and I decided to republish a post I wrote a year and a day ago regarding the “fad” that is Mac and why the battle Microsoft are facing is not with Apple’s software, but its hardware.

For some time now, I have underestimated the message behind the Mac versus PC ads.

Whilst the deeper message comes from largely listening to the audio – "macs are cool and easy to use and stunning and sexy and erm…well, just bloody better than the PC" (!!!) I think there is an greater meaning behind the actual look and appearance of the PC in the ads than is/has being/been discussed – and the issue is nothing to do with the OS.

When Apple talk about the PC, they actually mainly mean Windows – yet Windows has nothing to do with the design of the PC, so why are Apple knocking the PC? Is their OS actually so average that they have to knock something other than the Windows OS?! With Vista, Microsoft have brought themselves up to speed and have done a great job. It is more than a visual match for OS X Tiger and previews I have seen of Leopard does not seem to make much more dramatic steps ahead of Vista. But who also has control over how their product looks on the high street? Apple.

Microsoft’s biggest downfall, is losing/giving-up on/never having control of the dull, albeit improving presentation of the very machines in which their product is installed and as such, their OS gets tarred with the same brush. Even early Apple OS’s looked terrible, as did early Windows OS’s, but with design of the machine being so crucial to the Apple ethos, Apple have been able to control people’s perceptions of the software contained within – hence the dull, staid appearance of Mr. PC above. With good reason.

Would Ferrari be happy to put their engine in a Citroen C2? No.

Do Rolex package their unique mechanisms in a plastic case and strap? No.

Packaging is everything. And I am not talking about the box and wrapper!

With the Blue Monster representing a change in Microsoft’s approach to promoting itself as well as the market it serves, maybe it should also consider how the packaging of its product is seen too?

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Viacom versus You Tube
Image courtesy of Rebecca
The web is awash with the scandal of the frigging Viacom IP order.

I don’t think you’ll find anybody in the industry who won’t agree with Pete, but does the general public really care?

If Viacom was what I would call a direct, one brand business, like McDonalds (i.e. the public brand is the trading brand) then I have no doubt that they would see a shift in not only perception, but a direct impact on sales too. People would walk with their feet.

But with Viacom their shows and artists are the brands – the things people love. Are the audiences really going to punish Viacom by not watching their favourite shows? Not at all.

The only loser here is You Tube…because the same people who currently watch the odd show/movie/video on You Tube will simply revert back to watching the same show/movies/videos in their conventional ways – I don’t think You Tube is that far down the line that it has become a TV replacement so what has the average Joe lost? Not much at all.

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As you can see to the above (soon to be the top left when the post moves down the blog!) I have in fact, made it onto the shortlist for Computer Weekly’s “Best Web 2.0 and Business” blog awards.

I have to admit to not knowing any of the other blogs in the same category when the shortlist came out other than Mike’s Techcrunch. That alone makes me think I have some bloody stiff opposition, let alone now that I have seen the other nominees:

* Brian Kelly’s UK Web Focus: Reflections on the Web and Web 2.0
* Roo Reynolds – What’s Next?, “UK-based Metaverse Evangelist, blogger and geek”
* Eightbar from Hursley Park
* DRM blog by CapGemini’s Jude Umeh, from BCS
* Middledigit.net, by Jonathan Hopkins and covers Web 2.0, technology and marketing
* Broadstuff.com from Broadsight
* TechCrunch UK
* Blending the Mix: A look at the new world and new marketing and all it means…
* Paul Downey: Whatfettle, marras?
* User Pathways by James Kelway
* Ian White and Michael Pincher’s blog on collaborative technologies,

And I can’t go without encouraging you to vote for one of my two pals below (who unfortunately reside in the same category):

Steve from Microsoft and Stephen from Rainier PR. Both are really, really good blogs written by two very smart (and successful) guys to boot! If you have to vote – give each of these guys a vote!

Oh…and don’t forget to give the guys at Outside Line a vote too. IMHO, the LG Blog is the benchmark for blogger outreach (and that is no slight on the wonderful work that David et al. do either!).

Don’t get me wrong, these blogs are all good, but if you DON’T vote for me, I’ll get Viacom’s lawyers to force your ISP to give me your IP address…and I’ll come round with some little friends!

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Here is a clip of first 10 minutes of Neville’s presentation, discussing how Social Media is shaping the landscape for public relations:

Neville Hobson at KMP’s Marketing 2.0 seminar from paul Fabretti on Vimeo.

I have to say, I have long admired Neville’s blog and the stamina he has shown in producing over 350 editions of FIR. But the way with which he credibly explained much of the often bullshit terminology so often heard when discussing social media was a pleasure – and I am sure was as well received by all the attendees.

This second video is shorter and perhaps more useful to people wanting to get a quick “what do i do next” fix. In it, Neville gives out 8 pointers about how you SHOULD approach Social Media.



Neville Hobson – The 8 rules of social media engagement from paul Fabretti on Vimeo.

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