Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Internet advertising gaining ground

A forecast by Group M is predicting that online advertising spend will outstrip national newspaper advertising by the end of the year.

Press advertising has declined every year for the last 10 years, according to the Advertising Association and has dropped 3% in the first half of 2006, while Internet advertising has shot up 73%.

The result: online marketing and PR will become of even more significance than we perhaps first imagined.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Quotations for next year's entries

As the new year is approaching fast I decided to buy a calendar for next year.

I decided a calendar with accompanying quotations would be an ideal accompaniment – inspiring me when I have those difficult stressful days. The choice I gave myself was between one with the quotations of the Dalai Lama or George Bush. I chose George Bush.

My thinking is quite simple. The Dalai Lama will calm me down after a pitch where the prospective client decides he didn’t want PR after all and I have wasted my time. But then I thought I have the first series of Kung Fu, so that has all the sayings I need.

It had to be the George book of accidental witticisms. There are enough to fill all 365 days. And it is not so much their comic value as the fact that this man got perhaps the most prestigious job in the world with so little ability to carry out his role.

I used to drink with an Irish guy who professed his love of Bruce Forsyth: you have to admire a man with so little talent getting so far. It’s a twisted logic.

So next year there will be a few quotations to pick you up on this blog.

I have given you a taster here:

“It is in our country’s interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm’s way.”
Washington DC April 28th, 2005

“I think we are welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome.”
On the reception of American forces in Iraq
Philadelphia December 12th 2005

“You took an oath to defend our flag and our freedom, and you kept that oath underseas and under fire.”
Addressing war veterans; Washington DC January 10th, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Crisis PR: a real challenge

Crisis PR should be in big demand, just take Manchester’s very own Shere Khan Group and iSoft as two recent and local examples.

Shere Khan got an unhealthy dose of PR for using an untraditional condiment with its poppadums: cockroaches although to be fair they were fresh and organic. iSoft, a company that wasn’t afraid to be a little boastful, was taken to pieces on the front page of the Guardian; when was the last time you read about a provincial software company as the main subject of a lead story for a national newspaper?

I had a chat with Shere Khan’s PR; “what action did you take,” I asked. I reassured smile came back, new overhaul in management and a new PR agency had gained a fabulous account from them a few weeks before. It wasn’t his problem and good luck for the agency that won it.

I sometimes read pointers in business magazines by self-confessed PR gurus or hear Max Clifford talking basic common sense about crisis PR and getting enormous amounts of coverage and kudos for saying so little.

But could they help Kazakhstan’s crisis PR problem: Borat?

How do you tackle that?

The Kazakhs though are on the PR offensive:

Failed attempts to get Borat’s creator Sacha Baron Cohen to visit Kazakhstan
Failed legal threats
And now a $40 million film called Nomad, which will be the country’s biggest budget movie. It tells the story of the Kazakh tribes repelling the Mongol hordes. Are you gripped yet? It aims to combat the Borat strike against their glorious nation.

Sometimes, just like a boxer, you have to duck and parry and sometimes soak up the pressure.

As for Shere Khan…now that agency is going to have to be talented and clever in the extreme.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dissident bloggers

The Independent covers the use of blogs by those fighting for the basic freedoms we take for granted.

Just by simply opposing their regimes or forwarding a different point of view has put these very brave bloggers in real danger.

Iran might be somewhere few English people visit but Tunisia and Vietnam are no strangers to British tourists, yet all are repressive and cruel to those that dare voice any opposition.

Well done to The Independent for featuring this subject as their lead story.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lancashire Evening Post uses the X Factor for online version

The Lancashire Evening Post has concluded its search for an online presentor for its online daily news bulletins.

The lucky winner of the Preston Guild Hall auditions, as reported on the Online Press Gazette website, is journalism student Rachel Murray.

The Lancashire Evening Post plans to relaunch its website shortly with its regular online bulletins.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Journalists do not like to be told what to do nor to be overtly manipulated

You cannot tell journalists what to write. But there are some agencies which still follow a release with a patronising ring around. Some agencies do ring arounds after for a new hire story! Of course PRs should sell in. They have the right to alert a journalist to a release they think is particularly strong and could be missed among the hundereds of e-mails they receive every day. But give the journalist credit for being intelligent and able to analyse and decide upon the info they want.


Well this episode from those hard pressed of all communication professionals - the Bush spokemen - should tell you why.

Of course I just want to get another Daily Show in but this patronising, stage rehearsed episode is exactly how not to do it. Communication is a two way thing when done well. Of course PRs feed info to journalists but force feeding or crude manipulation can have an equal and opposite effect.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Web addiction

To follow the last article on web rage I have to do this post on web addiction.

A new US study from the University of Stanford found that typical internet addicts are single, white college-educated males in their 30s, who spend more than 30 hours a week on "non-essential" computer use.

So with that: my name is Rob and I am web addict.

If you think you might need to go cold turkey get some more details from the BBC here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Web rage - the first case comes to court

Forget road rage its so last year.

The new trend is web rage.

After exchanging insults in a Yahoo discussion forum, Paul Gibbons drove 70 miles to the house of John Jones where Mr Jones was subjected to a vicious attack.

Gibbons pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and will be sentenced on 7th November.

For the full story please click here. And to anyone who has been insulted by this blog I say I am a dab hand at pouncing budgie paw kung fu.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Virtual world gets its own news bureau correspondent

Virtual world site Second Life is to get its own news bureau. Reuters will pump news into the simulated online society for the benefit of the players.

The Reuters correspondent is a full time staff member; he will have his own avatar (character).

Why would Reuters pay an employee money to work soley in an online world? Well, that online world generates £189,000 daily from business conducted in its online confines. With monthly double digit growth in members that number will increase.

The online currency is convertable from US Dollars. Players can use their newly converted currency to trade, start enterprises or buy properties. Payers can make money!

Not sure this story is real? Have a look at the BBC or Reuters takes.

Creative writing course

I spent the weekend on a creative writing course run by Judi Goodwin.

Intense and hard, it still provided valuable lessons many of which you already know but need reminding of putting them into action again.

Well worth anyone's time.

Judi can be contacted on 01625 439 000 for further information.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Learn the truth about social networking sites from the Daily Show

The Daily Show gives a whole new insight into social networking. So before you spend a billion pounds on the next big thing in social networking have a look at this critique.

YouTube- reminds me of the dot com crash

So YouTube is worth nearly a billion pounds - not bad of 18 months work. I realise we don’t get paid as much as our mothers / girlfriends / wives think we are worth, but even Ashley Cole could not complain on that one.

But has everyone forgotten the dot com crash? Of course there is a reason why this time is different. Yet, the issue of copyright could scupper things before there is a return for buyers Google. There were a few cases against YouTube for copyright, but now it has cash how could a time rich cash hungry lawyers resist working on his client’s behalf?

As long as they still have the Daily Show clips – brilliant US satire – I do not care. And yes it is great and important.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bloggers get paid more than journalists

Can you credit that?

Well, that is the claim from a business blog B2Day, which has been doing a little research. The results seem to have been sourced from a website called Indeed that uses over 50 million salaries to base such statements on.

If true it really shows how we are communicating is changing, and at speed.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

YouTube up for grabs - and for less than a billion pounds

If in any doubt about the increasing influence of social networking sites there is ample proof of their value in the eyes on commercial organisations.

Google is reportedly preparing a bid of $1.6 billion for YouTube according to a BBC story.

YouTube was only founded in early 2005 and yet it is worth £856 million!

Is that a realistic figure or have we forgotten the dot com crash?

Whichever way you look at it online PR practitioners realise that social media cannot be ignored, whether they are over, under or correctly valued in dollars, pounds or monopoly currencies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Online PR is the word

Online PR will be the buzzword for communication professionals in 2007; it should have been so much earlier.

The Manchester Evening News recently featured a piece in its media business section commenting on the advent of this phenomenon.

True, the increasing popularity of blogging and social media sites as well as RSS feeds and other developments are making online PR all the stronger as time goes on. So perhaps the levee is about to break and this is the time when online PR will really grow in popularity. I realise some PR professionals have been invloved in online PR for some time and it is nothing novel or original to them.

However, with the increasing popularity and importance of online PR I have submitted an article - written with Simon Wharton of Push On - to acknowledge its increasing importance.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Marketers get lonely as well

There is a new online dating service for media types called Mediadates.

Its a new site so it is a little sparse, especially in Manchester. But give it a little time. (Thanks to Connect Media for finding that one).

I thought this might tie in as the perfect link between Media Dates and the last entry on social networking.

There is a social networking site called Beautiful People that is only for the, you are ahead of me, beautiful people. The members decide whether you are worthy of being a fellow member based on looks and other essential criteria. I might try to gain membership to ascertain how low their standards are. Lucky for me that Media Dates is free and easy.

Social networks

Online PR will be the big buzzword over the coming year.

Perhaps it should have been some time ago, but the PR industry has its fair share of technophobes; business can also be slow to recognise opportunities. Indeed, even if they do see the value of a certain technology they often fail to take advantage until their competitors do so and that forces their hand. I only have to think of the Internet and the poor sites that are out there to reinforce that point.

Anyway, the BBC seems to be up on the latest changes. There is an interesting article on the proliferation and power of the online social networking scene on the BBC website.

The rise of the social networking scene will further give power to the individual to communicate without having to pass a media gate keeper. That means marketing and PR will have to take note, understand the changes and work with the progression of information technology.

How many will take note and act on those three steps? I am not sure about that - I suspect not many for some time to come.

And will it become clear to clients those that have and have not taken note? To the most marketing savvy the answer is "yes."

But that is not always the majority and so just as substandard websites exist, so will substandard marketing and PR campaigns.