THE NEW DRIVING FORCE IN PUBLIC RELATIONS: COLIN BYRNE

Colin Byrne has been in both the private and not-for-profit PR and Communications Sectors for over 30 years; now CEO, UK & EMEA at Weber Shandwick. Byrne’s Political Communications background includes joining the British Labour Party’s Communication team in 1987 as Head of Press & Broadcasting, later promoted as deputy to the Communications Director.

The business school had the pleasure of welcoming Colin Byrne on Wednesday 1st November, to gain an understanding of the ‘New Driving Force in Public Relations’. Colin explained how Business communications are changing forever. We are living in one of the most turbulent times with the likes of Brexit and the ongoing sexual harassment debate, and it is this lack of ‘trust’ which provides a darker side to the communications industry.

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‘Trust is a human instinct which is essential for our survival”

Trust is a concept which first evolved when we lived in tribal groups. Those groups who were better at working together, i.e. more trusting, were more likely to survive. So, how healthy is a society where we don’t trust institutions? Or where consumers don’t trust brands?

The Era of Distrust

Colin identified three very different generations in the audience; Generation Z, younger millennials and older millennials. This changing audience is divided into two groups, the Informed and Uninformed. Colin stressed the importance of not ‘living in a bubble’, ensuring we are listening more and researching our audience properly. If you were running a FMCG or financial service business for example, the informed group would be your consumers.

“Feelings are just as valid as facts”

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Combating fake news

Fake news is sometimes hard to distinguish and can ruin a reputation for years. One case  study shown was the McDonalds ‘pink sludge’ and chicken nuggets scandal. Fake information led to years of crisis management to combat rumours around their food process. In the past, legally watertight statements released days after a crisis could go a long way in resolving the situation. Now, McDonalds has had to spend years using Marketing and PR material to discard false claims. 5 years later and the fast-food chain is still forking out huge budgets for positive chicken nugget adverts! One campaign even involved recruiting Grant Imahara to investigate their suppliers – ‘Is there real beef in their burgers?’. Colin argues, ‘Fake news is often worse if you’re a bigger corporation than if you’re an MP’.

Real News

In the modern day there is a spotlight on corporate activity, with the average number of headlines signalling corporate reputation risk rising from 130 to 1,030 in only the last 10 years. There is a greater demand for corporate transparency which requires avoiding the credibility gap, (the difference between what is said or promised, and what happens or is true).

‘Many company incidents remain hidden – but recent evidence suggest that more are turning into full-blown crisis’ – Mckinsey

Low trust clearly leads to a demand in action, with figures showing that 74% of the public believe the government need to be tougher on business. Colin explained, to be affective we should ‘listen and act on deeper insights to fuel our PR strategies, which deal with distrust and scepticism’. Corporations should consider employing anthropologists and behavioural scientists if they really want to understand people.

The Gut Feeling

We learnt that most trust their own gut over data analytics, although bigger brands really cannot afford to do this. There is a changing role for head of communications, with what was seen as a traditionally niche function, now being spread over those working in bigger corporations. Now, almost half of chief officers have responsibility for Marketing, Advertising and Branding with a 30% increase in CCO and CMO roles merging.

“Increased demands for transparency and authenticity mean that companies must speak with one voice. Achieving one voice starts with integrating the outward faces of the organisation – communications and marketing. With those functions properly integrated, everything else is aligned to be credible and compelling to every stakeholder to maximise the company value proposition” Micho Spring

The use of Social Media by CEO’s is significantly important in driving more engagement between brands, consumers, institutions and corporations. The ‘Social CEO Study’ from 2015 analyses how active the top CEO’s are around the world. In 2015 about 42% of CEO’s were active on Social Media, whilst estimating that in the current year there would be an incline to over 63%. With the likes of our current American President Donald Trump using (or in some eyes violating) Twitter’s site, there is plenty of evidence to suggest this is true. In fact, 24% of twitter uses were found to be highly regarded CEO’s… Colin even claimed he had to re-invent himself as a ‘social media animal’.

Traditionally, a business’ primary focus would be on giving services and selling their goods. Now they are having to directly and publicly face social and ethical issues, such as global warming and even sexual harassment charges against employees.

“CEOS can’t sit on the shelf anymore”

So, What is our role?

We need to understand that society’s trust for business’ is slowly shrinking and we can no longer ‘assume’ or ‘guess’ the behaviour of our audiences. We need to become behavioural scientists ourselves.

Engagement with consumers is crucial. Creating content which is credible rather than spin is more likely to be shared with friends and family.

In an internet driven world, we can no longer wait for a crisis, instead monitoring Social Media platforms 24 hours of the day. Be fast, be responsive and be vigilant.

“PR needs to be a bit more like Marketing”

Colin showed us an incredibly innovative and creative campaign from the Swedish Office, ‘The House of Clicks”. Hemnet’s aim was to be the ‘future of property development’, collecting 200 million clicks used on their property website in 2014 and creating the home Swedes ‘dreamed about’. With the help of two architects, the ‘Most wanted home’ was created. Over 600 people signed up to invest in the property, opening a 200 million dollar market. The audience helped create the content and provide the data, resulting in a perfect narrative and story.

 

  1. Focus on business objectives, rather than just communication objectives
  2. LEARN from the success stories of Marketing and Advertising
  3. Put creativity at the centre
  4. Use BIG data in an intelligent way

Colin concluded, “Whilst on the one hand there is fake news and negativity, there is hope. Business people, generation to generation must change their attitude and tap into their social media selves”

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THE FUTURE OF SKILLS IN THE COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY: Ezri Carlebach

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On the 18th of October, we were incredibly lucky to kick start the academic year with a guest lecture from Ezri Carlebach. With more than 20 years’ experience in senior roles as a consultant, author and speaker, Ezri’s  extremely knowledgeable in his field of Communications. Nevertheless, he surpassed all expectations with not only a thought provoking and motivating lecture, but one that was truly entertaining and surprising to say the least… ( We are awaiting our live Punk performance from Carlebach himself!)

We learnt that skills are interlinked across all types of work industries and sectors, not just in the communications industry.

‘The number one, most important skill is CREATIVITY. ’

We were asked, ‘Which is different, a pair of wooden clogs, a boat or a shed?’.

As expected, the audience were split into three. The clogs and the garden shed are both made from wood, the clogs and the boat are both forms of transport and the shed and boat cannot be worn.

This successfully demonstrated that as individuals, we interpret tasks differently. We are always using those transferable skills we have attained and our own unique creativity. Ezri noted, ‘In the world of work, it is not just about sales anymore. As humans, we want to do something meaningful. It’s the purpose of being human’. Creativity is not just about paintings and visual art, it is almost old-fashioned to look at it in this way. Across all sectors, even the public sector, there are opportunities for you to be innovative and let your creative flare thrive. He argues that Public Relations can often be seen as too abstract and conceptual, ‘It is creativity that drives everything. Learning, socioeconomic change, education. Everything’.

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“When defining creativity in PR, what we’re really trying to define is how we measure the ideas we produce and implement for clients and stakeholders and the influence they have on business objectives.”Claire Bridges

Once we had discussed the most important skill, Ezri explained that there are 3 more which will help you excel in the communications Industry. These were Mindfulness, Playfulness and Entrepreneurism.

Mindfulness

Being aware of the emotions of others, without judging them, is a valuable skill. You can train your mind to stand aside and maintain a sense of flow, which often results in you achieving the reaction you were hoping for. Ezri explained, ‘Pain is inevitable. Suffering is a choice’. Particularly for those on the PR course who will one day tackle crisis work, it is important to stay calm and think rationally.

Playfullness

Although Playfullness is often seen as the basis of child development, it is fundamental to socialisation and the development of society. We are starting to see an increase in companies taking the idea of ‘play’ and incorporating it into the workplace. An example is Lego, who used their own building bricks in exercises with employees to improve ‘strategic planning, communication, and creative thinking’. Apple, Amazon and Google are all world wide leaders incorporating Playfullness into their business workforce, so it must work, right?

Entrepreneurism

The modern interpretation of entrepreneurism is socially orientated and requires you to successfully manage risk, learn from failure and to be resilient. If you can grasp this attitude, whilst supporting adaptation and encouraging learning, you are opening the doors for a more successful career.

  1. Start from Scratch
  2. Learn from Failure
  3. Re-invest

 

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Framing

‘We need to make sure we frame our stories in the right way’

The framing of a piece of writing should follow the institution you are working for. PR flops will often occur when a piece of writing is framed in the wrong way, i.e. ‘I, We, You’. For example, you are writing a piece about immigration. The choice of pronoun, ‘us’ or ‘them’, will tell your audience a lot about your underlying values.

Design Thinking

Ezri’s piece on ‘How design thinking connects different worlds’ for the Design Thinkers Academy: https://www.designthinkersacademy.co.uk/culture-and-co-how-design-thinking-connects-different-worlds/

To complete the lecture, we were all treated to our very own ‘PR Kit’. In it, we had a piece of paper, a sharpie and a tuck-shop style paper bag. Can we find a way to connect a ball of wool, a needle and a brick together, using all the supplies in our kit? After a very comical few minutes, with future PR practitioners ripping up paper and struggling to draw, the results showed that yes we could.

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Ezri Concluded,

‘There are no bad skills, just skills deployed for the wrong thing at the wrong time’

Thank you so much Ezri!


 

Hello everyone! Before we kick start the academic year with plenty more fabulous Guest Speakers, Blogs and Socials – here’s a little introduction to the new face behind this blog. My name is Ellie Tyrrell and I will be taking on this role from Jessica Mckenzie. Last year we shared some incredible experiences such as visiting the youtube space and vlogging the experience. The PR Fraternity was such a big part of my first year at Greenwich University and I am absolutely thrilled to be a member of the exec team. Keep an eye on this blog as we document some of the PR Fraternity’s most exciting highlights across the year.

Until next time!

Find me at:

et8898t@greenwich.ac.uk

Instagram: @ellierosetyrrell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Catch up with the PR Fraternity

Happy Summer everyone! Hope everybody enjoyed the sun over the past couple of weeks. This post is just a catch up on what everyone has been up to over the past couple of months.

Last month, PR Fraternity students Ellie Tyrrell, Catriona Mcallister and me Jessica Mckenzie attended the Vlogstar workshop semi finals at the Google headquarters in central London. The day was very exciting and full of useful tips when blogging and vlogging.

The day began with a visit to Leon’s in St Pancras for a quick lunch, I personally recommend the fish finger wrap as it is delicious! Then we made our way to the headquarters where there were smoothies and a buffet for the semi-finalists. We were introduced to people from the Evening Standard, Youtube Space and the Jack Petchey foundation as they were all sponsors and contributors to the competition. We learnt techniques such as 3 point lighting and how to use it to set the mood. At the end of the day we were lucky enough to experience a panel with amazing Youtubers such as RollinUnGashaa  on their experiences as youtubers, the good, the bad, the ugly and their tips on how to succeed within the youtube realm.

Check out the vlogs created on our day down below! And don’t forget to subscribe for more videos with Ellie and Jess!

 

For anybody that is still in the city, PR events in London this summer include:

  • CIPR lectures and network drinks
  • PRCA monthly member drinks
  • PRCA annual awards ceremony
  • PR week conferences.
  • PRCA and PR week boat party (28th June)

So make sure you are making the most of these events!!

The current exec team are having amazing experiences all over the country and Europe!

Gerda Pinciute- Currently Interning with Lewis in London, before she embarks on her journey with Gorkana later this summer

Hannah Stupar- Currently between Ipswich and London, working at her internship.

Sam Sparks- Currently working and spending his summer in his gorgeous Somerset hometown.

Jessica Mckenzie- Currently working in administration and secretarial roles in her Kentish hometown.

Anastasia grammatikopoulou- Currently in Riga in Latvia, doing an internship.

Mónica Núñez- Currently working in her hometown in Spain.

Look out for upcoming PR Fraternity events such as the welcome event (date TBC) and find us at the freshers fair in Greenwich at the end of September!

Hope everyone is having a lovely summer and we welcome any new students for September!

Kate Steele on Crisis Management and Next Years PR Frat Team!

This is the blog post for the final talk of the academic year. This year has been one full of amazing speakers and events run by the PR Fraternity and I just wanted to take a moment to mention the team before getting into our final talk. Our President Gerda Pinciute , has been strong and determined to improve the fraternity and make it more social, and I believe she has succeeded in bringing the society together with socials. The events and fraternity would not have been as amazing if it wasn’t for the consistent help of our Vice President and our Events Officer, Hannah Stupar and Anastasia Grammatikopoulou. Without the updates from Samuel Sparks on Social Media, there would be no efficient way of putting our events and society on the university radar. Last but not least, a thank you to Monica Nunez, for her help as the Photographer at our events. I have had an amazing time writing blog posts for the PR Fraternity this year and being part of the PR Fraternity Executive team has been a great experience. So without further ado, here is a summary of Kate Steele’s talk.

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Kate Steele’s talk on crisis management was interesting and eye opening to the different issues that she comes across on a day to day basis, as well as her advice if you plan to work in that sector. Her first point was how reputation is all about trust; how to maintain it, generate it and how keeping trust specifically with your stakeholders is key. Another tip Kate gave was try not to panic, as most of the time it is not necessary.

“Always look broadly at the bigger picture to stay informed”

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Kate Steele said humans had two instincts. Instinct 1 was more of a caveman style, using the fight or flight theory, we react to what we truly want. Instinct 2 is more rational/civilised part of the brain, this is what we try to use to make decisions at work and is very important in crisis management. Advice for working in that sector was to think like a lawyer. Your job is to defend your client but keep it legal as well. Kate said detaching yourself emotionally is important in some situations. She has been in situations involving factory closures, job losses, data leaks and theft, product recalls and kidnapping, meaning keeping a moral compass as well as emotional detachment is vital.

Preparation is crucial

Always have a crisis plan in place and a clearly defined team with roles and responsibilities and make sure you have trained and tested through situations before they happen so that you do not look disorganised. Additionally, have resources in place already such as digital assists, media lists, a roster of third-party experts and influencers. And make sure there is relationships ready in place for example local and international politicians, officials,media, academics, online pundit, NGOs, emergency services, as it doesn’t look good to try and make new friends after trouble or bad news had already hit.

 

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Organisations can work with media to build a strong repetitional/trust story…combining what the company stands for; what is does; how it engages…

Kate Steele suggested that everyone should learn about cyber issues even if that’s not the area you would like to work in. In her opinion, because so much is cyber these days, it will almost definitely be involved in your job.

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The general population’s trust in all four key institutions- business, government, NGOs, and media-has declined broadly in the past five years. Also globalisation is seen to have failed many communities/individuals. However, there’s been a healthy mistrust of many institutions for years.

Kate went through the different issues that you can come across in crisis management and the different areas they can be in.

EHSS issues: fatal accidents/other accidents/emissions/pollution/fires/hazmat/sabotage

Employee issues: Labour disputes/executive departures/employee wrongdoing

Legal issues: Contract/intellectual property/improper payments

Cyber issues: Info security/data protection/ privacy/ DDOS/ Phising/ Hacking

Transactional issues: Reorganisation/restructuring/mergers and acquisitions

Associative taint: Broad industry issues

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Overall, the talk was enlightening and incredibly interesting. After Kate Steele’s talk, we had the vote to decide next years PR Fraternity team (2017-2018). It was close but here are our new members of the Executive family!

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Cheyenne O’Kane– President

Hannah Larsen– Vice President

Ellie Tyrrell– Digital Media Officer

Martina Della Maddalena– Photography Officer

Jess Voller– Events Officer

Megan Bakewell– Marketing Officer

Catriona McAllister – Secretary

Good Luck to you all next year, and I hope you create the same amazing memories my executive team have!

 

Asoni Haus’ Ingrid on Building a Business

Last week we had an amazing talk from the lovely Ingrid Asoni on how to build a business and survive in the luxury & lifestyle PR industry.
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(Photo credit: Benedicte Nylund)

Ingrid focused on topics such as how to present your social media, and the challenges and rewards of running a company. She began working in freelance PR and events and had experience within fashion houses before studying Event Management at Greenwich University. Ingrid believes that even though she was more progressed within the industry she does not think that it made creating a business ‘any easier’.

Ingrid’s first tip was to use social media such as Instagram and Twitter to build your portfolio and keep it professional as well as a reflection of you as a person.

“Your degree is not enough”

Ingrid claims that nowadays just having a good degree is not enough. You have to intern, connect and build a business or get a job opportunity from using your contacts. Another tip of hers was to ‘work out what your niche is’.

Ingrid came to create her business when she realised that she did not want to take directions or be dependent on someone else who paid her, from this it made sense to create a business of her own. Asoni Haus is a luxury/lifestyle PR agency who works on a variety of things from events to travel to investing in hotels. Ingrid noticed that lifestyle PR was on the rise at the time, and not only were there gaps in the business but nobody had a strong focus on the Asian/African market.

There are days you do think ‘how am i going to keep the lights on’

Ingrid’s main suggestion for running a successful company is to constantly adapt your business model as you go along on your journey. Always question if there is anything you may be missing and make sure you develop as you go along and understand what your customers want and evolve with the times.

Ingrid graduated in July a few years ago and by August 1st had started the business. Six months on from that she opened her 2nd office in Marrakech which she claims at the time was partially selfish because she liked the area and the weather. However, she quickly realised the amazing opportunities that Morocco had to offer. Ingrid has worked with Free People, Vogue and various other large companies as a result of her office in Marrakech. A further six months and she opened up in Dubai, as she felt that it was a nice middle point for her Asian clients. From then onwards it became constantly about monitoring everything as she was working in many different time zones.

“Go with what the market expects”

Ingrid lightheartedly warns us that opening a business means that you just won’t sleep…ever! It’s all about keeping your ‘foot on the pedal’ and making sure everything is right. In the luxury market, Ingrid claims that there’s no room for mistakes and relaxing as you have to be on and ticking all of the time. Ingrid has created a stunning business but tells us that it hasn’t been easy due to having  to constantly be thinking about what the market is thinking and how to make collaborative partnerships.

“People find us mainly through networks,and word of mouth…not our website.”

Ingrid says that she uses the website because it’s almost mandatory to own a website for your business in todays digital age. However when gaining new clients, she feels that it is usually organically rather than through an online search. When explaining the challenges of running a business, we were told it was obligatory to be thick skinned. “If you’re the type of person who emails 50 people and gives up when they don’t reply then starting a business is not for you.” It’s all about dealing with rejection, learning from your mistakes and not dwelling in the past.

One comment Ingrid made really stuck with me and it was that sometimes you don’t even need to be confident, you just need to deliver the best work and show that you have gone from A-Z to prepare. When asked about what she looks for in an intern or when hiring, Ingrid explained that she wasn’t conventional and hired based on the passion of the person. Ingrid describes the Luxury/Lifestyle sector as the ‘relationship industry’, and how it is all about relationships. Stakeholders and clients within this sector are not buying into the company but you as an individual, so the pressure is high.

“Social media is a business card”

It is your portfolio so be very conscious of your social media. Ingrid says she has rethought working with people in the past due to their social media, so don’t just make it for your family and friends, keep it professional as well. Ingrid’s last point was to always use university as time to prepare yourself, and not just another three years of education.

If you missed Ingrid’s talk then have no fear! On Monday 6th March, we have the successful Giles Kenningham the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister back for the second year running to give us an insight into political PR. Follow our Facebook Page for more info!

The Vlogstar Challenge

A couple of weeks ago we held an amazing event called the Vlogstar Challenge Workshop by JackPetchey Foundation and the Media Trust and it is also in partnership with YouTube and The Evening Standard and run by the lovely Nathaniel Hawley.

In regards to the competition, 150 semi-finalists who will all be invited to a workshop at Youtube HQ and the 15 finalists will be invited to their state of the art production space. The competition winner will be announced in the summer and will be rewarded with £2,000 for their youth organisation, £500 worth of production equipment, and one-to-one mentoring with YouTube experts. It is an amazing opportunity so be sure to check their website for more information!

The modules covered on the day were as follows:
1) The Phenomenon of YouTube
2) Practical 1: Shoot a 10 second smartphone video blog
3) Filming protocols: Lighting, Sound and Focus
4) Practical 2: Create a review vlog
5) Video editing skills
6) How to Vlog: The What, Why and How of being yourself on camera
7) Passion, Purpose and Identity. Translating passion and purpose into a story that has meaning.
8) The Art of Getting Conversational. Having a point and creating your brand.
9) Practical 3: Campaign Vlog
10) Practical 4: Film a Vlog for the competition
11) Uploading and Safety

To begin with, we were shown some facts about the phenomenon of YouTube. For example, more than 1 billion people visit YouTube every month and 9 billion hours of video have been watch. It is currently the 2nd biggest search engine and surprisingly 1/4 of YouTubes global watch is European, showing that the accent really does do wonders! PewDiePie is a good example of a strong YouTube influencer with around 54 million subscribers, that is almost as big as the UK population. Another unknown fact is that 50% of YouTube views are on mobile devices.

The first practical was simply to create a 10 second smartphone video blog. This was our first taste of vlogging and how to do it correctly. We learnt the correct angles which was straight on or slightly raised but never looking down to the camera. This lead onto the filming protocols.

Rule 1: Always film Landscape

Filming landscape ensures that when you upload to YouTube, the video fits the frame perfectly. Portrait, leaves gaps and looks unprofessional and tabloid like.

Rule 2: Focus

The second rule was to always make sure your camera has focus on you preferred area before you hit record. Otherwise you could end up with a blurry clip which amazing content but unable to be used due to lack of quality.

Rule 3: Find your light

It’s suggested that the best light is in the morning or mid afternoon. Make sure the light is in front of you and and not behind you, or you risk shadows on your face and a darker clip without the flawlessness that comes from natural light.

Rule 4: Sound

Sound on iPhones are great until you need to vlog outside or in a noisy background, when that happens the sound can get lost. The best suggestion is to either get a vlogging camera, or if you have a small budget like most students, your best bet is to purchase a plug in microphone.

After the protocols and a few more practice vlog runs…we were ready to be let loose. We all had to create a one minute video of anything we would like to submit to the vlogstar competition.

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We had 1 hour to go off and film a topic close to us or just anything that we have an interest in. We then had 30 minutes to edit our content into one minute, which was a challenge for some who had a lot of rich content. We then submitted and were lucky enough to watch back everyone’s vlogs.

This was the Vice President of the PR Fraternity’s vlog she submitted:

The day overall was thrilling and eye opening and if you want to apply and fit the criteria, then you have until the 4th March to send off a vlog of your own. If you missed this event, not to worry! On Monday 6th March, we have the successful Giles Kenningham the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister back for the second year running to give us an insight into political PR. Follow our Facebook page for updates!

 

The Evolution of Public Relations: Campaigns that Shook the World

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Last week we had a lovely talk from the dazzling Danny Rogers who is the Editor-in-chief for PR week. Danny the author of, ‘Campaigns that Shook the World: The Evolution of Public Relations‘, talked through his intriguing take on the campaigns which shook the world throughout his presentation based on his book.

In addition to this, he has previous experience working for a PR consultancy, has written for the prestigious Guardian and he’s an award winning journalist. Therefore it was an absolute honour to be his first British university to perform at!

Danny began by describing the two original stereotypes of PR and what it used to be viewed as:
1. The first was the corporate PR; where men dominated and it was all about suits.
2. The second which was the female dominated consumer PR where it was about the parties.

He assured us that thankfully it is just a stereotype and not the reality.

In the early 2000’s, it had become a PR driven age of innovation and investment, and Danny stated that it become a ‘telling over selling’ environment.

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By 2004 when Facebook launched, this is the exact moment social media started to become an integral tool for PR and by 2008 when Obama was elected into the white house, his communications had a strong focus on new media.

Danny believed that by 2010 the media paradigm had transformed completely. He gave examples such as Twitter driven news and TripAdvisor, referred to as a ‘me-media platform’. He felt that there is still a growth in PR, but it is now at a much slower rate.

‘Mass movements replace mass marketing.’

Danny then moved on to what makes a successful influencer. He used Thatcher as one example as she was authentic and consistent, despite half the country hating her she was able to stay in power between 1979-1990.

In order to have a good PR campaign Danny had a few tips and observations. His top three were to have a strong sense of purpose, a powerful and consistent narrative, and being able to understand the shifting nature of influence. He used Trump as an example as he was consistent and authentic, had a strong sense of purpose and flanked traditional media. It was something that hadn’t been done before.

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For the first time you had a man who attacked the establishment and used the ‘elite conspiracy’ as an excuse, which Danny Rogers feels is how the campaign won.

It was an absolute pleasure having Danny as our guest and for the PR Fraternity executive, we were lucky enough to sit-down and get to know him before the event over coffee!

A little bit of networking before the PR Frat event with Danny Rogers the Editor-in-Chief of PR Week ✨

A post shared by UoG PR Fraternity (@pr.fraternity) on

He was able to give us an insight into the PR industry and individually gave the fraternity advice in the different PR fields each of us were interested in – a real help for budding PR practitioners to-be.

if you missed out then don’t worry – just head over to our PR Fraternity on Facebook for news on our future events!

Back on Campus

Paul Simpson delves into returning back to campus for ‘The Gentleman Blogger’ Matthew Zorpas’ event!

Last week, I was back on campus, giving a guest lecture to the PR Fraternity at the University of Greenwich.  I remain an honorary patron for the society, and it was particularly inspiring to see a number of the students I have taught over the years return to Greenwich for a networking event after the lecture, to help inspire those students who are set to follow them.

LCC PR alumni, Matthew Zorpas.

Next week (Wednesday 8th February), another of those former PR students (this time from LCC) who have gone on to success in PR, marketing, events and digital, return to give a guest lecture in their own right for the PR Fraternity.  The talk is  from 5.00-6.00pm in QA280 , Queen Anne Court, Old Royal Naval College, University of Greenwich SE10 9lS.

Matthew Zorpas is a London-based creative consultant who graduated with a BA in Public Relations from London College of Communication and with an MSc in Global Media and Communication from London School of Economics.  I was lucky enough to teach him for the first two years of his undergraduate career, before I switched to start teaching at Greenwich.

Opening my guest lecture last week, using 'psycho-geography' as a tool for reflection.

Matthew was founder of The Gentleman Blogger in July 2012 and has collaborated with respected brands such as Cartier, Chopard, Gucci, IWC, Westfield London, Dolce and Gabbana, Cadillac, MINI Clubman and Coach, to mention but a few and notably fronting the Gianfranco Ferré Fragrance worldwide campaign in 2016.

He has been recognised as one of the Best Dressed Man in Britain by Esquire magazine UK in 2010 and GQ Taiwan named him one of top ten best dressed men in the world for 2013. More recently British GQ crowned him one of the top ten best dressed men on Instagram and a judge for British GQ Grooming Awards 2017.

He has also taught luxury management and digital marketing at respected universities in the UK such as Istituto Marangoni, and has contributed to the London College of Fashion, Regents College, Winchester School of Arts and PUC-rio in Brazil.

Students, alumni and friends networking at the PR Fraternity event.

You can RSVP to the Facebook event page for the guest lecture here.

The PR Fraternity executive strike a pose with me.

Other links for the PR Fraternity are Instagram; Twitter and Pinterest.  Their blog is at https://theprfraternity.wordpress.com/

Hopefully I might see you at the next event on Wednesday!

Paul Simpson on ‘Psycho PR’

Last week we had an amazing PR talk from former lecturer and beloved honorary patron Paul Simpson, who delivered the good, the bad and the ugly within the PR industry.

With a vast background in talent, consumer and political PR, Paul had many truthful and incredibly helpful insights for the members of our Fraternity. The evening was enjoyable and full of laughs from start to finish, and in addition to Paul’s wonderful talk, he brought together amazing alumni and connections for current students to make.

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Within PR, Paul offered us his key points on how to act and what you need to succeed.

Resilience

You need to have a thick skin when working in the industry as well as applying for jobs. You could be the best in your sector and there will still be a lot of people who will say no. It can be a little damaging to the ego and confidence to begin with, but Paul states that we should ‘fight it’ and pick yourself up to carry on. He also suggests that we should question why, as constructive criticism is key in improving yourself.

Relationships

The one thing Paul learned in his experience is to make sure you build positive relationships especially with journalists as they can help more than you realise. When working in PR, Paul stated that it was all about  ‘understanding what makes people tick‘.

Whats the Itch?

What is it which makes the task or story interesting?

Interrogate

Make sure you always ask for evidence and ensure that you pay attention to detail at all times.

“Always on”

 

One of the first stops on Paul Simpson’s PR train to success, is his work for Simon Hughes the Liberal Democrat. Paul worked on writing speeches and national press releases, and although the pay was not amazing, the experience in itself was valuable for Paul. It is where he first realised the importance of your audiences and how to construct your messages to suit different people.

“Seeing the whites of their eyes”

Paul’s next big stop was becoming the BBC Publicity Assistant in 1995. He stated that although it was very well paid, it was more of an admin position which wasn’t his style. Paul wanted to move up and get a promotion, but they typically didn’t promote people within the company. He knew that the only way to change it was to become the top dog. However, due to his heart not being in the job, he moved back towards the political PR route for a bit. Paul enjoyed it there because when people didn’t like his work they told him to his face. It helped build a stronger and more confident version of himself. Eventually a couple of years later, Paul moved back towards the BBC when he was head hunted and made the head of PR.

It was here that Paul was able to have more control in how things were run and express his creativity. He was initially put on the Chris Moyles launch, experiencing talent PR up close and personal. Paul was given the 4am Chris Moyles show to work with, and at this moment in time, Chris was not the well know radio presenter we all know and see today. There were not many listeners or fans and they needed to build quick. Paul had the idea to create a ‘buzz’ around the show. They would turn away people who came to report on the show if the turned up late. This got people thinking that it must be something worth paying attention to if they turn away people at 4am. It was a photo shoot suggested by Paul and his team which shot Chris to fame, even though he tries not to admit it.Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 23.20.27.png

Another career highlight Paul Simpson was proud of, was his work alongside Scott Mills and the strategy which was used for him. At the time, Scott was a closet gay and the public were unaware. Scott’s agent wanted to keep it that way, however when the opportunity to ‘come out’ popped up for Scott, it was Paul who helped guide him with the way it was done. There was a guardian interview to nip rumours in the bud, A photo shoot with Attitude magazine and Paul got a thank you in the biography for his help!

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Pauls last tips where inspiring. The first is be ready to go anywhere and be prepared. When working at the BBC, it took him from Ibiza to Glastonbury Festival to Clacton! His final piece of advice was light-hearted as he advised ‘don’t assume every PR campaign is good…even if it is in PR week!’

Afterwards, we had an informal social at the Greenwich Tavern and it was lovely to have personal communication with Paul and his friends. Paul was great with the first years and is an absolute credit to the PR Fraternity. The executive team would like to thank him for his generosity and commitment to the society.

If you missed out on this  evening, not to worry! Come to the Big Picture Lecture at 5PM today to catch Danny Rogers on ‘Post-Trump victory and Brexit vote, what does professional communications look like in 2017?’

The New Phenomenon: Vlogging

I’m amongst those who have truly been inspired by the confidence of these individuals and envied their fast-paced lifestyles. As a 19 year old, I’ve grown up watching small names grow into global celebrities, who not only dominate the web, but bookshops and drugstores with their new lines and products. It can’t just be me that created ‘make-up tutorials’ or ’20 facts about me’ videos that I shared on YouTube when I was in my tender teens, regretting them when people poked fun at me. There seems to be a significant difference in the majority of views now and rather than cringing over my old videos, I have learnt that if I love watching other people’s content, why not make my own?

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 My blog was created in summer 2016  and I used it as a platform to talk about my personal experiences in the hope of inspiring and helping other people who have gone through similar situations. At first I predicted a strong backlash of negative opinions, possibly resulting in me deleting my blog entirely…I was wrong. In fact, it’s incredible watching the amount of people transferring their thoughts onto paper and creating blogs broadcasting their own feelings, experiences and ideas. The blogging community has created a space on the internet in which we are all encouraged to make creative content, knowing we will be listened to and that we can influence other people!

I had this itching feeling; an urge to start creating my own YouTube channel and putting a ‘Face to the Name’. I can only compare it to wanting to make a phone call rather than send a text. You know you have way too much say or what you’re trying to explain could be misinterpreted, so you’d prefer to have a proper conversation with someone instead. Although a camera isn’t exactly the same as another a person, it enables you to vocalise your opinions and share special moments with others that you can one day look back on.

After making my first YouTube video which was simply a ‘Vlog around Greenwich’, I looked at the analytics and I was left absolutely speechless! I’m no expert and I definitely do not have a PA. Simply sharing my content with my Facebook friends, Instagram followers and through some Twitter pages specialising in blogging, I had reached an audience from countries all over the world. I know I’m not the only one who is excited at the concept of making creative content and building up a following of people online.

I’m absolutely ecstatic to announce that the JackPetchey Foundation and the Media Trust is in partnership with YouTube and The Evening Standard, presenting you with the ‘Vlogstar Challenge‘. The workshop enables you to gain irreplaceable skills from the social media site itself – (WHAAAT!?! – Inside I’m screaming). This event will take place on the 15th of February 2017 with 80 incredible places available. The venue is yet to be confirmed. Even if you class yourself as an introvert, this challenge will empower you to spread your own social issues and opinions, teaching you how to be yourself on camera. Many YouTubers have confessed that it was vlogging that gave them the confidence they always needed, giving them a platform to create their own identity. This workshop will give hands on advice with lighting, sound and editing; an incredible way to kick start your own YouTube channel by simply using your smartphone. The workshop is completely free despite the amount of skills that will be gained from the experience.

Once you have finished the workshop, you will be invited to enter your vlog into the Vlogstar competition. There will be 150 semi-finalists who will all be invited to a workshop at YouTube HQ and the 15 finalists will be invited to their state of the art production space. The competition winner will be announced this summer, awarded with £2,000 for their youth organisation, £500 for production equipment and one-to-one mentoring with YouTube them-self!

Our generation is the most open minded yet and you have a voice. Come and share it.

Jason MacKenzie On Strategic PR

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Why Strategic PR is more important than ever for business success

Jason MacKenzie the President of the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations), joined the Fraternity last Wednesday Evening to deliver a thoughtful  and though-provoking lecture on why strategic PR has become increasingly important to business success.

‘The more you change the more is the same’

Jason believes that the underpinning theories within Public Relations are always the same and he has four aspects of PR that are his ‘defining factors’. They are; communications, relationships, reputation, and return on investment.

‘Relationships are equally important to the PR practitioner as communications’

Jason felt that through good communication and relationship management, this will (in turn) generate a positive reputation and return on investment.

Within his talk, he had a strong focus on how the internet has shaped the way PR is today, ’12 years ago, the internet took off in a major way which has transformed the way PR practitioners and businesses act‘. Jason explained that the new challenge is to generate the best PR plan that can communicate the message clearly through media to influence and reach others whilst being interesting at the same time.

‘Obama is an excellent communicator, and so is Trump…’

Jason explained the reasons why Obama is an excellent communicator and how he managed a two term presidency despite being a black president in a partially racist country. Obama had one slogan ‘change we can believe in’, and specific targets. The former president built relationships, created Obamacare and communicated with the people of America in a way that has not been seen before. Despite many people disagreeing with Trumps beliefs, he had the same tactics. ‘Make American great again’ is the slogan, he has built relationships with Russia, he’s communicated fiercely over social media especially Twitter,  and he’s set specific targets, regardless of whether they’re good ones. When Jason asked us ‘What was Hillary [Clinton]’s slogan?’, the room went silent. This was followed by him showing us a surprising article about how during the presidency campaign, Hillary accumulated a whopping 85 slogans! As a communicator she was weak because she tried too hard to please everyone, rather than following what she was passionate about changing herself.

 The Future of PR
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There are 6 different things that Jason suggested would effect PR in the future.

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Augmented reality
  • Big data
  • Drones
  • Internet of things
  • Wearable/implantable technology

Jason felt that artificial intelligence will eventually dominate writing, and human writers will have to bring more creativity to the work place in order to compete.

Jason final and main point in regards to PR and social media is that in order to work,it needs to be authentic and you can’t control or manage it or the customers!

After the event, a few lovely first year students and the PR Fraternity were lucky enough to
have a sit down chat with Jason, and his insights on PR theories as a lecturer.

It was a lovely evening and Jason Mackenzie was a delight to have as our first Big Picture Lecture of the term.

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PR Fraternity Christmas Round Up

Here we’re again, it’s nearing closer to the Christmas break…finally! However, before you finish your last night scram of doing of your assignments before you head off home for Christmas, we decided to give you an overview of the semesters PR Fraternity’s events!

Without further ado, lets get started:

We started the year off with the Freshers Fair at Avery Hill campus and Greenwich campus! Our newly elected blog editor, Jess McKenzie, kicked off the blogging with her post about the different type of people you meet at Freshers Week.

The Freshers Fair collected a variation of attention from different students on unrelated courses! Luckily, we gathered a large amount of members from our PR & Communications course but we also gained members from courses such as; Politics, Nursing and even Economics!

A great way to start the academic year!

Our first official event was the PR Fraternity Welcome Event held at the Greenwich Tavern. This allowed all members from different stages on the course to network and get know to know one another before the REAL events commenced.

We were lucky enough to have our ex PR Fraternity President, Maisie Goldney, to speak to the PR members about the importance of taking every opportunity you’re given whilst being at university.

Our first academic event was presented by the lovely Orla Graham from Gorkana, who gave the PR Frat members an insight into social media monitoring via a workshop. This presentation gave us an opportunity to be interactive with the newer members of the fraternity as members were put into groups and were set a task to analyse a chosen campaign of their choice. Overall, this event allowed us as budding PR practitioners to gain knowledge on social media monitoring.

Just after the Halloween aftermath, after scrubbing our ghoulish fancy dress make-up off, we had Alex Brooks‘ presentation on ‘Social Media in the Real World’. This innovative and exciting presentation allowed us to understand the role of a Social Media Manager for an education establishment.

He gave us an overview on the varied channels of communications he has to cover on a day-to-day basis. This gave us an insight into what it would be like if we had to manage all of the different forms of communications effectively. His thought provoking presentation enabled us to discover the future of social media managing and how important it will become in the not so distant future.

We were joined by our honorary patron of the PR Fraternity, Colleen Harris, late October, where she discussed the ways of winning the personality wars in the 21st century.

Harris’ presentation covered issues such as social labelling, working in a male oriented world, and being able to create a reputable name for herself in the PR world.

She captivated her audience and gave us an insight into her creative and diverse career she has had. An all inspiring presentation overall!

Luckily, we were able to rope back some PR & Communications alumni to interview them on how they have gotten on since graduating from the University of Greenwich. Katie Swain from freuds and Joanna Ayre from Glass Digital Media Agency, were probed by current PR President Gerda Pinciute on how they have gotten to where they are now as PR professionals.

Our last event of the year was our Christmas social event, jointly held with the Marketing Society. This was a good way to let our hair down before the wave of assignments hit us. This allowed us to socialise with not only people from our own society but also gave us a chance to meet other wannabe marketing professionals too.

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We hope everyone who has attended these events have been inspired by our guest speakers! 13_the_gentleman_blogger_matthew_zorpas_yatzer

Do not fear, there is more to come next year with our honorary patron, Paul Simpson, an ex lecturer at the University of Greenwich and ex Head of PR at BBC Radio 1 & also ‘The Gentleman Blogger’, Matthew Zorpas (to the right), will also be joining us too!

So, watch this space PR fraternity members – there is a lot more to come in the new year!

Over and out until next year…

Colleen Harris on Winning the Personality Wars

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Last month, the university organised a riveting  Big Picture Lecture, with the help of our lecturer Nicky Garsten, presenting Colleen Harris and how to win the personality wars. Colleen, the honourary patron of the PR Fraternity, has achieved amazing things within the PR industry with over 30 years experience in her profession. From advising the Prince of Wales and working for Prime Ministers, to working in arts boards such as the Dulwich Picture Gallery and becoming a Director of Strategy and Communications.

Colleen began by talking about how reputation management is everything when being in the spotlight. The first example given was how the royal family used to be relatively private and it was not that long ago that Harry was in hot water due to racial spats. However, recently within the media, the reputation of the royal family has became more relaxed and positive. This is proof that reputation management can ‘shift perceptions’ and how it is paramount in the PR world.

An interesting fact about Colleen is when she joined the industry 30 years ago, she joined as a young black woman in a time that was still quite racist and sexist. Colleen worked hard to grow her reputation so that she could get the acknowledgement that she so rightly deserved. This led on to her first tip to set strong personal goals, due to the constant rise in fierce competition. We were told about how it is not just about how strong you qualifications are, or the name, or even how hard we worked, it is also a great deal to do with our words and actions.

“Perception is Reality”

The next thing Colleen stressed was the power of social labelling and how it can make or break a person. People react to your label, therefore if it is not strong or positive, it can limit ones performance and perception. The business response has shifted recently and everything is becoming more personalised which should be noted as along with the response shifting, the reputation of business have become increasingly important in recent years. Businesses want their workers to contribute personally as well as professionally and it is now more important to talk to people about what they want to achieve. Businesses are now thinking that people are their biggest asset which shows in the statistics. From 35% down to 25% and falling, brand and reputation are rapidly becoming the larger value.

“Our greatest asset in an organisation are the employees”

Colleen additionally gave us an exercise to do which could aid in improving our own image an reputation, as well as working out who we are as a person. She stated how it was not about how we appear on our social media accounts but how we understand our own strengths and weaknesses, our own values and what we want to achieve in the long run. The exercise was to write down what it is like to have a relationship with yourself, then ask a friend or a colleague to write the same thing. Then look at the differences between the two answers. This should help understand the authentic you.

“Essentially, your reputation is your most valuable asset- so guard it well”

The age of difference is another focus of Colleens and how it has become externally and internally. Externally there is more customer demands, a difference in human identity and due to the advances in technology, there is more choice. Internally on the other hand, there is a large culture change and people have begun to search for meaning and the opportunity to make a difference. When Colleen first joined the industry, she was the only black person in the team across the country, but now the attitudes on race and disability have shifted slightly, although there still isn’t as much diversity as there should be.

The Last thing that was focused on, is how to be a great leader and what they have in common. Here are just a few main points:

  • Self awareness
  • Storytelling
  • Empathy
  • Finger on the pulse

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The Big Picture Lecture was a great success and whether you worked in PR or any other business sector, there was something valuable for everyone to take away from it. A massive thank you to Colleen Harris for giving us her time and if you’ve missed this one do not hesitate to sign up for a big picture lecture in future!

In Conversation: Joanna Ayre & Katie Swain

Last nights PR event was a corking success with past Public Relations and Communications alumni giving the fraternity advice on how to succeed in the PR industry. As well as informing us about their own personal experiences in the industry and how they got to their roles they have today.

Joanna Ayre, who graduated around two years ago from the University of Greenwich, had originally started her studies reading Anthropology at the University of Kent for two years. However, after stopping studying she worked in the retail industry before eventually embarking on studying here at the University of Greenwich.

Katie Swain graduated over five years ago from the University of Greenwich. Swain always knew that she wanted to work for an agency and managed to achieve her goal with the help of the contacts she gained within her 2nd year on her internship at Bell Pottinger. Recently, Swain switched from Bell Pottinger to become an Account Director for Freuds.

Gerda, our President of the PR Fraternity asked them the tantalising questions we all desperately wanted to find out to allow us to gather an insight on the ‘dos’ and don’ts’ in PR.

What challenges did you face getting that first PR role?

Joanna: The belief in my own abilities and what I could achieve; I would say to be more confident and feel like you can achieve the role. Constantly self evaluating can actually help you in the industry, as when you have a project, you’re always worried about getting it wrong that you edit it, until you can be happy with it.

Katie: I think I was similar in terms of lacking in confidence, but you should just show that you can do the job. Once you have the internship, and put your all into it, it can help you later on in your career. Another thing would be to keep your options open as you never know what opportunities might arise.

Tell us about your day-to-day work?

J: I work from home most of the time with an office space in Angel.

It was very challenging to start with because I didn’t have other people there to bounce off. I make good use of Slack, which is a work chat messenger to share files.

What would you want to change about the company?

J: The business is growing quickly and its a lot of work for two people which is a small challenge, but we are making it work at the moment.

Tips at University?

J: Make sure you keep yourself open to any opportunities, for example something like social media for a small company is small but a good way to start.

K: From an agency perspective, they are interested in freelancers quite a lot, so look for freelance work. It’s another way of getting your foot in the door.

Another thing is that you can never ask too many questions; the senior team members want you to have a voice and opinion so do not be afraid to speak up but just make sure you think about your question and use common sense.

What are your future goals?

K: I will probably try in-house more but will most likely end up back in an agency eventually at some point in the future.

What were your dissertation topics?

K: It was based on how social media was changing and the change in communications theories.

J: Mine took a long time to think of a topic – so if you’re struggling it’s completely normal. After endless times visiting my dissertation tutor, I settled on focusing my dissertation topic on social media channels and how the British Museums were using them.

What was the most exciting campaign that you’ve been involved in?

K: HSBC for 4 years. HSBC was launching a report across 16 countries, and there was a huge media bang on the day which made it very satisfying for me personally.

J: It’s not a campaign but I love doing live events, and the live event that I did the other week resulted in 700,000 impressions on the hashtag and trended for 7 hours on Twitter – It was a great result which I’m glad to have been a part of.

Additionally, Swain brought a visual aid with her to help us understand a deeper insight into what Freuds as a communications agency does. As an agency they’ve worked on The BAFTAs and the ‘#LondonIsOpen’ campaign.

At Freuds, client management, reviewing press releases and proposals, drafting messages and narrating for brands, and issues management are some of the areas they work on in an average day in their agency.

Swain believes that the difference of working in-house means that you can really get under the skin of the brand. With it’s wider marketing strategy and developing the digital importance which is crucial for online brands.

As communications professionals, we need to understand its ability to influence.

Overall, it was a great event for those wondering about doing or looking into internships and how to behave once you are at your internship. A massive thankyou to Katie and Joanna for giving up their time to come and talk to the PR Fraternity.

 

 

Gorkana Workshop

On the 25th of October, we were lucky enough to be given a workshop by Gorkana Senior Clients Insights Manager, Orla Graham. Gorkana is a social media monitoring website, who have worked with Tesco, VISA, The British Red Cross and Microsoft.  After studying at the University of Ulster Graham dived straight into her career in Marketing, then eventually joining the Gorkana team in 2013 focussing primarily on analysis then in 2016 taking up her new role as the Senior Clients Insights Manager.

Organisation:

Graham focused our attention to Anti-Weed campaign issued by the NSW (New South Wales) government:

Organisational goals: 

-To prevent the use of cannabis in NSW, particularly among young people.

-To increase the number of young people who have never tried cannabis.

Campaign objectives:

-To raise awareness of the risks or consequences of recreational use of cannabis.

-To empower teens to reject the first use of cannabis for recreational purposes.

Communication objectives:

  • Appeal to the curiosity and involvement, associated with smoking cannabis.
  • To challenge the belief that cannabis is a safe and acceptable drug.
  • To empower teens with the know how to reject use of cannabis in social situations.
  • To empower young people to look after their mates and discourage use of cannabis.

Primary audience is people 14-18 years old in NSW who are contemplating trying cannabis, people who have used cannabis but not frequently, people influenced or around peers who are users.

Secondary audience are young people 14-18 years old in NSW who are not contemplating trying cannabis (never used).

Other influencers can be peer groups of the primary target audience or influencers such as teachers.

Measurement Framework:

Gorkana tries to balance their social media campaigns around a measurement, and by this they encapsulate four key features that allow a campaign to be effective and last a long period of time.

The objectives are usually based upon strategic planning which allows the campaign to be organised professionally, communications objects which focuses upon the different channels of communications and how to effectively use them, target audience being able to connect with the correct publics, and benchmarking which essentially means evaluating and comparing other campaigns.

Inputs such as activity plan which is a plan to crate a buzz around the campaign, campaign the event which is bringing media attention, press releases to bring attention to written and online press, events, media and influencers such as YouTubers or celebrity endorsement. These inputs allow the campaign to become efficient

Outputs qualitative metrics which analyses the amount of people who have interacted and have opinions on the campaign, quantitive metrics the amount of people who have shared, liked or even viewed the said campaign and targeting metrics the predicted outcomes of the campaign set.

Outcomes include social media engagement which entails the amount of impressions the tweets or Facebook interactions the campaign has had, increasing awareness of the message the campaign is trying to send to its publics and eventually the all important sales that the campaign is trying to receive.

Crisis Management: The Ebay vs Facebook debate

Ebay got into some hot water, after people were found selling holocaust memorabilia products on their site. Ebay immediately understood the mistake of allowing the memorabilia to be sold so released a statement apologising to the public.

Whilst similarly, Facebook also got into a sticky situation when a video of a woman being beheaded in Mexico went viral on their feed.

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Facebook left it there rather than delete it; Facebook issued a statement saying that it wasn’t up to them to remove it as what people post is their prerogative leading Facebook to never issue an apology statement.

The moral of these issues was to always issue and apology as soon as possible to calm the situation in hand or in the case of Facebook – don’t say anything at all. Don’t send an apology statement after the incident.

The Gorkana workshop allowed us to understand how to create objectives for a campaign, allow it to grab the limelight and also how to deal with crisis management hiccups efficiently or in silence.

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PR Frat members, Orla Graham and our course leader Nicky Garsten.

Social Media in the Real World

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Alex Brooks kicking off his talk on ‘Social Media in the Real World’

Most millennials nowadays know how to use social media but when it comes to managing it, panic can occur, as guest speaker Alex Brooks pointed out Thursday evening.

After initially studying Public Relations then changing to Politics at the University of Greenwich, Alex Brooks decided to make the move from student to staff and is now the Social Media Manager here at the University of Greenwich. In his time running all social media accounts for the university, Brooks has learned a fair few tips about the industry and how to keep up with the fast changing nature of the internet.

Below is Brooks’ favourite social media campaign associated with Taco Bell’s campaign ‘Taco Emoji’:

University of Greenwich: What’s it like?

Brooks’ job entails managing the wide scale of social media accounts of the University of Greenwich; from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Snapchat. Brooks is able to create relevant content for all channels of communication.

Brooks believes that social media effectiveness is key to creating relevant content for the target audiences. 

Describing his job as; “PR, Marketing, Customer Service and Engagement all rolled into one.”

The university generally reports on all the posts sent to each channel and monitors all mentions and comments made by the public to benefit the university in general. For example: during the winter months, students would tweet about the heating, and this would be reported via his role and the heating would be turned on.

Social Media and What’s Changing:

There are a few key points Brooks addressed about the changing world of social media, the first being Platform Sprawl. The platforms we use to post and share are constantlyImage result for social media channels fading in and out. Facebook is thriving, Pinterest is dying, Vine is dead, and Bebo is making a return. Yes…Bebo. In an industry where platforms are coming to life, dying, and resurrecting, it’s crucial to keep up with the trends.

Then there’s Overlapping. This is how Instagram decided to introduce the Stories feature which, as we may know, is pretty much Snapchat. Facebook has now utilised the use of the hashtag, made popular by Twitter.  When platforms overlap users are more likely to use the original platform in which the feature was first introduced. A show of hands in Brooks presentation revealed that no one in the room who used Instagram used Instagram Stories, instead opting to use Snapchat.

Most social media trends are down to the user and same goes for the pattern of Changes in Behaviour. This is a platform change that results in the behaviour of everyday social media users. Facebook was once on its way to becoming a platform that only middle aged mothers used but is now just as popular with millennials as ever. Features such as video and hashtags are attributes to this trend of use. Twitter, a once popular platform for sharing personal updates is now rapidly depleting in performance and has become a source of news headlines rather than personal posts. Keeping up with changes in behaviour on social media platforms is a task any social media manager must learn to master.

How do we cope?

That’s the big question on everyone’s lips whilst the ever-growing communication channels evolve! Brooks stated that we must create a strategy and furthermore a plan to deal with the new communications channels; by strategising and planning around the channels it allows a brand, organisation or company to perform to best of it’s ability.

Potential Trends of 2017:

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  1. Dark Social – as privacy is growing as employers search the demons in everyone’s closet, stalking social media accounts back to when they first started being on social media platforms, people have became more private on social media accounts. Although this is great for the individual, for brands, an organisation and companies it leaves them in the dark, with no content of knowing if their brands having affected the ‘dark social’ accounts of private users.
  2. Augmented and virtual reality – Pokemon Go seemed to have a massive impact on virtual reality with the release of their new app this summer – with the app going viral within 24 hours. This leads us to the question, will this be the start of a whole new revolution of social gaming in 2017?
  3. Chatbots – like Siri, Brooks believed that there will be a new technology which will be able to cut out the middleman and be able to grant wishes at the touch of a button. E.g. When booking a flight, via the chatbot it will allow a user to book a flight within minutes by simply talking to the bot.

Brooks was able to give us an insight into the world of social media, monitoring and the future of digital communication, which will not only benefit us students in the new digital age but also allow us to understand how to target and communicate our messages effectively and responsibly.

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PR Frat Members & our guest speaker Alex Brooks


Working with Global Teams

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Last week, we were visited by a guest lecturer Kate Steele who is the Executive Vice President at CreationCreation is a full-service global communications agency who create ideas that inspire people to think, behave and do things differently. Ideas that are powerful enough to drive internal and external communications across any channel, in any format; to engage audiences through every touch point they experience a brand or participate in its story. Overall, this informs everything they do, always.

Similarly to many lecturers, Kate created a sort of engagement any lecturer would dream to create – making all students ‘googley eyed’ with awe of her knowledge & experience in the communications industry creating full attention for the whole hour to each and everyone one of the students in the class. And to keep up that momentum at 9am with a bunch of students is an applause worthy achievement; I for one was inspired!

So, without further ado this is some of the topics Kate covered in her lecture about:

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Empathy:
The first question she asked was “Are you?”. Look at the picture to the right, and tell me what you see? You would probably reply, ‘an elder woman swimming’, but with empathy, you don’t only just see the glaringly obvious; you read deeper into the picture.

As campaigns would look at this picture above in an empathetic way. E.g. they would not only seen an elder woman, they would see a woman who is with her friends and who is full of joy. Thus, if someone read this picture lacking empathy, they would just see this as an old woman swimming and not at the deeper meanings behind the picture – if the team misread the picture, this would further create a communication barrier, a perceptual error, the campaign would therefore miss the match and not have a successful campaign.

Empathy is something which varies from person to person, but to have a deeper understanding of people and being empathetic allows you as a team member to be a productive member of a team.

The Culture Map:

Erin Mayer the author of ‘The Culture Map’, describes in her book the specific differences in how people from different cultures communicate and consider ideas at work. Below is a Ted talk on the ‘Low Context vs. High Context’ in different cultural societies:

8 points on Cultures and Working with Different Cultures:

  • Communication – In different cultures, communication is vastly different.
  • Evaluation – With the Dutch, they’re ‘straight to the point’ and are direct with their feedback thus fastening up the communications process. Whilst on the other hand, China in Kate’s experience, whilst producing a pitch to a company, the meeting was a jaw droppingly long 5 hour pitch. On the other hand, a happy medium would be Germany, as they work on explaining how they got to the point. The fact of the matter is, is that before you try to communicate internationally, you should evaluate the different cultural differences you would have to adjust your pitch to to facilitate a certain culture.
  • LeadershImage result for different culturesip -In some organisations there might be a hierarchical system, where the CEO or whoever is the decision maker would discuss the plans with those lower than them to make a consensus, but overall, the highest power would make the final decision. Which further asks us the question – ‘How do you influence them?’.
  • Decision Making – This is basically weighing up both sides, what work best and what would not work. Due to students conditioned way of writing essays, we’re conditioned to write things in a way which weighs the positives and negatives in any situation in an argument thus benefiting us in making the most out of any opportunity that arises.
  • Trust – Having a balanced two way communication that is built on a foundation of trust is integral to understanding others. Making sure one and another can trust one another allows the driving force behind two cultures to work well hand-in-hand.
  • Disagreement – Is to avoid confrontation. E.g. when some Americans host pitches they seem to be the politest, wishing the client to have a great day. Although these seem to be normal minuscule niceties, it allows both parties to work harmoniously together. In contrary, creating teams which work best together is also crucial an example of this is that usually male and female teams seem to work best altogether in some cases.
  • Scheduling – being able to work with people around the world has proven to be difficult with the constant time differences. Being able to schedule an appropriate time to call or email is important in understanding the different cultures.

Another point, Kate spoke about was the importance of persuasion and being persuasive. Making persuasive arguments to win any case, whatever the culture might be, being able to evaluate and thus persuading the leaders to agree with you.

Hopefully the above points allowed you to gather an insight in dealing with different cultures, and being able to understand and handle different cultures.

City A.M Christian May Big Picture Lecture

A couple of weeks ago, we had a insightful big picture lecture from the editor of City A.M, Christian May. City AM is a newspaper that prints the latest UK and world business and finance news. Christian has previously worked as a Director of Communications at the Institute of Directors and in Westminster for a small company that was run by a former journalist. Christian has a wide range of experience in broadcast media audience, selling stories to newspapers in order to try and improve political agenda and influence the media coverage. Christian propelled in education, gaining an impressive Masters in Journalism from City University in London.

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When talking about hiring in the company, Christian said how he preferred to hire ‘from unconventional backgrounds’ as it may help the company grow more than you realise. When working in journalism, PR or communications, writing well is more than a necessity, it is highly valued. Another tip is to be prepared for the fast paced and time consuming nature of the job. Other tips Christian May gave was to ‘exercise good judgement, courage, and persuasion when talking to people. Good human relations is important in communications to build trust.’ Another interesting piece of advice was to always have a healthy sense of scepticism and to not take ‘everything at face value’.

City A.M prints up to 100,000 copies every day, and the final changes can be made any time before 1AM. It has been described as the ‘tabloid financial times’, and it posts current and interesting content for anyone interested in business as well as residents in the London area. During their morning meeting they go over their ‘master news list’ which contains the priorities of the next days issue. This can contain everything from exclusive stories to interviews and normal daily information. Eventually, City A.M wants to become less about business and financial news but more focused on city life to target more residents in general rather than business and financial oriented audiences.

Christian May’s Lecture was enganging and an interesting point of view, and there are a few general reasons why a big picture lecture is a worthy experience.

  • You could gain insight from sectors you did not know much about
  • You receive tips from inspirational people with amazing experience in the industry
  • PASSPORT POINTS!!

 

Here is the link to the City A.M website for those of you who are interested to know more! http://www.cityam.com/news

PR Fraternity: Welcome Event

To kick off the academic year in a new and fierce way the PR Fraternity hosted their first social event of the year. The Welcome Event which had a high turn out at the Greenwich Tavern on the 27th of September was a brilliant success. We had people socialising from 1st, 2nd and 3rd years as well as students on placements, alumni, lecturers and fraternity members from other courses, bringing an old and new brilliance to the Fraternity.  We hope that the fresh-faced 1st years now feel more comfortable and have a wider knowledge on what the PR Fraternity and the events are all about!

We were lucky enough to witness a fantastic speech made by our own University of Greenwich PR graduate and former PR Fraternity president Maisie Goldney, who spoke about making the most of the fraternity during our time at university. The connections people have made from the PR Fraternity have led undergraduates to get internships and graduates to get jobs. Over the summer, one of our students landed a PR Internship role at the London based PR agency ‘Eulogy!’ after the ‘In Conversation with Adrian Brady’ event the CEO of Eulogy! Unsurprisingly, this connection was created by the relationship our former president Siobhan Filsell made when she did an internship in the same agency the previous year. These sort of connections Maisie covered are key in how we should take every opportunity that comes our way with both hands.

“Take every opportunity that comes your way whilst at university – don’t be scared of the unknown.” – Maisie Goldney

During her time at the University of Greenwich, she was elected as the PR Fraternity President (2013-2014) where she was in charge of running the society events, getting guest speakers and liaising with PR professionals to improve the employability of current PR Students and additionally broaden their knowledge on the PR industry.  This widened her own knowledge as well helping others understand the industry alongside. Maisie (pictured in ‘full-flow’ below) is now working for Ford as the Press Officer of Corporate Affairs leading the communication on ‘Ford Smart Mobility’ and ‘Driving Skills for Life’.

The PR Fraternity Welcome Event

Hopefully this event is a prerequisite for  events to come with a high turn out – we would like to thank all those who came and the lecturers who supported the PR Fraternity ‘Weclome Event’. Over and out for now.

Types of People You’ll Meet at Freshers

Hello everyone, my name is Jessica McKenzie and I am the new blogging exec for the 2016/2017 academic year! I thought the first post should be light-hearted and freshers-related as it is looming, so here is my top 10 people that you will come across in freshers’ week.

  1. The Smooth Criminal

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This person is that guy or girl that is the life of the party and everyone’s best friend at freshers, they go to all of the freshers events, the fair, you literally see them everywhere…but as freshers ends, they disappear. They go from being everywhere to nowhere; you wonder if they took too many jelly shots and turned into jelly because they fell off the grid.

  1. The Bestie

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This is the crazy twin that you meet and instantly see your future friendship with, especially when you realise you have the same kebab shop order. This guy or girl will be your food shop/drinking/hair-holding/gym-going best friend for the rest of your uni experience!

  1. Chunder Chums

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This one goes without saying – it is that one person or few people during freshers that try to keep up and ‘peak’ during pre-drinks and will be violently ill before you have even reached the club.

  1. The Silent Partner

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This is the flatmate that will be like a ghost all year! You wonder if they eat because they’re never in the kitchen, you spend half the time wondering if they are back at their parents or hiding in their room, and there will be an exchange of around 10 words…the entire year. You try to invite them on nights out and meals out but when they turn down your homemade cocktail, you leave them be.

  1. The Lecturers

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Now we have the people that are the actual reason we go to uni! Some are helpful, some are late and some are just plain awesome. Unless you went to college instead of sixth form, for most people calling them by their first name will feel weird to begin with but by the end of the first term you will use their first name so much it sounds like they’re an old pal.

  1. Reps and Promoters

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If they’re not your friend…they’re your enemy! As a friend, the rep/promoter will sort you out with the best nights out in London for a price that doesn’t break the bank! They have the booze, the pals, and if you want night of giggles and shots, they’re your guy. If they’re not your friend, their constant messages and promises to get you a table (they probably won’t, they just need to fill the club) will make you want to close down the club they’re trying to throw you in. ‘No it’s not my birthday’, ‘Please stop the messages’ and ‘No I don’t want to spend hundreds on watered down drinks’, are just a few of the polite responses you’ll probably send back.

  1. The Pod People

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As a fresher, nobody will tell you how irritating you will eventually find the pod people. The pod is a squidgy comfortable sitting area in the library that is fit for around 6-8 people. However, there are some ever so kind people that seem to take a whole pod to themselves and nap in it/watch Netflix/anything that’s not actual work. Especially when the library is 24 hours (Yes, you will be there at 2 AM!), there is nothing worse than dragging your tired bods to the pods to find one person setting up permanent residence there.

  1. The Mature Student

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The mature students can be hard to notice, because you cannot tell if they are lecturers or not, but they are there. They are the keen beans in class, and as much as we do not want to admit, age does mean they are a bit wiser. They typically offer useful advice on how to cook, how to not put a load of washing on…without your clothes in (I did that) and general handy stuff that you wouldn’t think to do.

  1. Sports Societies

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Three words. Wednesday.Sparrows.BOOZE. The Sports Societies own Wednesdays, you will soon come to learn. Wednesday is typically matches day, and after they’ve finished hopefully winning, Sparrows Bar is where they turn. You may get glued to the floor, and there will most likely be someone in costume, but all in all it’s a good night (if you’re mortal!)

  1. The Greatest People You Will Ever Meet(!!)

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Finally the PR Fraternity!! We are the best crazy little family and we are currently the biggest academic society at Greenwich! We study together, party together, feel hungover together and work well as a team. So if you want a society for life and not just 3 years, we are the ones for you!

Nicky Campbell on interview techniques, media management strategy & his love of elephants…

This week we had the very exciting opportunity of hearing Nicky Campbell speak exclusively to us at the PR Fraternity! And I think I can speak for all of us when I say that he was the most honest, open and genuine expert from the industry we’ve ever met!

As most of you will know, Nicky broadcasts on BBC Radio 5’s breakfast show, where he mostly takes on the role of the interviewer. Before we talk about the all important interview technique Nicky taught us, as well as his views on social media, campaigning, media management and music as a PR tool, I thought I’d give you a bit of an insight into how Nicky’s day to day life as a broadcaster goes…

Firstly, for those of you that complain about your timetable, Nicky once flew there, and back, to New Zealand… IN ONE DAY! (Now that is busy!) However, despite his hectic schedule Nicky assured us that it’s actually crisis comms that keeps him ticking – it’s thrilling to be the one rolling out a story that has broken live the same morning. The advice that moving on once you become complacent is probably what makes the broadcaster so good at his job – you also have to leave your own personal thoughts and opinions at the door of the broadcast room (once you become biased, you become ineffective as an interviewer).

So, this is probably a good time to talk about Nicky’s wonderful advice he gave on how to undertake/respond to an interview, and the challenging questions that come with the process! (There’s a lot here, so grab a pen and paper!)

As the interviewer:

  1. It’s all about challenging people and getting the truth out.
  2. No one can attack something they truly believe in – all good journalists try to find a way to get a comment from both sides though!
  3. Have a professional side, but remember we’re all human!

As the interviewee:

  1. Don’t over plan answers – everyone can see through this!
  2. Being an interviewer, it can be hard to be on the receiving end – you can think you know what they’re asking you and what techniques they’re tying to use, but it can end up being a mind game and trip you up!

What Nicky also shared with us, that I really want you to all take on board, is how to cope with media management strategies. This technique is useful for personal PR, but not if it becomes transparent and is seen through! People would much rather be presented with a living, breathing human than anything else – after all, the first thing you think about in the morning we would all hope is your children, not your client account…(right?!)

“Affability can work wonders” – and its important to remember that.

We can see that Nicky practices what he preaches – for those of you that follow him on Twitter, you’ll know that he’s very interactive, and takes the care and time to get back to people, with no dedicated strategy (now that we admire). The ability to participate in two-way comms through the interesting forum is something Nicky loves, and an approach we should all invest in to accentuate our personal PR.

After discussing such a personal approach with Nicky, it’s no surprise that his views on campaigning are so strong and personalized too. Nicky’s passion rides with animal conservation – he loves animals and the advanced knowledge that can come from them, plus the emotional side – for example, I bet you didn’t know that elephants (your editor’s favourite animal!) actually cry, and have a bigger soul centre than we do! We’re losing 50,00 elephants in the wild a year, and the video below really, really highlights this (don’t be afraid to shed a tear!)

The more you try to shock people with the delivery, the more you push people away – using negative PR in the first instance won’t work, sadness makes people shy away from an issue  -turn it around with emotive success stories!

(These are great words from Nicky here, and ones that we’d all do well to remember – especially when we’re studying Aristotle’s PLE theory!)

On the PR side of things, we also discussed how music can be used in reputation & audience theory. We asked Nicky ‘Who would you say has the towering reputation of all time within the music industry?’ – His answer? The Beatles of course. From their music you can understand the movements of social change and progress, and they pioneered the way, creating global excitement around every single released. If we lock into this concept, we can see that it is really quite exciting! Interestingly, Nicky has a new cultural information system coming in from his teenage daughters, and this is something we should all value – music can be so diverse that it actually becomes a common interest!

After our insightful talk with Nicky, I wanted to just hone in on some of the qualities that make him the great broadcaster he is, and ones that we can all take away! It has been known for Nicky to call people back after being on air, because the interview has been so emotionally involved it’s important to follow up the issue – after all, it would all just be an artifice if we didn’t do this! So, the final thought I’d like to leave you with this time is…

“the more you are yourself, the better”

 

 

Leigh Holmwood tells us how he bridges the gap between Journalists and PR Practitioners…

Yesterday we were lucky enough to have Leigh Holmwood, Deputy Head of TV at The Sun come and talk to us, and so I’m about to tell all on what he knows about that controversial relationship between PR’s and Journalists. Before we delve in, let’s take a look into Leigh’s background…

Leigh was news editor of the student news34655603paper whilst he studied Politics & Modern History during his degree years, going on to gain work experience and then a job at a local newspaper (see, work experience is SO important!). Following this Leigh worked for trade magazine Broadcast, and then took a year out to travel the world. Leigh then became a freelance journalist, then went on to work at The Guardian, and is now setting the agenda for popular culture at The Sun.

Now, lets get on to why you’re all reading … Our talk today was centered around that all important (albeit slightly controversial) relationship between a journalist and PR practitioner, and what you can do to manage it …

Firstly, its important to know the basic facts about media management – journalists really can’t do their job without PR’s, but that works in reverse too! To start up a mutual relationship, its imperative to be polite, understand the role each of you have, and what you want from it!

Here’s where you have to be careful though being transparent is so, so crucial! Leigh gave us some brilliant advice to avoid any conflict … always treat and compare any of the contact you have with your journalist to a real life situation – would you want someone you hardly knew to start acting like your best friend? (we doubt it!) So make your tone personal, friendly and open, not automated like a machine!

Telephone advice is really valuable, so here’s a little more for you (just in case that part time receptionist job I’m sure we’ve all experienced wasn’t enough) … Don’t be afraid of it! Always call either early morning or afternoon, and never, ever lie or use that famous “no comment” phrase! (Say “let me look into that and get back to you” – Gives you time to gather your thoughts!)

Another problem the PR/Journalist relationship faces is the following up of a story – whilst it’s great to check the journalist received the info, they probably did – and haven’t contacted you because they’re not interested! So, by sending the email first with your story, it gives you a reason to call . Simply ask if they’re interested in your story or not – if not, navigate your story elsewhere! (Essential knowledge to all PR’s – take note!)

When trying to sell in a story, Leigh has some invaluable advice – Keep it simple, be direct, and KNOW who you’re pitching to! (No one likes press releases with huge attachments and a variety of extensive pictures!)

We also discussed how the relationship can change when you’re doing PR for a celebrity – its a game! Their profile obviously needs to be kept high, and that’s why you’ll have gone to press in the first place – but keep it simple, extensive paperwork puts a journalist off their talent and often equals no publicity! (So, if your celeb wants press – make them prepared to give freely!)

Similarly, with corporate issuesbe honest if there’s a script, and give off the record guidance (because surely this is better than bad,
or indeed no press at all?)

Leigh gave us a great insight to how we can help bridge back those gaps that have formed between the dishonest relationship between journalism and PR. So, what did we learn?

“it’s a marathon, not a sprint … you have to move on from grudges”

It’s all about being honest, open and clear – after all, journalists can see through pretty much anything – that’s their job! Think about your personal PR, and never, ever lie!

All of Zoe Collins’ Insights Revealed Here!

Here at the Fraternity we had the fantastic opportunity of hearing Zoe Collins in conversation with our Honorary Patron Paul about pretty much everything!

For those of you that don’t know, Zoe started out her career at Radio 1, but always had a desire to move into TV, so when she got the opportunity to become Creative Director for the Jamie Oliver Media Group, she jumped at the chance.

Before we delve into what we learnt, it’s important to realise just how important creativity is – even 10 years ago there wouldn’t have been specific roles for creativity, but look at the industry now! If we take a look into Google for example, they set aside a certain percentage of their time for all employees to be creative and think creatively! So,not only does Zoe have the word in her title, but her whole job revolves around Food Tube, the video channel Jamie has set up to promote his mission – a healthier, happier life through food. So, let’s just stop and think for a moment – video? In the PR industry? Here comes the first insight…zoe

To be successful with video in the PR industry, Zoe tells us how its all about…content, content, content! Being believable, clear, open and honest both on and off screen is so important – the public will see it’s a set, and it’ll have a negative impact on your reputation!

Before we talk about Jamie himself, Zoe gave us some other really important insights into the industry… emotions, conversations, relationships and food are all channels that we can reach our key public’s through. However, audiences are changing – they’re getting older, smaller, and they all want to consume content in other places (something to be aware of!). Therefore, creating an active community is really important!

But now, lets get onto the real reason you’re all reading this – the insights Zoe gave us about Jamie Oliver! Perhaps the reason we are so endeared to him is because he’s taken control of his own image, and his own destiny. He’s authentic for what he is, and wants to take control of who the public see – the real Jamie. Most of you will know that he grew up in Essex, in a pub listening and talking to a variety of social needs, and so its no surprise that he started Food Tube because he felt he needed to have more feedback in order to give him the most power with his audience. Jamie is also pathologically authentic – whatever’s in his mind is where he’s at at that one time. What most of you won’t know is that Jamie is dyslexic, and that’s what makes him so much more admirable – he manages to build his trust and showcase his talent in an honest, open way, and doing it via YouTube allows him to get his biggest audience.

The final thing I want to leave you with is how important telling your story is in PR … It’s another new angle for how we can get our viewers/readers to understand what we want to say, and a really good way to personalize our message – so thank you Zoe!

We learnt a lot about the industry and gained a real insight into creativity in this session, and we can’t wait to keep hearing what we’re learning!

Until next time…

Leigh Holmwood, In Conversation – Wednesday 4th November 2015

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We are very excited to announce our next speaker, Leigh Holmwood. Leigh specialises in television and is Deputy Head of TV at The Sun. He was previously deputy news editor for a Broadcast magazine and has written for a variety of publications including The Guardian, The Times, Media Week and the Sun Online.
Don’t forget to sign up to receive your membership card (imperative for the event) at suug.co.uk/societies/prfraternity.
Find out more information and confirm you’re attending here.
See you all there!

Louise Cooper talks opinion forming, story telling and that all important company culture…

Many of you reading this will know that on the 7th October the inspirational Louise Cooper came to talk exclusively to us at the Fraternity about all things PR related in the financial world – for those of you that are already thinking finance isn’t your sector – it isn’t mine but I came away feeling like I could conquer the world!

For those of you that weren’t able to make it, either because you’re simply interested in us and don’t go to Greenwich university, or because you’re part of the Fraternity but couldn’t come, here are some basic facts about LouiIMG_0609se before we delve into what we talked about…

Louise is a financial anaylist and broadcaster, seen and heard across most major TV and radio channels, and also a writer and blogger. However, it is for her opinion former role that Louise is most commonly known – in the field of finance she is a provider of information to get us thinking about those all important numbers, and how they can affect the market, and affect us on a daily basis.

Listening to Louise talk through her background, career journey and all of her ups and downs made not only me but the rest of the room realise that she has some valuable advice to be shared – so here it is!

The first idea that I want to bring to life in your minds is the notion of story telling in PR – as Louise so accurately puts it,

“we don’t break news, we tell stories”

and it’s so true – although in PR we do happen to release our story when news comes out, our job is about creating a story around that news in a way that pulls our audience into the mindset we require. It’s also important to remember that numbers tell stories toothink about it, how often are we enticed by a statistic and then go on to read the full story?

millennials_1Louise also helped us understand the recently talked about generational theory within the workplace (we’ve been talking about it in our lectures!). We all know that you can’t ignore the media, and as this is a crucial part of PR and where we release most of our ‘stories’, it’s good to realise that actually, in a senior role, CEO’s are often scared of the media – they can’t control it. Within generational theory, it’s obvious that millennials (us) have much more of a vast experience with the media and how to control it than their management teams, born from the baby-boomer generation. Now, whilst we know that the power sits with the CEO rather than the PR department, perhaps one of the reasons this is changing and PR is beginning to sit on the board is that the millennial intellectual gravitas is being recognized! (thank goodness, because we all know that those ‘demanding’ millennials are a nightmare to manage – only joking, I’m one myself!).

The subject that got your editor really thinking and the cogs turning though was all that Louise said about company culture, and our own due diligence. It really is so important to know the organisation you work for – does the company you’re working so hard for to support their reputation actually fit with all your ethics? Or does it cross your personal line? (If so, get out now – or don’t enter in the first place!)

The popular pulse is all about what the great British public think – of course you job in PR is to keep them satisfieduog, they’ll often be an enormous stakeholder group for you to target – but where you fit into all this is what really counts!

Now, I bet you didn’t expect all that from a financial analyst did you? Neither did we! Listening to someone talk in conversation who is so passionate and driven is truly inspiring! That’s why I’ll leave you with this quote from Louise, and a link to her blog and twitter account where you can gain a little insight every day – she’s kind enough to give over her knowledge for free despite her VERY busy schedule, so take it!

“under promise and over deliver, always”

@Louiseaileen70

coopercity.co.uk

Until next time, your Editor…

GETTING TO GRIPS WITH CREATIVITY IN DENMARK: EZRI CARLEBACH

GUEST BLOG: Ezri Carlebach

I’ve had the privilege of working with the team at Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture for the past couple of years, seeing it go from business strategy and stakeholder engagement plan to full-on festival mode for a whole year, and now – as the year comes to a close – the legacy planning phase.

It’s been a ground-breaking experience for Aarhus, with increases in investment, tourism, and international profile. A key part of the legacy is the institutional capacity and individual capability that the city and region’s creative and cultural industries have received. It’s a huge boost for a burgeoning centre of creative life, one that boasts great amenities, open and friendly people, and a wealth of natural beauty and sites of historic interest throughout the region.

Aarhus and the surrounding Central Denmark Region also belong to the global Districts of Creativity Network, along with places like Rio de Janeirho in Brazil, Shanghai in China – and all of Scotland! The growth of the DC network is linked to a policy tilt towards ‘smart cities’, in which digital tools and connectivity are joined-up with urban infrastructure, environmental sustainability, skills development, and the labour market. Districts of Creativity work to promote core competences that enable creative learning, production, and participation.

A similar set of ideas is behind the development of a Design District right here in Greenwich (free registration required for this link). Along with new homes and other facilities, the Design District aims to attract a wide range of creative businesses and practitioners. The evidence shows that the economic prospects of a region are enhanced by the presence of these kinds of people – the ‘creative classes’, as US sociologist Richard Florida famously called them. The good news is that PR is definitely included!  

At the beginning of November, I attended the Districts of Creativity World Forum, which this year was hosted in Aarhus, to coincide with its year as European Capital of Culture. Nearly 2,000 delegates packed the beautiful Muiskhuset concert hall in central Aarhus to hear a dazzling array of keynote speakers, mix in coffee-fuelled networking sessions, and spread out over the city to dozens of breakout workshops hosted by businesses, educational institutions, and other creative venues. I attended a breakout hosted by design agency DesignIt who presented their recent work with Swedish airline SAS to redesign the in-flight dining experience. We then worked in small groups on a client brief, and I had a lot of fun in a group led by Glasgow-based innovation expert Barbara Chalmers – you can see her instant post-workshop vlog here.

Of the dozen or so keynote speakers, there were three stand-outs for me. First, contrarian designer Stefan Sagmeister, whose New York agency is one of the hippest around (gotta love the live webcam on the home page!). He presented his theory about the objective reality of beauty, exhorting us to reject the old notion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder as – in his inimitable Austrian accent – “bullshit”. He used a mix of audience participation, psychology experiments, and lots of bluster to make his case – not 100% convincing, in my view, but very entertaining.

Then AI expert Dr Vivienne Ming revealed how algorithms (basically, artificial intelligence programmes) are scouring vast quantities of data, and are using ‘meta-learning’ techniques to predict people’s outcomes in education and employment. It all sounds very ‘sci-fi’, and if you look at Dr Ming’s website you’ll get a flavour of that ‘the-future-is-already-here’ vibe. Her work is fascinating, but I felt she skipped over some of the big ethical issues. To be fair, she only had thirty minutes…

Finally, staying on the sci-fi theme, self-styled “science-fiction artist” Lucy McRae shared video images from some extraordinary performance/experiment cross-over pieces, from running in a giant hamster wheel contraption that simulates a zero gravity experience to getting vacuum-packed in silver foil to try and create the sensation of being ‘hugged’ on every part of the body (from the neck down!). Again, check out her website to see what this all looks like.

There was much else besides these three, and other great keynotes were delivered by IDEO co-founder Tom Kelley, architect and urban design consultant Jan Gehl and many more. In the end it got a bit overwhelming, and I was glad to have a little extra time in Aarhus to explore its beautiful cobbled shopping streets and cool coffee shops.