Archive for November, 2009

Could you just?

Yesterday I came across this fantastic post 'Please Design a Logo for me. With Pie Charts'.  Do read it, it's genius. 

Also very timely.  A bit of a rant coming up but I'm getting an increasing number of requests to provide information/advice for free, along the lines of "could you just send me that list of blogger details you mentioned?" or "what's the best way for us to measure xyz and could you just let me see how that works?"

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to provide advice, input, suggestions for existing clients and indeed with peers, potential clients, others in my network.  But there comes a point where knowledge sharing turns into getting stuff for free.

I'm a freelance consultant, that means my knowledge and skills are how I earn a living. The proliferation of content for free on the web, especially around social media and PR, seems to be resulting in people thinking that these kinds of requests are OK.  But really it's like asking your lawyer or accountant to give you some free advice.  And I can imagine the response you'd get to that.


Image by mezzoblue

Are we any nearer to the Tipping Point?


Econsultancy launched their Social Media and Online PR report yesterday, providing a comprehensive insight into how businesses are currently approaching social media (or not) in the UK. The headline to fall out of the report is that the overwhelming majority of companies (86%) plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, and a further 13% are planning tokeep the same level of budget.

But I think of equal interest is whether we’ve moved on in the last 12 months: are businesses really embracing social media or is there still more talk about it than actual action.

In my recent experience the only larger business that are really embedding social media into their business are either a) those with someone at board level who understands it or b) younger businesses without a pre-existing company culture to stifle it. The report bears this out citing lack of knowledge (50%), lack of senior buy-in (33%), lack of resource (32%) and company culture (28%) as the main barriers preventing clients from engaging in social media activity.

It’s also interesting that smaller organisations (turnover less than £1m) are significantly more likely to be heavily involved in social media.Makes perfect sense, it’s much easier to change direction if you’re a nippy speed boat than a lumbering cruise liner.

I was genuinely surprised that when asked what people viewed as the main benefits of social media, “increased direct traffic to website” was only viewed as a “major benefit” by 56% of respondents. I mean what? Brand awareness, customer engagement, reputation management are all vital but perhapsnot understanding how being able to demonstrate ROI by measuring the effect of activity on brand owned spaces, is why we’re not, as an industry, winning the battle of trying to convince clients why they should bother in the first place.
The first three are lovely and what we know to be valuable but on which we can’t as yet put a price tag, the last one can make it easier to open the door to the sceptic at the top table.

Overall it seems thereis still along way to go before social media engagement (is it just me or isn’t digital engagement starting to sound like a better term?) is anywhere nearbeing an accepted part of business operations. As an industry, education and best practice not quick wins, will be the only way to move this on.

That Tipping Point is a way off yet.

Image by Nicora

Old media. New Media.

On the same day that we hear the sad news that Revolution and Media Week are to close


Dilbert sums up the new world as perfectly as ever.

Incredible times.

Are Maclaren losing the online reputation battle?

Pushchair manufacturer Maclaren announced yesterday that it was recalling some of its models in the US over fears of little fingers getting trapped and injured in the hinges.  Potentially hugely damaging to its reputation: it's one of the most important purchases a parent makes, as of this morning, it's looking like Maclaren are struggling to win the PR battle.  Firstly they're only recalling products in the US which has led to comments like this one popping up all over the internet:



It may well be that there is a valid reason for it (they vaguely try to answer it in the guardian piece) but if so, they're not getting the message across.

Secondly their PR response appears to be woefully inadequate. There is an overlay on the home page of the site explaining the recall and a 'click here for more information' but you are then taken to a general news page (below) rather than straight to the information, meaning you have to click again to see details.  That page does have a FAQ but again it's a bit woolly about why they are recalling in the US and not the UK.


Thirdly it's hard to see them doing much proactive outreach.  The twitterverse is full of chatter about the recall and yet their own twitter feed appears to be broken? Oh dear Maclaren, come on.  You've got to move now, not in 2 hours or 12 hours or 24 hours.  The clock is ticking…..

Twitter fail

Marissa Mayer – truly inspirational

In honour of the news that Marissa Mayer has been named one of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year, I'm flagging up this great video interview, done earlier this year.  If you don't know anything about Marissa or have never seen her speak, this demonstrates why she's an inspiration to so many – me included.

SideWiki – PRs ignore at your peril

Today's Guardian has a good piece from Mark Borkowski about how Google SideWiki is a potential game changer for brands.  He's right of course although I'm surprised its taken the Guardian this long to write about it (in the context of PR).  Neville Hobson's piece on the subject, which was written a couple of weeks ago, is better; much more comprehensive and also flags up the rather essential issue of adoption.  SideWiki has the potential to be incredibly disruptive – user comments in your own brand space, the marketers should be taking note.  But as always, it will stand or fall on whether it becomes adopted by mainstream users.


SideWiki entries for