A great start to 2014

dryathleteIt’s hard to believe that we’re at the end of January already, and I look at my blog in despair for the little progress that I’ve made changing it! And my New Year’s Resolution to not over-serve clients and to make more time for myself has long since fallen alongside those promises to visit the gym more regularly.

I did, however, succeed in staying ‘Dry’ for January, and not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips, as I undertook the Dryathlon for Cancer Research. It was received with great humour, with people I work with suggesting that an investment in keeping me dry might save on the bar bill. I’m somewhat partial to champagne so they may have a point! Anyway, Cancer Research is a great cause, one that’s close to my heart, and if you haven’t already, it would be great if you could consider dropping a few pennies in the hat: http://www.justgiving.com/Claire-Thompson-dryathlete2015

In other fields there is lots of progress too.

Wendy Hall

I was  lucky to have worked for Wendy Hall in then computing department at Southampton University. She was one of my unsung heroes for Ada Lovelace Day in recent times. Her work has had huge significance for the semantic web, digital libraries, and more, and she has now been nominated as an inspiring leader for education. Her work lead to my first encounter with technology, and subsequently to my first big break in PR with technology PR consultancy Arrow (now Kaizo). She inspired me, and has done the same for countless others, and if you have a moment to vote, here’s where to do it:  http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/competition/2014/jan/14/higher-education-inspiring-leader-vote.

Samantha Rippington

Sam is another inspirational person, this time from the World of Sport, and I’ve rarely met anyone whose passion for competing in their sport is as equally matched by their passion for encouraging others onto the water.

We have been doing some work together behind the scenes to try and get women’s canoe on an equal footing with mens, and get the opportunity for girls to participate at the Olympics. We have seen some massive progress over the past few months and had some great news about some potential celebrity support, which I will blog about in the coming weeks if it comes to anything. Sam is also taking on a massive challenge in march – again, stay tuned for more!


Chinese New Year

Yep – it’s Chinese New year. You probably didn’t need me to tell you that!

I wanted to point out a lovely article from my colleague TH Ong of Global Integration. He linked the Chinese New Year to marketing cycles – it’s slightly tongue in cheek, but there’s more than a grain of truth! You can see the article here: http://www.global-integration.com/blog/happy-year-2/.

Incidentally, I wrote a post on the same blog summing up the international dates and celebrations that might affect your work in February. You might find it useful if you work in an international or multicultural environment: http://www.global-integration.com/blog/februarys-global-workplace-2014/. The blog’s worth watching as Global integration is planning a campaign against bad meetings – a bear bug of mine – in the coming months.

And another thing….

So while I’m on my soapbox about meetings, another bear bug of mine is what I can only call ‘platform snobbery’. I had a long conversation last week with a violently anti-email someone who insisted that the only way to approach a journalist is in person. And whilst I agree wholeheartedly that relationships are vital for PR success, I also believe that email is a useful communications tool. Similarly, I wish I had a pound for every ‘Facebook is Dead’ scare story, or for every time some social media consultant has sniffed at a particular social media platform, suggesting it’s not for them.

I’ve always been a quality, rather than quantity kind of girl (with the exception of champagne – see above), believing that what’s effective is more important than what’s fashionable. To give you an example, I know that having placed a lovely human interest story  in the Daily Mail helped sell more places at a health clinic I used to work for than all the smaller pieces put together. By contrast, a quality management firm I worked with had one single business target that worked better than anything in a national paper.

And so it is with social media – it’s not the number of users that matter, it’s the users that matter to a client that count. I know that for some clients, smaller social media networks will work better than the (contestably) largest of them all, Facebook. So I thought over the coming weeks I might undertake a platform by platform review, looking at its uses for PR, and counting some of the unspoken rules.

But this is a pretty big piece of work to commit to,  and I’ll only undertake it if someone expresses an interest in reading it. I have email, I have phone, I have a comments box below. I have more social media accounts than you can shake a stick at! Let me know.

It’s over you, dear reader. Over to you….Happy February!

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