Posts tagged: values

Confession of a PR girl

Claire Thompson, freelance PR consultant, January 2012

3D printer prototype at TVSMC, January 2012

So, hot on the heels of my year’s first blog, this is 2012 blog two.

In all honesty it should have been written last year, but firstly I needed to think carefully before I wrote it – it’s touched a nerve or two. And secondly, but not unrelated, I took some time off over the Christmas period to be with my family.

You see, towards the end of last year I noticed I was choking more than usual. Things came to a crunch at a client event, a wine tasting in Oxford, when I took a sip of wine and found myself attracting attention for the ensuing choking, only just managing to hold down the delicious tapas I’d just eaten.

I was convinced it wasn’t throat cancer, having seen a close friend go through that illness, and how quickly it takes hold and worsens. Whatever was wrong had been coming on over the course of months, maybe longer. But the doctor took it seriously and booked me for some tests.

It’s funny how, faced with the possibility of something that big you get a degree of clarity about what’s important in your life (and as a friend is going through something major right now, life felt a little gloomy). Funnily enough I had a lot of people I wanted to say sorry to and wanted to go back and explain some things. (I didn’t, but still might!)

But partly because of the spectre of being ill, partly because visiting doctors and hospitals ate into my work time, I had to decide where I wanted to spend time.

So immediately after December’s TVSMC (Thames Valley Social Media Café), I headed off for a barium meal at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

It had been odd looking at the people at TVSMC and thinking “If I was seriously ill and couldn’t come back, what would I miss?” And the answer was clear: wonderful, clever, sharing people who I aspire to be like, and whose greater qualities I hope will rub off, from the uber organised Caalie (who juggles managing two great little startups and four great little (and not so little) offspring, and still manages a social life and sanity) to the uber clever Dan Benton, whose enthusiasm makes the interplay between the physical and virtual worlds fun (from flinging wet sponges at a target  – in this case me, for Twestival –  when someone tweets to delivering biscuits around the office in a tweeting train), and all the people in between that I’m not going to mention in case I forget someone, from academics to politicians! (Please don’t be cross with me for mentioning/not mentioning you here, guys, if you’re reading this.)

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Music, money and PR ‘prats’

Steve Lawson

The final thupr was fascinating insight into the music industry as well as having more general lessons for others in PR. It’s an industry of extremes that holds a light up to so many of the things that are wrong with the way the entire PR industry has played out.   With musicians, social media practitioners, digital experts, students, PR folk and bloggers in the same room, the conversation was insightful and interesting.

So many PR people have no concept of business – with the result, in the music industry, that even apparently successful musicians in the public eye end up losing vast sums of money. The whole spin cycle creates an illusion of sex and drugs and rock and roll, a glamour that can’t be lived up to, pressure that’s taken many talented musicians to an early and unhappy grave.

You can add to that the laziness of the average music agent. Whilst I understand that the average celebrity’s PR team may not want to be constantly bombarded with requests to open a village fete (if any of these still exist) it’s nigh on impossible to find out who represents who and get past the ferocious receptionists to offer cash to musicians to be part of a campaign. Have they never heard of the Internet? A quick form fill would quickly sort the wheat from the chaff. The signs are there that music PR – like many other PR sectors –  is simply not getting the new world order.

Music blogger Halima Amin expressed her disdain of those lazy PRs who fail to engage with bloggers – or who prioritise the big titles over the niche blogging communities. Yet in terms of engagement, these niches are far more likely to bring profit to the musician than, say, a piece in the Telegraph.

On reflection, perhaps this is more about the way we (PR) measure the numbers of success? I’d stake good money on this being something to do with ‘opportunities to see’ or AVEs (Ad Equivalent Values)? Yet time and again we see clear economic proof that good engagement brings financial benefits.

Alex Thomson of the Greenhouse Group personified some of that ‘I’m a music PR’  arrogance by failing to even show up – or to send an apology – even though he’d promised Halima he’d be there .

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Be Careful What You Wish For….

Post by Claire Thompson, Freelance PR Consultant, Waves PR

Claire Thompson, Waves PR

Claire Thompson, Waves PR, freelance PR consultant

I was wishing, hard, that Google would let me in on Google +. It has, and now suddenly I’m thinking it will take me years to organise my contacts and am somewhat concerned that if I don’t some measurement company will dive in with a measurement tool for ‘influence’ – at the moment my followed is far more than my followers because half of my ‘followed’ don’t have Facebook accounts leave alone Google +, (my gmail account’s always been for private stuff rather than work related). Although I do have a Google profile for my Claire at Waves PR email address  which is used to access analytics. I can’t link the two accounts. This will need resolving. My to do list just got longer. It feels like a huge invasion of privacy, but I’m   simultaneously compelled to dive in.  I may follow Mr Zuckerberg and the Google execs into privacy mode! ((Oops reverse that – they just went back into public again.)

So whilst I’m wishing that perhaps I’d not wished so hard for a Google + account, the big story that’s been raging, of course, is the News of the World telephone tapping debacle. UK print media needed this like a hole in the head! I, like most people, am absolutely appalled that someone can not only tap into a dead girls phone but delete messages that could have helped bring someone to justice sooner. The person concerned lacked any kind of morality and was quite rightly put behind bars.

But before we get hot under the collar about tapping, we should probably get hot under the collar about ethics.

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The Virgin London Marathon


marathon sponsors - a tube poster


This poster caught my eye as I was in London last week. I’m blogging about it, so in terms of a name check for Virgin, I guess it’s job done.  But in terms of a sponsorship that adds value to the brand, I’m not convinced.

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