A PR Guru's Musings is now at www.stuartbruce.biz

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20.12.05 11:11

Top 50 business thinkers of 2005

Santiago I?iguez, Dean of Instituto de Empresa, has an interesting post on BizDeansTalk about the Top 50 business thinkers of 2005. What I found most interesting is that it is a varied mix of 'gurus', academics and actual real life business leaders and entrepreneurs.
12.12.05 11:38

CIPR Rebuilding Hope conference

The CIPR Rebuilding Hope conference will also have an exhibition and all of the speakers have been asked to contribute a couple of paragraphs for display. Philip Young has shared his here so I thought I'd do the same:


PR professionals are failing our most vulnerable communities because we are afraid to stand by our beliefs and demand our place at the top table. Too often we are too distant from the results of our actions and we forget the human dimension of what we do. As a south Leeds councillor the aftermath of the bombings reminded me that the work of public relations professionals can have a massive personal impact on the daily lives of individuals.

We?ve probably all had occasions where media coverage isn?t as positive or accurate as we?d hoped and planned. We look at what it means to the reputation of our organisations. But how often do we think about what it means out there in the community? What happens when the misspoken quote becomes the hot topic of conversation in the local shops, pubs and clubs? What about when Mums and Dads talk about it at the school gate? What do we do when the extremist groups such as the BNP and Combat 18 take our work and use it for their own ends?

Public relations people are often held in low regard, even by colleagues within the same organisation. But our work is important. We are failing people if we don?t demand our seat at the top table and ensure that our professional advice is heeded just as much as we listen to doctors, police officers and lawyers. We have the power to change people?s daily lives and rebuild hope in our communities.

5.12.05 19:06

These people give politicians a bad name

Today's Yorkshire Post reports that the Department for Transport is investing in evaluating its media coverage. Why is this a story, surely it's part of every professional PR activity? Well yes of course it is, but it hasn't stopped two of Yorkshire's newest MPs from attempting to make political capital out of criticising it.

This wouldn't be so bad if they were just ordinary MPs, after all lots of people don't understand PR and might believe the "big brother monitoring" spin that the Yorkshire Post has given it. But these MPs both should have known better. They both worked in professional marketing before becoming MPs. PR and marketing both suffer an image problem with politicians. They are an easy target if you want to paint the opposition party as wasting money. PR and marketing professionals know this isn't true therefore those of us who enter politics have a duty to be honest and truthful about the importance of both for central and local government.

Greg Mulholland and Philip Davies should hang their heads in shame. Their behaviour is exactly what gives politicians a bad name. The only conclusions that you can draw from their comments is that either they were very, very bad at their previous jobs (which I don't believe) or that they have decided to cynicaly mislead the public to score cheap political points. Either way they are a disgrace to both marketing and politics.

Below I've pasted a copy of my letter to the Yorkshire Post:

Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland and Tory MP Philip Davies both worked in marketing before becoming MPs. You would expect then that less than 12 months after becoming MPs they would still have a basic grasp of the fundamentals of their profession. Unfortunately both appear to be keener on providing misleading sound bites rather than using their professional expertise for the benefit of the public.

Their ridiculous attack on the Department for Transport for investing in evaluating its communications strategy by measuring media coverage (Yorkshire Post, December 5) shows why politicians are held in such low esteem. As MPs they have a duty to ensure that taxpayers money is being spent effectively. Instead of using their professional expertise to provide informed comment they have both jumped on to a populist band wagon to deliberately mislead the electorate.

As a professional public relations consultant I, like every other taxpayer, would be most alarmed if money was being squandered on a communications campaign that was not being monitored and evaluated in order to assess how it can be improved to deliver more cost effective results. The Department for Transport has a duty to inform, listen to and consult with the public. That's what we all expect. We should also expect them to deliver value for money and to spend tax payers money effectively. Evaluating media coverage is common practice throughout private business and the public sector. The Department of Transport is simply conducting its business in a professional manner.

Greg Mulholland criticises the government?s ?obsession with spin? at the same time as proving by his misleading comments that he is master of the art of spin! Sadly both Mulholland and Davies are more interested in scoring cheap political points rather than contributing intelligently to the debate and concentrating on improving transport in Yorkshire.

5.12.05 10:33

Yorkshire Evening Post editor goes to Evening News & Star

UK Press Gazette now reports that Neil Hodgkinson is making the surprising move from editor of the 70,000 circulation Yorkshire Evening Post to editoral director of the 26,000 Evening News & Star. It speculates that Hodgkinson might have been attracted by the family-owned status of Cumbrian Newspapers compared to the profit hungry Johnston Press.
1.12.05 16:32

Skype 2.0 launches today with video

Today's Guardian Technology reports that Skype 2.0 launches today. Well it's in my paper version but the Guardian Technology website carries the other three Innovations stories but not the Skype one. You can download the beta here or read more on the Skype Journal.
1.12.05 07:54

Cumbrian newspaper leads the way in blogging

As a Cumbrian now resident in Yorkshire I've often cited the Evening News & Star as a regional newspaper at the cutting edge of understanding new social media. It has had reader's blogs for some time now and today's UK Press Gazette features an article by deputy editor Nick Turner talking about the experience.
1.12.05 07:20

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