The Three Most Important Things You’re Going To Read Today About The World. Trust Me!

We’ve won a big Award. Doubtless, you are delighted for us. But it’s ok.  I’m not going to bang on about it. What I am going to do is something I hope is a lot more useful: draw out the main lessons that I think this triumph of ours might have for fellow practitioners of the dark arts of B2B communication.  Which means that you will get something out of reading this, beyond just the joy of one of my regular rants. OK, joking aside: The team here at Sarum, has done exceptionally well in a prestigious, cross-industry , global competition that highlights media campaigns and ranks how well they performed. Actually, that’s only half of it. There are a whole bunch of criteria used by the judges, all genuine branding and marketing experts. So they look at the aesthetics of the work done, the look and feel of the collateral, as much as the metrics of its impact. And

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Einstein, Socrates, Assertiveness – All In One Day

Today I have two things to cover. One is a bit of philosophy. The other is a reminder of the need for some backbone. Oddly, they are definitely related – and even more oddly, they both came out of quite a moment I had in an important client meeting a week or so ago. The first thing was a real moment of doubt. Wasn’t it Einstein who said that if you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself? That genius’ definition of clarity came back to me that day when a client looked me in the eye and asked me, flat out, ‘What is it you do, what does PR do – explain it to the team?’ It was a bit of a scary moment, as you can probably imagine. But every now and again, in no matter what walk of life you’re in, is it not a good idea to challenge oneself and

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Confessions of a 40-Year Old PR Virgin

Twenty years ago, the then 31-year old consumer PR guru Matthew Freud famously said, “There’s nothing sadder than a 40-year-old PR person.” When he was asked seven years later if he stood by the remark, Freud famously retorted that he made the remark as he assumed he’d be out of the game by 30 – which given that he’s just re-launched his company and brand for the ‘digital age’ at 50-plus, we can only conclude he doesn’t really stand by the claim so much these days! (Freud himself is quite a complex character, by the way, as this interesting recent profile in the London Evening Standard shows – it’s a good read, actually, check it out But you know what… a lot of people probably do think he’s on to something here. PR is still seen as a thing young, super-trendy, usually slightly posh females get up to – all partying, being rather superficial, the kind of wonderful caricature Jessica

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The Future is Knocking Too Loudly to be Ignored: Or, what I learned from one Amazing Social Media PR Campaign

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the sense of a departure from what we are now doing at Sarum and what more traditional B2B PR has been about – that we, as a consultancy, are starting to put clear water between what we do for clients and what most hi-tech agencies offer. This all came to a head recently with some really amazing work that we did for our client AIIM, the global information managers’ professional body, and its ‘World Paper Free Day’ campaign (and which I have previously flagged up here). ‘World Paper Free Day’ – which I will now, deliberately, call by its hashtag #WPFD, for reasons that will soon become pretty obvious – is an annual push by AIIM to make people and businesses alike think about their possible over-reliance on paper. If you think about it, we can end up producing, consuming and generally pushing around lots and lots of the stuff, even in

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Sarum’s Award Triumph Is Great – But It Also Has Relevance For All Of Us In B2B Marketing

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate blowing my own trumpet. Thankfully, as so much of the work is down to the amazing team we have here at Sarum, I can today blow it on their behalf. We’ve had something of a major win in terms of recognition by our peers in the communications business. To make all this even more satisfying, it’s a global win. I am amazed to be able to say that our client work has been honoured by one of the most prestigious bodies in the business, who evaluated no less than 1500 submissions from right around the globe – and found our project worthy of very high praise indeed. What’s happened is that The League of American Communication Professionals , or the LACP, a group set up to create a space for the world’s PR practitioners to mark of best-in-class practices within the field, while also recognising those teams demonstrating “exemplary communications capabilities,” have

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What A Blog Is and What It’s Not: The Birtie Perspective

Hola! I just want to rather quickly finish off what I started to say last time on the best way to produce social media if you are an IT software and services company. Which is don’t write it yourself … but then don’t let someone else write it either! Sounds contradictory? Let me explain the method behind my madness, then. We had already discussed the importance of finding good people in your team to blog. We’ve also spoken about the importance of it not necessarily being the CEO or the CTO: these guys should be leading the charge out in the field and I think it can look a bit weird if the boss is seen as having so much time on their hands that they’re cranking out a communiqué every few days (check out THE THREE ‘Ws’ OF HI-TECH BLOGGING – 1: THE ‘WHO,’ WHO SHOULD BLOG?’). So internal subject experts are your obvious option. These are often experienced, cool people with great

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The Three ‘Ws’ of Hi-Tech Blogging – 2: The ‘Why’. Why are we Blogging Again?

Hola, welcome back and time for us to talk about at the second ‘W’ in my look, based on often tough and surprising experience, let me tell you, of the blogging aspect of modern hi-tech B2B PR: the ‘Why.’ If you recall, last time (‘THE THREE ‘WS’ OF HI-TECH BLOGGING – 1: THE  ‘WHO,’ WHO SHOULD BLOG?’) I looked at the issue of who in the company is best placed as the basis for the social media ‘voice.’ We  talked about how poor it can be for the CEO to be the blogger. This isn’t a 100% hard and fast rule, but if you’re not an Oracle, or at least not yet,  you might not want to give the world the impression your guy has enough time to share his Great Thoughts with the world instead of serving customers and building out the business. Right? But that begs the question of why we’re even worrying about this. Why are we

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