Why Piggies Need Their Backs Better Looked After: A Peek At A Better Way To Respond To News

  In traditional, ‘agency’ PR, there’s a well-established technique called ‘piggybacking.’ The idea’s straightforward enough, and is suggested well by the name: x event happens, so we produce comment on it from our client. Sound idea – but invariably terribly badly done Journalists want things they can use to take a story on to the next level, of course they do. Say the Town Hall burns down and the Fire Brigade says that it was caused by faulty wiring. It’s perfectly legitimate for electrical safety consultants to next day go to the press and suggest ways such disasters can be avoided in future – or for, say, insurers to remind us all that it’s always worth protecting yourself against the unexpected, and so on. Unfortunately, in hi-tech at least, what happens is this: Bad Thing Happens. Reporters get 100 emails the next morning – sometimes the same day – saying, ‘Oh, That bad Thing? If only enterprises had bought my

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Predictions are so last century. And chasms have been crossed. Did you notice?

OK, let’s get it out of the way; yes, this is a ‘2016 predictions’ blog. Only it’s not really. Well, mostly not really. (Trust me.)  What it is instead is a little bit of a provocation. I see some things happening out there in the world of B2B hi-tech PR and communication, and I like some of them. And there are things I am definitely not so pleased with that I want to see the end of. So, I dunno – maybe this is the ‘Guardian Of Your Voice’ version of the refreshed conversation you and I didn’t have on New Year’s Eve before you spent that £75 on your cab home. Yeah, that good! First off. Predictions. So last century. Come on people! Things don’t magically change either overnight or even over 12 months. What does happen is that some things blur and morph into another thing over a period of time, and there’s a moment of recognition when

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What Surprise PR Mainstay Am I NOT Putting into Room 101?

“You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.” Cue horribly dramatic music … nah Cue, instead, please, Mr Frank Skinner’s cheeky Black Country visage, a montage of clips including the infamous moment when Anne Robinson nominated the entire proud nation of the Welsh or Mel and Sue saying the whole (actually, rather lovely) town of Leighton Buzzard was their choice… I am referring, of course, to the amusing BBC show ‘Room 101’ (see its official home here ), where guests are invited to pick their own version of ‘the worst thing in the world’ in to a special sort of imaginary prison. The programme has its roots, of course, in Orwell’s terrible original Room 101, but with, shall we say, a bit of a lighter touch. So, you know. No rats, or stuff.

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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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A PR Agency with limitations? Surely not… All hail the Sarum Furrowed Brow Service

As the Premiership is now behind us, I am giving my fondness for Liverpool a temporary break and turning to a question that is exercising my mind, namely ‘If you are an IT PR company, how can you offer value if you don’t have any IT market credibility?’ Let me explain what I mean by this and why the whole topic gets under my skin. I get a lot of really incredibly flattering approaches by scrumptiously handsome movie stars.  Nah, not really. 🙂 I get a lot of really incredibly flattering approaches by amazing companies from different industry sectors. So guys from retail, the non-profit/third sector, health – they have all called me up and said they’ve loved what they’ve seen we can do (usually for one of their tech suppliers) and they ask if I can come and do some magic for them, too. It’s a wonderful experience for the five minutes I let myself entertain it. Then, as

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Corporate Comms and PR: A match made in hell. If you get it right… part 1

So this is a longer blog than usual but I think it’s justified to be so.I’ve even done a part 2 to keep you on your toes I’d like to talk a bit about a subject that we haven’t really had anything on here on GUARDIAN OF YOUR VOICE: the relationship between the in-house, corporate communications team and an external PR service. You might not see any conflict there at all; one’s the client, the other is the contractor, right? Well, that’s what a lot of people think – which is where the trouble begins. Let me explain. In the ‘blue’ corner stands corporate communications. What is their function, what are they tasked to do? To guard the client. Their focus is on internal communications and satisfying internal stakeholders – which by the way never should be taken as meaning just the staff or management, but very, very importantly, investors. These guys are experts at protecting the brand, defending it,

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