Thursday, August 31, 2006

No tendency to tender

One of the most frustrating things about running a new research agency is the work you know you can do competently and competitively is denied as you do not appear on the COI’s roster of preferred suppliers. Next week is the deadline for tenders for this round, not to be reopened again for another four years.

Six agency places are up for grabs and all the incumbents would be stupid not to re-pitch. The word is, unless you have been around for at least 3 years it is not worth expending the considerable effort and time negotiating the many hoops that are the tendering process.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Evaluating the pitch

I was talking to some non-PR people over the weekend and said what Media Evaluation Research does. At that point people usually think that we evaluate advertising campaigns but I have modified the message to include that we are researching the elements of the media between the ads.

Most seem to understand this and can appreciate that the lack of ‘control’ with editorial content warrants examination, particularly if it affects reputation. Then this morning I stumbled across an item featuring comment from Claire Spencer in the FT where she said that:

“Consumers can't divorce PR and advertising, they consume communication holistically."

Does it then mean that we should be evaluating advertising as well? This is an interesting idea although most organisations structure themselves with advertising and PR being separate.

If the public see communications as a single message then why don’t organisations bring it all together, or is that what marketing communications is all about?

My view is that there is purpose to establishing the message, from what ever source, but feel the public is able to differential when they are being pitched to. That is not to say that messages from PR and advertising can not be complimentary and co-ordinated to maximise impact.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Newspaper down, online up

BBC Radio 4 this morning covered the Economists story on the declining circulation of newspapers. It seemed to merely confirm what the Carnegie Corporation said last year: that sub-25 year olds get the majority of their news from online sources. Over the coming years this demographic will inexorably tightening the noose on the conventional printed paper.

Papers, if they are to survive, need to reinvent their business model. They need to create an online presence which can raise revenue either by advertising or subscription. One of the humbling truths is they will need to downsize as the online environment is ferociously competitive and inundated with every type of offering, comment and blog.

Whether the demise of the newspaper will leave the consumer in relative ignorance is a subject for another time, the real issue is clarion call to PR to take the online environment that much more seriously. There is a need to understand the online community you interact with, to understand who are the influencers and build relationships with them. But how do you figure who the influencers are? – an intriguing question….

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mainstream media and muslim community

On BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme there was a fascinating report by Torin Douglas, their media correspondence, talking about where young Muslims get their news coverage from. With the proliferation of online sources now available I imagined they would refer to a multitude of different directions, be it moderate or extremist - there is something to cater for all. However their research showed that 80% of Muslims still use the traditional broadcasters and newspaper sources. But it would appear that here is where the ‘disconnect’ happens, with only 20% having trust in these sources.

Trust is crucial to all forms of communication and most recently MORI found that this was the single most important factor associated with people's attitudes towards a brand, company or message. Will it be possible for the mainstream media in the UK to reconnect with young Muslims? I am not sure that the UK media are prepared for what sort of challenge this could be.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

CIPR supports International Group

It is with considerable relief that I can report that the CIPR International Group lives on. Yesterday afternoon the Group's committee met with the CIPR its President, Tony Bradley and Director-General, Colin Farrington to establish their views on the continuation of the group. A number of committee members have expressed concerns, but in the event there was an overwhelming vote of support for the model currently adopted.

Views on the direction for the group have variously composed of becoming involved in various levels of proactive research, undertaking seminars and training events, as well as forging a pro-active set of links with PR groups with an international remit (both in the UK and overseas).

None of these activities were dismissed and a part of the meeting was dedicated to discussion on the relationship between the Group and the CIPR's own International Advisory Group. All however expressed the view that there was a necessity and a relevance to the existence and continuation of an International Group, even if the number of members was less than the average for sectoral groups. The overwhelming success of the latest event on the workings of the press office at Davos, as hosted by Swiss Re in the City of London, proved an overwhelming case for the current structure and style of events for the future. In particular it was highlighted the relevance of joint events with other sectoral and regional groups, as a way of enhancing interest across different interest groups.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Media measurement survey - results update

This week has so far been dominated by the project for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Diploma, which is due for completion early next month. With the distinct feeling that I should have been doing this about six weeks ago, I have compiled a media measurement survey which has been sent out to about 40 practitioners. So far I have had back almost half and the results are looking interesting.

The headline figures indicate that of the four media, press is consistently regarded as the most important. Most people are not looking to increase their budget dramatically although nobody so far has admitted to having to reduce it. Regarding measurement metrics half the sample are currently using advertising value equivalents although it is good to see that a larger number of people are using audience figures.

Regarding the areas which people are most keen to research in the future key message analysis is the most popular. There is also an interest in understanding the source of stories and articles, be it resulting from a media pitch, press release or news conference etc.

If you are interested in taking part in the survey please get in contact with me.