Monday, July 30, 2007

Many thanks for the help chaps


I am always surprised by the use the blogosphere can be connecting with people and my case in point was in response for a 'quick and dirty' set of media figures for a number of territories including Canada. I tried the normal candidates who were not very co-operative but then I remembered seeing frequent blog comments and references to Alan Chumley, now the Research Director of Hill & Knowlton in Canada, but used to be with Cormex Research. Between him and Andrew over at Cormex they really helped me in a big way and I am really very appreciative.

If I could send an award to the most helpful people I have ever worked with this chaps would be up there! Absolute stars. Thanks again.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Defending communications


In the Sunday Telegraph this weekend there was an article on a leaked memo about the Ministry of Defences press function. In particular, it talked about the 'large number of staff employed to improve the MoD's public image, and the high cost and there being no evidence as to whether or not the strategy is working'.

While the article extrapolates figures it estimates the salary bill for the department being about £39million a year. Is it reasonable to have a level of expense to the public of this magnitude without a rigorous form of checks and balances? The document sets out a strategy to target new media against traditional media without any indication of how this is to be monitored and evaluated.

The story leaves an uncomfortable sense as it portrays the MOD as 'spinning' a news managed smokescreen to deflect attention from the real issues of overseas troop deployment, equipment and cost.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thanks for the credit Mark..


The 29th June 2007 UK edition of PR Week ran a feature on the importance of media monitoring and the analysis of competitor intelligence and featured a case study on a client of ours Allianz Insurance. The reason for this posting is to say thanks to Mark for the credit to Media Evaluation Research - we really appreciate it! The full article is accessible online but I think you need to subscribe.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lessons in two-way communications


last Friday proved an interesting day for the communications industry. Television grandee Lord Grade, who is in charge at ITV spoke about the need for all in the media to think carefully about the implications for their actions. He was talking following the mistakenly edited trailer for the BBC programme about the queen which infered she had walked out of a royal photo shoot.

Grade's angle was that the media needed to be more carefully with instuments at their disposal - to communicate clearly and truthfully. He was a pains when featured on BBC Radio 4 'Today Programme' to say that cutting corners will not do and that you do not decieve the audience. This rather neatly dove-tailed into an article written by the DG of the CIPR, Colin Farrington for the latest edition of their house publication 'Profile'. The subject matter was the importance of two-way communications in the PR function, and the utter rejection of the media push/propoganda model.

Colin's article was excellent in its clarity of the problem at large and the ways it can be addressed. An excellent read which unfortunately I can't find featured online, so no link.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Reputation - a slippery fish


Reputation measurement is such a complex thing and is the theme of a discussion on the royaldutchshellplc.com site which investigates the complexity of the task and its impact on tangibles like share price.

Stock values is all about putting a price on a company, which in the past was not that much of a problem as you tallied up the plant and machinery, other assets, etc added in some goodwill and presto you had a value for your firm. Today life is more complex and the majority of an organisations assets are classed as intangible.

There are ways of calculating the value of intangible assets and if this area is of interest Kaplan's balances scorecards are worth reading up on. A big component of an organisations intangible assets would be reputation and one of the primary influences would be media coverage. Various providers of research in this area will suggest they can do all sorts of things not far short of predicting future share price movements. But reputation is a slippery fish - share price is influenced by reputation and the media affects reputation, but the media is not a silo. Multiple sources, multiple channels of varying influences to a varying style of audience.

In these days of innovative corporate deal making will we find there is a time when the private-equity bandwagon will see a cash return from simply improving a reputation? Sure, there are complex tools to help and a sophisticated level of understanding of how the reputation process can be manipulated. My view is that reputation is a delicate thing and any attempt to veneer a image over an unchanged whole would be seen as that alone.