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Blessed are the storytellers

27 Jul

I introduced the concept of storytelling in corporate communications in this post last year.

Then Angelo Fernando posted more extensively on the same subject at Hoi Polloi.

It appears to be a well-worn theme after all, with a growing literature attached to it. I’ve just read Stephen Denning’s Squirrel Inc: A Fable of Leadership Through Storytelling.

Shell suits suffer

20 Apr

The much-admired Royal Dutch/Shell has not only mislaid much of its oil reserves, but it has misled investors. This is bad. So much so, that the company is now confessing to its past sins (and replacing executives) in the hope of making a fresh start.

For The Economist, corporate governance concerns will now have to be addressed.

In an unexpected turn, this news from yesterday is relegated on Reuters by three subsequent ‘good news’ stories: Tesco profits jump amid price war; Inflation hits 1-1/2 year low; FTSE 100 hits 21-month high. Shell’s shares were down just 0.45% during early morning trading.

Champagne and dirty tricks

18 Apr

Writing in The Observer, John Coyle outlines the brief history of financial public relations in the UK. It’s an expanding and challenging area:

This suggests to me that there needs to be a growth in the number of talented professionals in PR and increasingly at main board level. Will Whitehorn of Virgin springs to mind as a model of the perfect in-house PR.

Coyle argues that other relevant professional experience, not a degree course, should be a prerequisite.

No logo

16 Feb

Regular visitors to this site might notice the loss of our university’s logo on the right, to be replaced with a temporary placeholder. That’s because we have a newly-designed logo based on a white rose of Yorkshire. This will follow soon.

In the meantime, here’s the rationale for the new logo from our Vice Chancellor.

Whisky galore in other trade war

5 Dec

Before I lose sight of it, I want to post links to this week’s other trade dispute – the one concerning the purity of Malt Whisky. This pitted industry giant Diageo against the trade body the Scotch Whisky Association. Diageo agreed to climb down over its description of Cardhu as ‘pure malt’, but tried to save face in this statement. The Scotch Whisky Association claimed victory. This is how the BBC reported the dispute.

Why technology’s not the answer

4 Dec

Because public relations is about relationships (obviously), not just about communications.

Tom Murphy explains the limitations of RSS, email and even the phone when it comes to relationship building. And as for video conferencing…

What’s the most effective means of communication? Without question face-to-face is the number one. You can only build limited relationships over e-mail and indeed the phone, which is why video conferencing, often the poster child before the Internet’s rise to prominence, never took off as it was supposed to. While it’s useful for brief meetings with people you already know, it’s not an effective medium for building relationships.

I recall walking away from a possible role promoting video conferencing for a big name supplier a decade or so ago. My gut instinct warned me that this technology would be more hype than substance.

ITV repeat

26 Oct

This report in The Observer reviews the shareholder vs boardroom struggle of the past week, and suggests that ‘the issue centred around corporate governance.’

Lawyers, brokers and bankers are quoted in the story, so where were the PR advisers to give guidance on the new corporate order?

In this post-Enron, post-Marconi world, investors are flexing their muscles as never before. It is not unreasonable for them to argue that the interests of shareholders and companies be more closely aligned after the excesses of the late Nineties’ boom.

Show of strength from shareholders

22 Oct

The BBC’s Jeff Randall called this one right (see Power struggle entry).

Yesterday, Carlton’s Michael Green bowed to shareholder pressure and stood down from the new merged ITV company. (See Guardian, Financial Times, BBC reports.)

Power struggle

20 Oct

Just recently I was recommending Sunday as a quiet day for PR news announcements.

But not any Sunday. Yesterday saw Tony Blair being treated for a heart condition, another derailment on the London Underground, David Blaine emerging from his box, and new revelations about the fatal car crash involving Diana, Princess of Wales.

Yet the most significant news story from the weekend may turn out to be the power struggle between the shareholders and directors of TV company Carlton. The BBC’s Jeff Randall thinks the shareholders are sure to prevail. But Carlton appears to have called in PR heavyweight Alan Parker.

The exception

3 Oct

How do you explain it when you get great PR in support of an innovative product – but the result is disappointing sales?

Jim Horton writes in ‘When PR is not enough’ (2 October – 10/2) about Segway and the buzz surrounding the launch of the ‘human transporter’. In this case, spectacular PR has not been matched by stellar product sales:

Segway’s introduction was one of the great PR successes. Burson-Marsteller orchestrated it, I understand, and the agency did a brilliant job… Segway might go down as exhibit A to support the statement that great PR cannot solve all problems. PR can communicate, but it might not persuade.