Monday, 23 September 2013

The Future of PR is anchored in storytelling - by our Chairman, Caroline Kinsey

Last Week’s ‘Future of PR’ PRCA conference was a great gathering together of senior minds and an opportunity to elevate ourselves  from the day to day minutiae of agency life to consider how our industry has developed and where it is heading.

On balance, the future is bright. Life and society are evolving in ways that are ever more uncertain and ever more fast paced which plays to the strengths of PR professionals. As experts already in communications, our role has the opportunity to develop more into becoming trusted strategic advisors, helping a business/brand to interrogate its behaviours to the ‘nth’ degree in order to ensure the communications is credible, honest and robust.  Indeed over 25% of clients in recent research are calling out for PR agencies to  offer better strategic consultancy.  Long gone are the days when we were last to the table. That excites me.

And we deserve as an industry to be excited. To value our role as storytellers ever more. Let’s cast off the shackles of ‘servility’, to quote Mike Morgan from Red, and remind ourselves that these are PR’s halcyon days and we shall never look back. Our understanding of building relationships, tailoring messages to different stakeholders, developing effective and cost efficient creative with real cut-through, living in a real-time environment, showing great agility to respond to the news agenda, understanding and unearthing insight to find out how consumers respond and behave,  are all part of our role as master storytellers.

And our biggest advantage is our expertise of both traditional and social media and our overall channel-neutral approach. As P&G’s Global Brand Building Office Marc Pritchard recently commented ‘digital marketing is dead’, it’s all about brand building and integrating social media inherently into our campaigns.  We fully understand the subtle differences between influencing the media, developing a client’s website, sparking conversations, driving advocacy, agreeing to guaranteed space. They are all integrated to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. We can work with our clients to strike the right balance.

It is this holistic approach that will offer the greatest value back to businesses and brands. Since the conference I’ve been thinking about how we can create a framework around this approach and I think it can be aptly summarised in the acronym – AESOP. The Aggregate between Earned, Shared, Owned and Paid for media. And of course highly memorable given Aesop is arguably the greatest storyteller of all time.

We need to all ensure we adopt an AESOP approach to storytelling and give clear, objective, trusted advice to our clients in terms of overall marketing investment.

Caroline Kinsey is Chairman of Cirkle

Thursday, 16 May 2013

'Who would have thought you'd win a BAFTA for just being posh?' Francis Boulle

'Who would have thought you'd win a BAFTA for just being posh?' Made In Chelsea’s Francis Boulle announces as he receives the BAFTA award for Best Reality and Constructed Factual Show.

 The winner’s announcement was met with gasps from the audience, jibes from Graham Norton and even disapproval from the nicest men in TV, Ant and Dec. Queue immediate shock and outrage across the Twitter/media sphere, although given that the majority of the shows plots on driven by antagonism and drama, this seems only fitting.

But MIC’s popularity is no surprise. Its currently on its 5th series with a bigger cast, more ridiculous plots and higher viewing figures than ever. And brands have long been savvy to the popularity of MIC and its personalities. Whether heroes or villains of the show, brands have been quick to snap up these socialites to feature in campaigns, including St Tropez, Cadbury’s and Walkers Crisps and the media have similarly recognised their appeal, giving the stars of the show columns, blogs and guest editor spots. Even the ‘set’ has become a prime spot for brand exposure and product placement; exclusive gyms, London department stores, bars, clubs, home ware, turkey curving lessons, you name it, its been ‘placed’. And with this new endorsement as Britain’s Best Reality and Constructed Factual Show, it seems the nation’s obsession and brands association with MIC will continue for some time to come.

And with this weekend seeing the launch of the long awaited Great Gatsby film, it’s a reminder that, especially in these tough economic times, there is something incredibly entertaining about indulging in the dramas and lavish parties of rich, beautiful socialites…..oh, and that’s the sound of F. Scott Fitzgerald turning in his grave having now hinted that MIC is the modern day Great Gatsby – one of the most celebrated pieces of American literature of all time. Sorry Fitzgerald, but I’m sure Graham Norton and Ant and Dec will have your back.

*Written by someone who absolutely never indulges in reality TV rubbish….apart from at 10pm on Mondays on E4, naturally. 
Becky East

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Why the nation needs to invest in training the tweeters of the future

Twitter currently has in the region of 500 million registered users – that is an astounding figure and in my opinion, a figure that concerns me. Firstly, I am not a technophobe and I am certainly not a twitter-hater but I am a realist. I am pretty sure that the large majority of tweeters do not consider the implications of their tweets before pressing send button. Why should you? Although it seems ludicrous, it is becoming more regular that people are being arrested for their tweets due to their 140 characters breaking the law.

For example, Paul Chambers, 28 years old was fined £1000 for saying he was going to blow up Sheffield airport for their bad service. I am sure that when he sent this he probably didn’t see himself being known across the nation for his tweet. Quite simply, people do not think about what they are tweeting. It is just a platform for people to let off steam and have a rant with the unfortunate downfall of being seen by the world and eternally documented (even after you’ve deleted it!)

I am 19 and have always been strongly opinionated. However, I am very careful on Twitter as I can’t afford a colossal fine! But I have a lack of faith in how many other people there are my age whose thoughts are in line with mine. Even by looking at my 15 year old sister, I sometimes have to give her a gentle nudge with a ‘Do you really think that is appropriate – the whole world can see that you know?’ but I shouldn’t have to do that and it is about time the government stepped up and did something about it.

If young people were given some training on how the justice system works with regards to libel and defamation; I am sure there would be a significant drop in abusive tweets. With Twitter just being something that kids grow up with nowadays, how are they to know the rights and wrong of the system? Twitter has given young people access to celebrities in a way that has never been seen before – it gives people the option to openly abuse to an audience which encourages responses and spurs things on.

I believe a simple training session could be the answer – why leave the tweeters of tomorrow in the dark about the consequences of their tweets. Surely it is about time society stepped up and provided young people with the information they need to ensure they don’t break the law – drugs and sex education is provided so why is something as topical as social media ignored?

By Jessica Kirby
PR Apprentice