PR’s identity crisis

I am a young executive. No cuffs than mine are cleaner;

I have a Slimline brief-case and I use the firm's Cortina.

You ask me what it is I do. Well, actually, you know,

I'm partly a liaison man, and partly P.R.O.

  Those marvel...

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The fair’s not fair

There’s been a spate recently of major high street chains going to the wall.  Of all the many reasons behind their demise, one stands out: their inability to compete with internet retailers.  Retail, of course, isn’t the only business that is struggling to face the challenges of disruptive technology; whilst the death of newspapers may be greatly exaggerated, the printed word is battling with...

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Travails of my Aunt

Of all the words written and spoken about the BBC in recent days, two phrases struck a chord. The first was the PM saying that he didn’t think that the corporation was facing an existential crisis; and the second was the call for someone to get a grip.  Both points were, I felt, wrong.  Firstly, I do believe that the BBC is facing an existential crisis although not a new one.  The question is ...

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Sorry is the easiest word to say

Apologies if you’re fed up with apologies, but it seems that we’ve now entered a permanently sorry state of affairs.  People seem to be either making apologies or clamouring for others to make them.  Hastily arranged press conferences, video apologies, and Parliamentary statements seem to be becoming the norm. We’ve even had coaches apologising to fans for their team’s “sorry” perform...

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Time to hit pause

When the concept of reputation management first became fashionable it was always the banks that topped the list.  Dour bank managers (with a dose of Scottish Presbyterianism thrown in) were held up as the pinnacles of trustworthiness.  After all, you trusted them with your money.  And now look what’s happened.  One minute we’re asking them if they could possibly see their way to extending u...

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Time to rethink communications

Not long ago I went to a talk on the Future of PR.  It was so poor that when I left I was quite surprised not to see gas lamps lighting streets full of horse-drawn Hackney carriages. The discussion was all about the importance of getting PR recognised at board level (yawn), reputation management (that wonderful oxymoron), and whether social media really changed anything.  It was as if PR existed ...

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The entrepreneurial employee

Gore Vidal once famously said that each time one of his friends succeeds a little part of him dies. Recently I saw an article in the Times about a business run by an old friend of mine which gave me the opposite feeling.  In ten years he has built a hugely successful business that not only employs a couple of handfuls of bright and brilliant people but also that wins awards for being amongst the b...

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Beware those who wish to be leaders

The US presidential race has officially started.  The Republican Party has kicked off its search for a nominee with, as is its custom, the Iowa caucus.  The state – the size of England but with a population close to that of Wales – can now get back to normal as the coachloads of media and campaigners head off towards New Hampshire.  The presidential hopefuls have spent weeks parading their w...

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Is this the right room for an argument?

In the seminal Monty Python sketch, Palin’s character says that an argument is “…a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition” to which Cleese replies “No it isn’t”. Palin continues “Argument is an intellectual process.  Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.”  “No it isn’t” Cleese again replies. Many...

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Asking not telling

Giving advice is an art form in its own right.  Knowing what to say requires a mixture of wisdom and diplomacy and a high degree of emotional intelligence.  People ask others for advice everyday and few, whether consultants, counsellors or friends, are usually backward in coming forward with ideas and suggestions.  In fact, telling people what they should do or how they ought to act seems to be ...

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