My wife and I were hooked to Big Chef Little Chef this past week where Fat Duck wonder chef Heston Blumenthal attempted to turn around the fortunes of Little Chef. The brand had become almost as run down as some of its restaurants and the future of the company has been thrown in to serious doubt. That said, are we about to see a turn around in fortunes after this programme?
Over the course of the series which ran for three hour long episodes this week Heston fought with the CEO to rework the menu and redesign the whole look and feel of the Popham restaurant. So what was the end result? A smaller and better thought out menu, an attractive re-design of a tired restaurant and a three hour PR masterstroke.
All of a sudden people were talking about Little Chef up and down the country. The wife and I even took a drive down to Popham on Saturday to sit in a queue for an hour and 45 minutes for a table in the restaurant. Something I never thought I would ever do at a Little Chef – and probably won’t ever do again. But, we weren’t the only ones caught up with the excitement as the queue time suggests – even David Tennant (Dr Who) stuck his head in to try and grab something to eat but balked at the wait and legged it with his mates.
All good fun, but what was the reason for this level of interest? Simple. Instead of this being a simple story about Little Chef revamping its menu the programme added a little drama and human interest. All companies thinking of running a campaign or new launch should take this on board.
People are not interested in your brand or your latest product. Harsh but ultimately true I’m afraid. To get them interested you need make your story newsworthy with the following components – fear, nostalgia, envy, human interest. For more information on how your company can do this why not download this free guide from Berkeley PR.
P.S. The food was great and yes we are incredibly sad for waiting that long.
Webitpr the online news and press release distribution service, which offers a variety of distribution, monitoring & reporting options has re-launched as realwire. To co-incide with this it has produced a video looking at the online media and how it works. Worth a look, as it has put together a video which quite clearly shows how a story can be found online.
It’s rare today for decisions to be reached without reference to the Internet. Whether browsing websites or search engines, visiting blogs or social media sites, we are constantly forming opinions based on the information we find.
As I have mentioned before I love getting coverage for my clients and nothing starts a day better than seeing your hard work appear online or in the pages of a target title…….or hearing/seeing your client. This was the subject of one of my blogs earlier in the week when I discussed the buzz in my PR agency, Berkeley PR, as we listened to our clients being interviewed on the radio.
Well as you can see from above, the post was picked up by PR Week and listed as one of the best of the tech blogs this week. Massive thanks to the team at PR Week and great to see my effort listed alongside two other great posts from Jed Hallam and Jon Clements. If you get a chance read them both and add them to your blog rolls – you won’t regret it.
This is a simple question that every company should be asking themselves. You may not be able to control everything that appears on the web about your brand but you can manage it. Don’t just stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away, confront it and manage it. I have mentioned before on this blog the benefits of buzz monitoring, a service which Berkeley PR offers its clients, but I personally believe you can’t appreciate how powerful this tool is until you actually see it in action.
My colleague Jo Jamieson blogged today about another fantastic example when she noticed that someone had written that one of our clients “is getting on my tits today”. This was immediately flagged to the client who found that the author of this message was one its customers and contacted him straight away. It transpired that he had a very minor issue with the speed of the website, but was so impressed with the way that our client acted upon his message that took the time to reassure his Twitter readers that there was nothing wrong with the team at our client.
On top of that, within an hour he had blogged about the experience commenting:
Its a great proactive response from a company
(I wonder if they are reading blogs)
Yes we are – it is all part of the service.
Source: Google images
Sat at my desk last week I was delighted by the variety of coverage achieved by Berkeley PR over the past couple of weeks. We have deliberately been working on every pitch recently to see if we can tailor them for not just the different trade titles but nationals, radio and television.
The results have been really exciting with coverage on BBC breakfast and radio stations the breadth of the country as well as a steady stream of national newspaper coverage. In particular my colleague Hannah Humphreys has been working tirelessly phoning different radio stations to set up interviews with her client. The one thing that struck me was, I wish our client had been in the office to see how hard the team was working and also how much they enjoyed every single result.
PR agencies the world over will be able to show you examples of local, trade and vertical coverage but when was the last time they presented you with national, TV and radio opportunities? If you haven’t had any of these opportunities presented to you then maybe it is time to ask to see the most recent examples that they have achieved for some of their other clients.
If your PR agency can’t list any recent examples of TV and radio coverage then maybe you should start to question why? It could be that the stories you have been releasing recently have been too technology focused and you have taken your eye off the real story. It may upset you to hear this but you really are the least interesting part of a good story and understanding that is essential to being able to prepare an interesting story for TV and radio.
In future blogs I plan to cover how to make your company interesting to TV and radio but in the meantime, if you are struggling to get this type of coverage maybe it is time you sat in your PR agency and observed them work. What is the buzz like? Are they as excited as you about your company? Do they employ any different techniques for brainstorming and trying to come up with a story which the everyday person would find interesting and not just a techie?
If after sitting and observing your PR agency the answers to the above questions are all no maybe it is time to ask yourself why.
Source: Google images
I attended an online training course this week and one of the most searched for terms on the internet was apparently how to get up earlier. This wasn’t what I expected but also went to prove what the training said that before you start optimising your site you need to understand what your customers / readers are searching for. Wise words and one which I will write about in greater detail over the next few weeks.
After sitting in a training room all day I needed to let off some steam and went to the gym. While peddling away on the bike I flicked through the pages of Esquire magazine and came accross Capital radio’s breakfast host Johnny Vaughan’s secrets to getting up. Having potentially tricked a few people into reading this blog with the title above I thought it only fair to share them with you:
1. An alarm clock is still a clock. It doesn’t want to wake you up any more than a shovel wants to dig, you have to use it correctly. Put your alarm clock a good distance away from the bed, so you’ve got to get up and turn it off.
2. Never press snooze. Springing out of bed is a test of manliness, like jumping into a plunge pool. The first alarm should give you the adrenaline to get to the bathroom. The second just leaves you feeling sluggish.
3. If you’re going out drinking then pre-plan your wake up. Put two Nurofen, a glass of water and half a digestive on your bedside table and set your alarm for an hour before you normally get up. Go out. Drink. Come home. Wake up before your hangover with alarm. Take pills, water and digestive. Reset alarm. Go back to sleep. Wake up an hour later. No headache. Feel chuffed you got away with it. Gingerly go about your morning ritual.
Techcrunch has published a job advert for Britney Spears who is hiring an online media manager. The job involves sorting Britney’s Twitter presence, but also MySpace, Facebook and YouTube adding new content and engaging with fans. It is interesting to see such a big name celebrity taking this stuff seriously and how having a direct channel of communication with fans is a positive thing (not to mention a good way to plug you next latest and greatest).
I think too few people and companies are scared of this type of engagement but at the end of the day this will happen somewhere even if you are not doing it. So why let someone use these platforms in a negative way against you when it is a service your PR agency should be doing for you. If an agency is savvy enough it should be able to offer you an audit of your current online coverage including key phrase research, SEO status, analytics, target blogs, target communities and target podcasts. It should then be able to provide an engagement and brand monitoring service to ensure that your online voice is as positive as your hard copy one. Is this something they can do?
Continuing on from my blog yesterday here are the further five points that I feel you need to consider when choosing a new PR agency.
6. Be clear with the PR agency how their work fits in with your other marketing activities and the challenges you have faced in the past. This will help outline the objectives from any campaign right at the very start. It still amazes me how many companies employ a PR agency because they think it is the right thing to do but are not clear internally as to what they want to achieve from it. It is essential that both you and the PR agency understand the objectives from the very beginning including timescales and targets. Whether this is hits on your websites, how many times the phone goes, share of voice against competitors, coverage in key publications, awards or speaker opportunities it is paramount that everyone knows what these are. For the relationship to work everyone needs to understand what is required of them.
7. What type of experience do you need? What are the companies split of clients that work in B2B against B2C? I have always felt that a good B2B agency also has a couple of B2C clients – this means that your PR agency understands how different media work and can also bring different ideas to the table. One of my clients in the high tech industry has recently made an internal change on its focus to a 70/30 split in favour of consumer products. If our agency didn’t have the expertise to manage both of these different sectors the client would be well in their right to look elsewhere for another agency that can handle this change in strategy.
8. Where is your headquarters? This is important as you need to choose an agency where communication isn’t going to be a factor in terms of time zones, language barriers or the ability to arrange a face to face meeting at the last minute without it being a logistical nightmare. If you need a PR agency with experience of running PAN EMEA campaigns, established global networks, working across national boundaries or understanding of working with a head office from another continent these are all things you need to establish straight away. If they don’t have this experience you don’t want them experimenting with your business and making a mess of things.
9. How much budget do you have and what size of agency do you want to work with? Make sure the PR agency has the capacity to handle an account your size and also find out where you feature on the list of priorities. If one of their other clients is paying double what you are putting down there is always the potential that they will receive preferential treatment. Make sure that your company isn’t thought of for the first time on a Friday afternoon when they are putting together your weekly PR activity report. Always ask an agency what its biggest paying client is and how you would fit into their plan should they win your business in terms of priority / flagship clients.
10. Who else are they working with? A simple request will give you an idea as to the type of PR agency you are potentially teaming up with. Ask them for a list of their current and recent clients and how long they have worked with them. This will give you an indication of the type of experience of your market they have which could be potentially complimentary. You will also be able to ensure that they are not working with one of your competitors.