up for the cup: march's top posts

Excitement always grows at Comms2Point0 Towers when the engravers get to work on the shiny £1 cup awarded to the creator of the top post for the month.

by Darren Caveney

March was a bumper month for both the number and quality of new posts. And this possibly accounted for a record number of visitors and page views in March.

Anyways, cue drum roll and we'll do this, as usual, in reverse order...

In fifth spot was the superb, unfortunately, essential, 10 things to do when your team is cut in half by Rebecca Crosby.

At number four was Liam Barrington-Bush with How an author is using small conversations and viral campaigning We were chuffed to receive Liam's debut comms2point0 post.

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it’s a great time to do what we do

by Will Mapplebeck

This is a great time to be in communications, a brilliant time to be doing the jobs we do.   

I'll explain why in a minute, but before I go on I don't want to downplay what a tough time many of us have been through.     

In hard times, communications is often the first thing to go, viewed as an expensive luxury next to the real job of providing vital services to vulnerable people. 

That means many of us have seen our jobs under threat, our roles reviewed and our working practices change. Before I did this job at Newcastle, I was on a temporary contract which sometimes rolled over month-by-month, so I know all about uncertainty. 

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a career path less travelled

It's a common tale - not knowing what career path to choose. And its useful to remember that not everyone has go down the tried and tested path.

by Jenny Baird

I didn’t come to communications in a ‘traditional’ way. I’m not a ex-journalist, a prolific blogger, or an influential tweeter. I don’t have a degree in marketing or PR.

Like many others out there, I finished university and thought – what now?

After years of seemingly endless exams and receiving my degree in English Literature I somewhat naively assumed I would know the answer. But I didn’t. I didn’t have a clue. So I decided to leave the country.

Six months later, I landed in a cold and windy Manchester after an adventure that saw me teach primary school children in South Africa, meet the King of Swaziland, drive a 4x4 along a perfect Australian beach and jump out of a plane at 12,000 feet. I also found Nemo.

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augmented reality and communications

Augmented reality. Something from an alien sci-fi film set in 2068, right? Actually, no, and it might just form a part of your future communications plans.

by Dan Slee

A few weeks back my son got a new Nintendo 3DS for his birthday, the lucky lad.

Excited and smiling he took it out of it's wrapping in the living room. Light blue and shiny it was. It fitted into his hands perfectly. A while later that day after all his cards other presents were opened I found him playing with it on the settee. He was moving the device around as if chasing objects around the room.

"What are you doing?" I asked. "Shooting aliens in our living room?"

"Well, they're not aliens," he says. "They're pictures of mum on my new augmented reality game."

Leaning over his shoulder I could see what he was doing. He'd used his new Nintendo to take a picture of his mum and he'd transferred them onto bubbles which he had to shoot down as part of the game. On the screen, there was my living room.

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good music will fail with bad marketing and pr

Steve Jenkins is the most influential man in music that you've never heard of. He's helped shape the careers of stars such as Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and others. What's the secret? Good marketing and pr.

by Steve Jenkins

I believe that good music will fail with bad marketing and pr.

In market research, if a hundred people were asked, I’m convinced they would all agree.

It's something I learned many years ago whilst visiting Island Records, the label owned and started by Chris Blackwell and most famous for bringing the world Bob Marley and U2 amongst many other successful artists.

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switching on

Switching back on can be as hard as switching off was. But be careful with that switch...

by Darren Caveney

So, hands up, how many of you took Mr Slee's advice and switched off during your summer hols?

Well done, you at the back.

Hard isn't it. It never used to be. But now it is.

But what can be just as hard is switching back on when you return to work. There are many reasons for this not least worrying what you are walking back into or what the future holds for you. And the urge to hunt out a new job following a summer holiday is possibly second only to the desire for a new challenge each January. The whole return thing can be unsettling for some.

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the dangers of cack-handedness

Seen the one about the pensioner who thought she could have a crack at art restoring? You should. There's a message there for comms people.

by Darren Caveney

It’s one of my favourite stories of 2012. The tale of cack-handed Spanish art ‘restorer’, Cecilia Gimenez and her attempts to tart up a century old mural of Christ in her local church, la Misericordia de Borja.

The mural had seen better days so Ms Gimenez decided to get out her paint brushes and give the century old piece a quick once-over.

You’ll be familiar with the story now, no doubt, unless you have been away on holiday and cut off from media – if so read all about it here.  It’s an absolute gem.

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the internet: PR's savior or crucifier?

Jo Tarkowski is coming towards the end of her MSc International Public Relations course at Manchester Metropolitan University. And she needs our help, so read on...

by Jo Tarkowski

As the reading begins for my research, I can’t help but start to pre-empt what one of my key findings will be this: there is just way too much out there on the internet.  If I was a practitioner that had been in the industry for years without all of these digital platforms, and it was now a necessity to learn about them, where would I start? In fact, as a new PR professional, where do I start?

Arising from this, and perhaps more importantly, is the issue of online credibility. 

Due to the speed with which the internet allows ideas to be published, and how easily these ideas can be accessed, it becomes a prime source of information for people working across PR.  But is this a good or bad thing?

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capital gains

by Jarrod Williams

I am going to tell you something that may shock and appall you.

There is more to the world of communications than what's in the South East.

That's right, our industry is bigger than just 'That London'.

In fact there are other regions, such as the Midlands and the North of England, as well as Scotland and Wales, which contribute heavily to our great reputation as a profession. These regions also produce some top talent.

I know, I know, I'll give you two minutes to take that in.

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it's ok to google yourself

There was a time when you'd never admit to Googling yourself. Now it's really important that you do.

by Darren Caveney

When was the last time you Googled yourself?

Oh, it's been a while then. Do you know what results it will throw up about you?

If you are looking for a new job, or if you are likely to in the future, then you need to know this information. And, wherever possible, you need to shape those results. Most of you help to manage the profile of your employers, with craft and care, so why not manage your own online profile?

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every start has an end...

What the closing ceremony to London2012 reminds us of when it comes to delivering good communications.

by Darren Caveney

So after all of the well publicised, pre-event LOCOG branding silliness, London 2012 appears to have been a huge success on and off the track for both Team GB and GB PLC alike.

The opening ceremony was inspiring, and gave us all a timely shot of pride-busting steroids. Gone from our news channels was all of the doom and gloom of financial meltdown, unemployment woe, high street declines, Euro crises and other bad news gems our TV stations churn out one after depressing other.

One of the greatest successes of London2012, for me, has been the opportunity to kick into touch 'Daily Mail's Britain.' To forget, for a short time at least, that things aren't quite as a bad as some folk want GB portrayed

But would the closing ceremony fall flat and end on a bit of a low note our 16-day temporary detachment from reality?

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fun and games

by Darren Caveney

I have watched with fascination the trials and tribulations over the past few months of the LOCOG team charged with ensuring that an incredibly rigid set of Olympic guidelines are enforced at all costs.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely understand the importance to the official Games sponsors of having exclusive access to the London 2012 logo. This is pure, hard-nosed sponsorship - for commercial gain -not altruism and anyone who thinks otherwise should go and enter the long jump.

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internal communications – it’s not rocket science

Internal comms can often be the Cinderella channel. But to get things right outside you need to get things right inside.

by Hannah Rees

When Cornwall Council was first formed three years ago, there were no real internal communications channels to speak of. An organisation going through major change, with seven councils merging, a total of 22,000 employees and a huge geographical spread, it needed some serious TLC.

We had several failing services, financial problems, a new Chief Executive, 123 new elected Members, a new political hue, Leader and Cabinet and a very strong new approach to our direction of travel.

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a recipe for comms success?

by Rachel Miller

This week I came across the phrase ‘corporate blancmange’ and it got me thinking. It was used by the Head of the BBC’s Olympic coverage, Roger Mosey, who was quoted in The Sun as saying he wanted to “try things” rather than let the opening ceremony “become some corporate blancmange that no one likes at all.”

That phrase set my mind whirring about the language we use within organisations and its effect on our audiences. I’m sure at some point we’ve all continued with something e.g. a newsletter or employee event simply because ‘it’s the way it’s always been.’

But when did you last stop to consider if it’s still adding value and is distinctly un-blancmange-like? Be honest. When did you last ask your audience what they think of what the Comms team is producing, and not just through the annual employee survey?

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measure twice, cut once

by Darren Caveney

I’ve always had a fascination for stats, and a sadly photographic memory for stat-related trivia.   This problem surfaced as a youngster.  As a 10-year old I could reel off the brake horse power and top speed of pretty well any car in my Top Trumps sports cars pack.

I even began to memorise chunks of the more interesting sections of my 1977 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

When it came to football I could bore with the best of them on stats and figures. It partly came from spending too much time staring at Ceefax on a Saturday evening following the day’s results (pages 312 through to 324, for those in the know).

And I could probably tell you the attendance, to within a couple of a hundred, at most of Birmingham City’s key home games in the past 20-odd years.  

 

So, no surprise then, that one of my favourite quotes ever comes from Vic Reeves who once said that “88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot.”

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