Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Corporate blogging for the CEO – a missed opportunity?

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 by Jon Clements

How can the busiest person in the company possibly have time for corporate blogging?

The notion that a CEO could metaphorically “put pen to paper” while running a multi-million Euro, Yen, Dollar or pound company is, surely, preposterous.

It is, indeed, just that, if you consider the findings of Weber Shandwick’s report, Socializing your CEO: From (Un)Social to Social, which show that not one CEO in the top 50 firms featured in Fortune Global 500 rankings can be bothered with a blog. The chief executive communications effort is, instead, directed towards online video (40% of CEOs appearing on a company YouTube channel) or by simply having an biography on the website (which ought to be a given).

The finding that CEOs – according to the research – are disengaged from social media channels is no surprise, with fewer on Twitter and even fewer on Google+. The rapid-fire and potentially free-for-all nature of Twitter is going to be a disincentive for someone who simultaneously carries the bulk of reputation responsibility for the organisation while probably having the least time to be firing up Tweetdeck to monitor brand mentions or haranguing hashtags.

But the lack of CEO interest in corporate blogging is, I think, a missed opportunity.

Take the example of former BDO Chief Executive, Jeremy Newman, who was one of the leading exponents of effective corporate blogging.

In this interview – remarkably done nearly four years ago – he spoke of the value to the business of blogging:

“I have people who track the statistics and they tell me it is doing just fine. Now, did we win a new client or get that world class graduate trainee because of the blog? I cannot say but these days, I frequently meet people who say they’ve read the blog. That’s gratifying and means we already have a common connection. At one time it would have been very difficult for me to get an appointment with the CEO/CFO of a FTSE 350, these days it’s easier. Is that because of the blog? I’d like to think it has had a part to play.”

Four years on and the corporate blog has not gone away, despite the lacklustre performance of the top 50 in Weber Shandwick’s research report.

And with more recent developments such as Google Authorship, there is even more reason for experts – and certainly CEOs – to reconsider the value of committing to a regular habit of corporate blogging.

This example of a CEO blog at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, perhaps unexpectedly emanating from the public sector, shows a willingness for the person at the top of the ladder to talk openly and directly to the hospital’s patients, visitors and staff. It combines personal reflections and opinions with a professional insight into healthcare issues which instils confidence in the reader – just what you want and need from the head of a large hospital.

There’s no denying that the CEO’s role is busy already. But the corporate blog may offer the CEO something that other, competing, voices cannot.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Social media lifted from the sandbox

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 by Jon Clements

The days of social media activity residing alone in an organisation – enshrined in mystery like some sort of digital Pandora’s Box – should be numbered if not over altogether.

As John Gordon of New York’s Fenton Communications put it memorably in yesterday’s Social Media Today webinar: What are the metrics that matter in social media, “Social media should not be playing in its own sandbox”.

Gordon emphasised that any social media activity should fall in line with overall organisational goals. In other words, mixing the “yellow” of social media goals and blue of organisational goals should make the “green” of integrated goals; any other colour signifies potential chaos.

This is helpful especially when an unexpected event arises and an organisation’s response needs to be centred, consistent, coherent and in keeping with its corporate purpose. Such an event put the US organisation, Planned Parenthood’s social media approach to the test.

The provider of reproductive healthcare was faced with the withdrawal of breast screening funds from the Susan G.Koman for the Cure cancer foundation, following pressure from anti-abortion groups.

Heather Holdridge , director of digital strategy at Planned Parenthood, described the ensuing campaign, using Twitter and Facebook to inform its audiences of the cancer charity’s decision. The story went, literally, viral through social media channels, resulting in a user-generated Tumblr blog featuring women’s stories of how Planned Parenthood had helped them. Social media drove the debate for two days – during which time Planned Parenthood’s messages were consistent – and ended with Komen reversing its decision to cut funding.

John Gordon added: “Komen thought it could direct messages downwards but didn’t recognise people were going to respond in the way they did and didn’t have the channels or the relationships to respond.”

Fenton neatly sums up Planned Parenthood’s social media strategy as “See, Say, Feel, Do”:


Who is your audience?

Where are they?

What do you want them to do?

What do they want from you?


Messages, stories and insights that can be shared online quickly.


User comments, Twitter re-tweets personalised – described as the “gold dust  created when people have internalised and endorsed your message through their own voice. It needs the right content to elicit that effect, such as the Tumblr blog in the Planned Parenthood example.


The actions your users take as a result of the above.

Such a (deceptively) simple approach is worth adding to the overall debate around meaningful social media measurement, not least the work done recently by AMEC.

Ultimately, the artificial line that may have existed between digital communications activity and everything else in an organisation can’t be allowed to persist. Never mind playing in its own sandbox; digital needs lifting from the sandbox to play with everyone else.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

ASOS Feels The Digital Love

Thursday, September 29th, 2011 by Julie Wilson

ASOS, Very and are the three most loved digital brands, a study by Tamar has revealed.

The BrandLove25 report explores the degree to which consumers demonstrate their support and enthusiasm for a digital brand through their social interaction, and ranks companies on a number of different metrics including numbers of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and revenue.

Joining the companies in the top ten are:;;;;; and

Whilst it is of no surprise to see ASOS and Very feature in the top spots, both companies having been amongst the first fashion retailers to adopt and embrace social media effectively into their marketing strategies, credit has to be given to for achieving such a respectable position.  In just five years since launch, the online fashion retailer has firmly established itself as one of the UK’s top online providers of women’s fashion, picking up a number of industry awards along the way and, as this report shows, positioning itself firmly at the heart of consumers.

What makes a brand engaging could be said to lie in the eye of the consumer but there are five key principles to which companies should adhere if looking to achieve the social medial top spot:

1. Know your customer and identify their wants and needs

2. Stay true to your brand and ensure your voice conveys your personality

3. Maintain consistent participation and invite consumers to be a part of the conversation

4. Address the balance – commercial message delivery versus general interest

5. Provide real added value

Speaking on the results of the report Tanya Goodin, CEO of Tamar said:  “In the current climate many ‘traditional’ bricks and mortar brands are struggling but pure-play digital brands are powering from strength to strength.  However, this second edition of our Best-Loved Digital Brands league table shows that, even within the digital sector, some brands are performing much better than others.  The size of social media communities give an immediate and very visible way of measuring the ‘love’ customers feel for brands and reported revenue gives us a clear indication of how that ‘love’ translates to sales.  The brands here have demonstrably capitalised on the seismic shift from ‘bought’ to ‘earned’ media and are seeing stellar financial performance as a result.  Digital brands who don’t make the Top 25 table need to look at the stars appearing and take note.”


NLA v Meltwater dispute may hit Newspapers

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 by Rob Brown

A copyright dispute between Meltwater and the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) comes to a head today when the UK’s copyright tribunal sits to consider whether Meltwater’s users will need to pay a licence fee for online news content.

The NLA is owned by the UK’s newspaper industry and already licenses the distribution of hard copies of newspaper clippings. The NLA previously took Meltwater and the PRCA to court in 2010 confirming that web links for online news were protected by copyright law.

The problem for the NLA and the newspaper industry is this.  In addition to Meltwater News which monitors the papers in question (and others besides), Meltwater also has a product called Meltwater Buzz which monitors social media, networks and blogs.  It may be that over time agencies, clients and in-house organisations can measure the effect of media coverage just as well, perhaps better, through social channels as they can by looking at conventional media.  If this happens it will boost blogs and social channels and hit mainstream media.  Perhaps it is time for the newspaper industry to reconsider the role and scope of the NLA.

The case is scheduled to run until 26 September.



About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

Techcrunch Time for Media Future

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 by Rob Brown

We’ve often talked about the demise of dead wood and ink (and sometime of its resilience) on this blog.  What then of the fortunes of the natural successor to newspapers; online media?

TechCrunch along with Mashable has been at the forefront of this evolution. Focusing on technology news it has carved a powerful niche since it was founded by Michael Arrington in 2005.  It is one of the top 200 websites in the world and has over 4.5 million subscribers.   However the future of this new media Leviathan has been thrown into some confusion today with a post on the site entitled “TechCrunch As We Know It May Be Over”.  The post is written by MG Siegler a respected Techcrunch staffer since 2008 (Official title: Kick Ass Pool Party Coordinator).

The central theme is whether Techcrunch will stay the same if, as seems increasingly likely, the newish owners AOL, dispense with the services of founder Michael Arrington.   His tenure at least in part centres around a complex debate about transparency and editorial control.  Allegations in the New York Times suggest that Techcrunch lacks transparency when reporting on ventures in which its owners or leadership have a financial interest.  Defenders including Siegler say that the loose editorial control ensures that Techrunch can not have an editorial policy in favour or against any organisation and this unrestricted environment is what also makes the site able to break so many stories.

The debate here is not just about ethics, its about the sustainability of loosely controlled new media models.  Stay tuned.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

United In Grief, Divided By Opinion

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 by Julie Wilson


This weekend saw the world rocked by the tragic events in Oslo, the shock news of Amy Winehouse’s death and sadness surrounding the Chinese rail disaster.  These incidents combined with the on-going plight in Somalia saw the nation united in grief.

A world united in sadness was not, however, one united in opinion as anyone monitoring Facebook and Twitter during the unfolding of the events would have seen.

Within just minutes of news of the passing of one of the UK’s most talented musicians breaking, users of social media platforms became embroiled in debate as to the significance of one event over that of another.

The comments which emerged, including distasteful jokes (which I will not repeat), did not surprise me.  What did, however, was the response of the authors of such comments, whom appeared genuinely surprised by the disapproving and angry response of fellow users.

“My profile, my opinion, I’m entitled to it” was one such response.

The answer is of course yes, that is true, but it is naive to think that posts of such a sensitive matter will not provoke a response and users should be reminded that social media platforms are a public place.  In the same way that you would not expect to walk into a crowded bar and loudly voice a potentially provocative opinion without being challenged, the same is true online.

Whilst it is a free world, social etiquette does, I was warmed to read, still exist online.  The overarching opinion of most users this weekend being that “there is no ranking of tragedy.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Should you wish to support the work of those in Somalia visit or text 70000 to donate £5 to the Disasters Emergency Committee.


BBC tackles social media open goal

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 by Mark Perry

Could the BBC have been shamed by the power of Twitter and the blogosphere when it decided to show the semi-final between England and France in the women’s World Cup semi-final live on BBC2 on Saturday evening.

Until then all England’s matches at the tournament had been available through the red button or as a highlights package. As the team progressed through the quarter finals questions were being asked as to why the BBC wasn’t showing the team’s achievements on the main channels. The tournament itself was receiving great support with the German tournament organisers getting near sell-out crowds.  

Comments started to appear on Twitter and on blogs with Sunder Katwala reflecting the general view that: “Several of our newspapers are reporting the tournament pretty well. But we’re being let down by the BBC which isn’t doing its job properly – so failing to promote the fast-growing women’s game with the energy we should all expect.”

It did appear as if the corporation’s reporters on Twitter felt compelled to fight back against the flack that they were receiving.

Sports reporter Jacqui Oatley tweeted that “General point to those complaining of lack of media coverage of #WWC, folk should write to sports editors BEFORE tournos to express interest.”

Nigel Adderley who was reporting following the tournament in Germany for 5Live re-tweeted The Guardian’s John Ashdown’s comments; “Worth pointing out while the BBC is getting all this flak that they have made up 50% of the British national press pack over here #wwc2011.” and later he tweeted comments from England manager Hope Powell saying: “I have to compliment the BBC. They’ve been fantastic for women’s football and how they’ve raised our profile”#bbcfootball.”

The general feeling reading those was that they were feeling defensive about the accusations and, lo and behold, less than 24 hours before the game the BBC seemed to turn tail and cleared re-runs of Porridge, Flog it! and Dads’ Army to show the game. But just like the men’s game the team went out after extra time and penalties.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Alice Pyne – the positive power of social media

Monday, June 13th, 2011 by Claire Beesley

Swimming with sharks, travelling to Kenya, staying in a caravan and meeting Take That are only a few of the bucket list wishes that feature on 15-year-old Alice Pyne’s blog. However, the most poignant is undoubtedly the terminally ill cancer sufferer’s dream to make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

Alice’s inspirational blog, which documents her cancer plight, has caused a global media frenzy a PR professional can only dream of since its inception just three days ago. With only four blog posts to date, Alice has become an overnight sensation making news headlines worldwide and #alicebucketlist being Twitter’s top trending term last Thursday morning and the third most discussed term in the world.

And, more importantly, thanks to the enormous amount of coverage she has received, Alice is achieving her goal of inspiring people to sign up to be bone marrow donors.  On Wednesday MP, John Woodcock, raised the issue during prime minister’s questions and the bone marrow register site has apparently been inundated with people searching for information on how to become a donor.

In a medium saturated with a lot of rubbish we shouldn’t necessarily care about, such as yet another love-cheat footballer Twitter rant or following the developments of Liz and Shane’s relationship, it is so refreshing to see such a great example of social media doing good. It reminds us all of the great power and varied uses of the online social sphere and demonstrates how it can be utilised to highlight the struggle of just one girl and help countless other cancer sufferers in the process.


Injunctions get tabloids all of a twitter

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 by Mark Perry


Under all the debate about the role injunctions are having in stopping the press talking about celebrities indiscretions there in an interesting sub-text about  what place the media – in particular the ‘red tops’ – have in the era of social media.

It seems as if the combination of the growth of social media like Twitter and the use of injunctions may just have taken away one of the key platforms for the tabloids – gossip.  Take away that and with it goes a reason to buy the chosen newspaper.  

This week it was interesting to hear that actor Hugh Grant on Richard Bacon’s Radio 5 Live programme – both no strangers to tabloid revelations –  call for all tabloids to be put out of business – “We don’t want them, we don’t need them and the sooner they go out of business the better…. as they rely on stealing people’s privacy.”

It is that privacy so many celebrities are now keen to maintained through injunctions while, as events of the last few weeks have shown, their names have come in to the public domain through Twitter. Indeed, such is the desire to uncover these names that Twitter has seen a 14% increase in traffic on the day names had been revealed.

There is no doubt that some of the names have not always been accurate. Indeed Jemima Khan had to deny her involvement in an injunction after she was named on Twitter.

Reflecting that the celebrities with their injunctions may be opening a long-term problem for themselves. If a newspaper does publish something that is later proved to be inaccurate it can be sued. At present it is almost impossible to take action against a claim which appears on Twitter and can do just as much damage in the long term. As the saying goes “be careful what you wish for”.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Consumer benefit – the key to campaign success

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 by Julie Wilson


It’s an obvious statement to make, but I’m a strong believer that for a consumer engagement campaign to be truly effective, it must offer real consumer benefit.

The following campaign by Coca-Cola is a prime example of one that does just that.

Stunningly simple, the brand turned the headache of a grid-locked journey home into a live and entertaining brand experience.

Engaging all of the senses with a cinematic experience amplified through drivers’ in-car stereo systems, the drive through or perhaps more accurately put, traffic stand still, movie experience provided frustrated drivers with a welcome distraction.  What’s more it provided the perfect platform from which to sample the brand’s new Coke Minis to an engaged and appreciative audience.

A great campaign, which put the product into the hands of target consumers when they needed it most.  A fitting promotion for the brand which strives to “spread happiness.”