Archive for the ‘Media relations’ Category

Ferguson delivers media masterclass

Friday, March 8th, 2013 by Mark Perry

 

The wily old Sir Alex Ferguson has today shown that he knows how to play the media and at the same time stop the media frenzy of rumour and speculation about the future of striker Wayne Rooney.

Since Rooney’s omission from the team to play Real Madrid this week, the media and twitter has seen this as an indication that Ferguson’s relationship with him is broken and that he would be leaving the club in the summer.

This morning football journalists speculated on twitter about the weekly press conference and who would ask the first question.  Ferguson’s reputation for being taciturn and banning journalists for asking difficult questions is legendary.  Indeed it transpired that he has imposed a ban on two newspapers – the Mail and Independent – because of the speculation this week.

Ferguson has shown how to take back the agenda from the media. He started the press conference by putting his points across before any questions were asked.

“The Wayne Rooney nonsense first? Or do you want to talk sense? The issue you’re all going on about is absolute rubbish. There is absolutely no issue between Wayne and I. Rooney will be here next season you have my word. To suggest we don’t talk to each other on the training ground is absolute nonsense.”

Having done that he was able to put across the positive messages about where the club goes from here.

Some of the sceptical football journalists who have seen it all with Ferguson even acknowledge a solid performance. The Sunday Times’ Jonathan Northcroft tweeted:  “SAF in prime form, all in all. Joking, grabbing back the agenda.”

Ferguson’s performance has shown that in the whirl of a media storm that addressing the issues up front and being prepared to stand by your convictions enables you to put your side of the story across in a much more strident way than responding to questions.

With Rooney however, only time will tell if his omission was the beginning of the end of this time at Manchester United as Ferguson is known for, sometimes, giving the media the wrong steer. But for now for him it is mission accomplished.

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.

Football’s lost reputation

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 by Mark Perry

 

It seems every day that football’s reputation is afflicted by one controversy or other – tweeting, accusations of racism, diving and even the England manager discussing team selection to strangers on the tube.

While, on one hand, the clubs seem to be all-controlling in their dealings with the media by limiting access to players and managers or even banning journalists from press conferences because of something they may have written, there are occasions when it seems that issues are not closed down.

As an industry which is under the media spotlight 24 hours a day, seven days a week I cannot help but feel that the sport is in need of some reputation management.

Liverpool belatedly admitted earlier this year that their handling of the ‘Luis Suarez affair’ was not as effective as it could have been and there has been relative silence from Chelsea in response to last week’s infamous Ashley Cole tweet about his thoughts on the FA.

If a football club was a corporation that was in crisis management mode there would be calls for immediate action. It just seems that in football things are left to fester while there is a chipping away of the hard-won club brand.

It may be time for clubs to see themselves just as any other company would and manage their reputation with their different stakeholders and ensure that any indiscretions of their employees – the players – don’t cause long time damage.

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.

North West has good neighbours in the BBC

Friday, June 1st, 2012 by Gemma Ellis

In 2011 the BBC relocated all of its staff from Oxford Road in Manchester and a significant chunk of its workforce at White City in London to Media City, Salford Quays.

One year on, Staniforth was invited to see how its neighbours were settling in.

The fanfare of publicity surrounding the move – both good and bad – could not be easily ignored, so we were keen to see if the scaremongers had any ground in their criticisms. We’re pleased to report that the corporation is functioning very well at its new location in the North West, thank you.

News editor, Fiona Steggles led Staniforth on a tour of the BBC’s impressive premises and was able to shed light into how the set-up at Media City better suits the news process. Being a public service broadcaster, the BBC continually looks to provide the best possible programmes to consumers and this is evident at Media City.

The purpose-built studios mean that newsrooms, production suites and recording studios sit neatly together, making for a more efficient operation, while cross skills training and easy availability of state-of-the-art equipment means many reporters can and do self-shoot, present and edit their own bulletins.

The newsroom itself is designed to be a hub of creativity. An expansive floor plan allows easy integration between flagship programmes BBC Breakfast, North West Tonight and The Politics Show, as well as sports and Radio 5 Live. News sharing is fluid and this ensures that a story is placed where it fits best.

BBC Breakfast has really made itself at home since its first broadcast from Salford Quays in April and has not, as detractors cried, suffered from a dearth of high calibre guests in relocating, having played host to Young Musician of 2012 Laura van der Heijden, actor Will Smith and gold medallists Darren Campbell and Ellie Simmonds in recent weeks.

For PROs, opportunities for spokespeople who are locally based, flexible and able to provide relevant and impartial commentary do exist and this can be a good platform to help with interview guests. In the past the BBC has drawn on the expertise of academics from Manchester University and some of the country’s leading law firms, doctors and politicians who have their base in the North West.

As a national broadcaster, it’s important that the BBC represents the whole of the UK, its regions and diverse communities and the move northwards is certainly allowing them to do this.

Knox verdict right for the media

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 by Mark Perry

 

It feels as if Amanda Knox’s acquittal this week is the climax of a four year long ‘PR campaign’.

In the build up to the decision by the court in Perugia, the world’s media descended on the town. We also heard from the family of Meredith Kercher who felt justly that their daughter and sister had been forgotten in the media’s focus on Knox.

As events built to Monday’s appeal decision it felt that even the timing of the verdict at almost 9pm was ideal for the American networks’ early evening news programmes.

Within 24 hours Knox was back in her town in Seattle speaking to the gathered news pack. It does however feels as if the ‘PR campaign’ has missed one important thing and something that is a key ingredient to handling a crisis situation.

At no time did she acknowledge her friend Meredith or use the opportunity to reflect on their friendship. Instead it was left to her lawyer to say that “Meredith was Amanda’s friend. Amanda and the family want you to remember Meredith and keep the Kercher family in your prayers.”

Max Clifford has been used as guide as to what she does next. His suggestion was for her to go on a TV show which has international exposure to set the record straight. There is no doubt that when she does decide to come out and tell her story that she will be well rewarded and is no doubt already agreed.

Let us not forget behind the story that Knox has to tell about her experiences in Italy and in an Italian prison that the Kercher family is still looking for closure.

 

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.

Osborne’s GQ appearance is PR disaster

Friday, September 9th, 2011 by Mark Perry

Should politicians be allowed to tell jokes? The answer  judging by George Osborne’s ill-advised attempt at this week’s GQ awards is no.

Mr Osborne was picking up his award for being “Politician of the Year” when during his acceptance speech in which – it has to be presumed – he was trying to be funny he made a lewd comment about the readers of the magazine.

Modesty prevents me from repeating the joke which can be seen here . As can be heard in the clip it went down badly with the star-studded audience who jeered as he exited the stage.

If in accepting the award he was trying to gain some positive personal PR you do have to ask what his advisers were thinking allowing him to appear at a red carpet star-studded event, particularly as he calls for  us all to adopt austerity measures.

He also seems, in the clip, to be reading his acceptance speech from the teleprompters. This probably means that one of his advisers wrote the lines for him which turned out to be so blatantly wrong coming from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  If they had come from the likes of Jonathan Ross no-one would even have noticed.

Perhaps it was an bungled attempt to show him to be an ordinary ‘bloke’? After all, his age places him in the target readership. I am afraid, Mr Osborne, that this is a PR fail.

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.

Cosmo for Guys Launches with Ipad Head Girl

Monday, August 1st, 2011 by Rob Brown

The relentless march of the digital magazine continued with today’s launch of an iPad male version of Cosmopolitan called CFG: Cosmo For Guys. To herald the launch an imaginative bit of film called Ipad Head Girl dropped on Youtube.  The link to the magazine is clear if you stick with the video passed the minute mark.

The content of the new iPad magazine is 21+ and holds to the maxim that sex sells.  With monthly issues available as in-app purchases, priced at $1.99 (or yearly for $19.99) it makes more sense that the pay-wall model championed by several News corp. titles.

 

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).

Stepping in the wrong direction

Thursday, July 28th, 2011 by Hannah Newbould

Following the news that broke last week regarding Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, and the deaths of five poor people, it likely there will be a long-winded process for getting the hospital’s reputation back to what it was.

In this instance, the hospital’s reputation will be damaged on many levels. From credibility to competitive position to the fact that a hospital – not everyone’s idea of a attractive place to spend their time – has now become more unattractive.

PR agency, Bell Pottinger North, has the mammoth task of handling the hospital’s crisis communication.  Associate Director, Richard Clein said: “The reality is that in this situation the police will take the lead on comms – our job is to ensure our messaging is consistent and to ensure we are reiterating the statement that the hospital is a safe place. It’s about reassuring patients and staff as well.”

Exploring the classic procedures of crisis management, there will be a process of being readily accessible to the media, showing empathy for all involved, delivering an appropriate level of communications that reinforces what the hospital does well, and laying down clear preventative processes for the future. In this instance, sending out a chain of press releases about the hospital’s goals and achievements is not the answer. People will not forget this easily, therefore a broad ranging, strategic plan is necessary to rebuild reputation.

But in the situation of a hospital crisis, how will a damaged reputation affect the “customer”?  If a person is picked up by a paramedic, there is no choice about the hospital destination. Are patients at the hospital now feeling nervous about being there? Reassuring these people is a key task for every hospital employee in the wake of what has happened.

How do staff feel about working there at the moment? A medical student or nurse who has studied hard to get a job at a previously good hospital must could well be feeling tainted right now by association with Stepping Hill.

It will be interesting to see how they recover from this. The work of dedicated and trustworthy staff at the hospital needs to be highlighted so the public doesn’t judge a whole hospital by the actions of one person.

*Quote as from PRWeek, July 2011

Coe shows Blatter secrets of crisis management

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 by Mark Perry

A post on PR Media blog last week looked at the shenanigans at FIFA and the own goal scored by Sepp Blatter in handling the media storm surrounding world football’s governing body.

There was an interesting comparison today when Lord Coe appeared on a number of television and radio programmes to answer the growing discontent about the allocation of tickets for London 2012.

A consummate politician, Coe comes across as being at ease in front of the camera and microphone and puts across his position in a clear concise way. He  appears to be open, honest and transparent in talking about his subject.  He even managed to get away without giving precise numbers of tickets available in the second ballot.

He could quiet easily have ‘ducked’ the whole issue and the 2012 organisers put up someone from the communications team. Instead, he came to the studios to answer the questions while showing that he is still very much the face of the event. He has helped to try and get the 2012 ‘brand’ through the storm untarnished unlike the impact of last week’s events on FIFA.

Coe, 54, has grown up in the media age and, as a sportsman and politician, has seen how the media can either make or break you.  Blatter, 75, comes from another age.

Blatter is attending the 2012 Games in his position as a member of the International Olympic Committee. While he is here maybe he should take time out to discuss with Coe the secrets of  handling the media in a crisis.

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.

Did Kubrick miss a PR trick with the media?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 by Jon Clements

 

Is it ever a good idea to avoid talking to the media?

Naturally, it depends on the circumstances; though sound PR advice would be normally to engage – as unpalatable as it may seem when under the intense glare of the media spotlight.

But the world of entertainment is not necessarily normal.

Forty years ago, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was released on an unsuspecting public. The film – set in a dystopian, near-future of violent street gangs – was certainly shocking for early 1970s audiences, but was made – according to its star, Malcolm McDowell, as a “comedy, albeit a very black one”.

Very soon, the film was “under siege” from the self-appointed protectors of public morals, including Mary Whitehouse, then-Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling, and Christian groups. Under pressure, Kubrick withdrew his film from circulation, not to see the dimmed light of a cinema auditorium in the UK again until 1999.

What is interesting is the view from the film’s producer, Jan Harlan – quoted in the Guardian’s recent 40-year retrospective article – who says about Kubrick: “His big mistake is that he never talked back to the press. Nonsense was written, but his attitude was, ‘Don’t talk to them or you’ll never get rid of them.’ He could have avoided all that by being a bit more accessible, but he just hated it.”

Now, we’ll never know whether talking to the media would have made a difference for Kubrick and his film at the time, but Harlan certainly has a point.

By not talking to the media, a hopelessly one-side view of a situation can evolve, which may well include a fair sprinkling of conjecture, exaggeration and other unhelpful elements for your product or brand. By participating in the media process, there is a chance to, at least, influence the story and create a balanced view.

After all, what had Kubrick actually done? He’d made a film that was passed by the censor, though it offended some people, and was linked to so-called “copycat crimes”. Facing the music and seeking to explain his work could have at least opened up the debate and encouraged more supportive voices to pierce the moral frenzy. Instead, by withdrawing the film and remaining silent, Kubrick – it could be argued – simply fed the mystique around A Clockwork Orange as something “too hot to handle” and tacitly endorsed his detractors’ claims that it was unfit for public consumption.

As an artist, Kubrick – for better or worse – had the freedom to choose the route of non-engagement with the media; ultimately, nobody was being forced to watch his film. Business leaders with a company, products or brand to protect don’t share the same freedom.

 

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

Blatter scores an own goal for Fifa

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 by Mark Perry

“Crisis what crisis?” was Fifa President’s reaction to a journalist’s question at a press conference called by the football’s governing body yesterday.

There is little doubt that, to those outside the organisation, it’s in crisis. For years there have been claims of mismanagement and even corruption which has reached new levels in the last week with leading members of FIFA’s governing committees turning on themselves.

Yesterday, appearing to react to the growing press clamour for answers, Blatter called a press conference.

As it turned out the conference should be shown to any CEO who might have to face the media as an example of how to appear out of touch and in denial.

He patronised the journalists, stopping at one point – when a murmur went around  the room as he avoided actually answering the questions – to tell the room to show him more respect.

His whole approach was adversarial and showed contempt for the journalists who dared to ask any difficult questions. He certainly was not trying to show any contrition or win any media battle. The premise was this: he was right; they were wrong.

He had the perfect opportunity to draw a line under the accusations by calling a wide, independent inquiry which would at least have bought him more time. Looking at the media reaction today the whole event has left him, and the organisation, more damaged.

Blatter is going to need a better crisis management plan and attitude towards the media if he is ultimately going to survive this one.

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.