Archive for the ‘Telecommunications’ Category

It’s good to talk

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 by Gemma Ellis

HELLO?! The days of inadvertently overhearing your neighbours’ shouty mobile chatter – famously epitomised by Trigger Happy TV’s Dom Joly and his giant novelty telephone – may soon be over if new research from Ofcom is anything to go by.

Evaluating the habits of UK consumers over the past year, the report reveals that more and more people are now using text as their primary form of communication; in 2011, 58% communicated daily via text messages, compared with 47% who made calls.

The revolution is being led by the young, with 96% of 16 to 24-year-olds using some form of text-based application on a daily basis, be that texting or social networking sites.

The fact that communication is changing is hard to dispute. The wide availability and uptake of smart phones will have played a huge role in this. Consumers now have the world at their fingertips and messaging is quick, easy and convenient.

Text can cross continents and time zones without difficulty and even language barriers to a certain extent, with a quick click on Google Translate and similar service providers telling you almost all you need to know.

But I do hope that as we move away from verbal communication the art of conversation isn’t completely lost. Whether you’re thrashing things out or catching up on mindless gossip, sometimes there’s nothing better than the spoken word.


Manchester App School opens doors

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 by Jon Clements

As a recent convert to the iPhone and the wonderful world of the “app” (Planet Rock, anyone?), it’s good to know that the future of app development is being bolstered by a Manchester-based course for young people known as The App School.

Creative consultants, The White Room, are running the free course – backed by the city council, Cornerhouse (Manchester’s centre for visual arts and cinema) and Manchester Metropolitan University – for 18-24 year olds interested in designing new iPhone applications.

And with the mobile app market forecast to reach $6.8bn this year, there’s a potential money making machine for the creative person with the right ideas.

But techno-phobes need not be discouraged. This is about people with potentially commercial ideas and not necessarily those who dismantle computer hard drives for fun.

According to Phil Birchenall, project director at the White Room: “What we need is plenty of enthusiasm and ideas, that’s all.”

I eagerly await the “help your kid with his maths homework app”, and soon.

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 ''

Pigeon coup gives World Cup warning

Friday, September 11th, 2009 by Mark Perry


It seems the power of the PR ‘stunt’ to gain coverage is still well and truly with us – as the story of Winston the pigeon is anything to go by.

Winston was challenged to get a  4gb data stick from the offices of Unlimited IT in the town of Howick to Durban quicker – one hour and eight minutes –  than a transfer by an internet connection from the country’s biggest ISP Telkom.

Unsurprisingly, Winston’s pigeon post won delivering the data stick whilst just 4% of the data had arrived electronically.

The object of the exercise was to demonstrate just how slow broadband connections are in South Africa and give some profile to the IT company.

However perhaps this ‘stunt’, which gained global coverage, was timely as qualification games were taking place across the world and people were thinking about South Africa.

Today’s tournaments are so heavily reliant on the internet that the’ stunt’ offers a wake up call to the authorities and tournament organisers that its communication  network needs to be able to cope with the demands of the modern World Cup.

The last thing you want is a meltdown while the world’s media is in your back yard. Now where is that crisis management plan……

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.

Apple Conference Core Strategy

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 by Rob Brown

A famous global PR company used to give clients three pieces of advice on press conferences…”don’t do them, don’t do them and don’t do them”.  They are hard to get right, open to risk and in the digital age what is the point of a press conference? Well, it is the same as it always was – to fuel the buzz.  I don’t think anyone today does it better than Apple.In fact Apple, which has a conference scheduled for tomorrow, 9 September, has achieved what most companies can only dream of, a flood of coverage before they have announced a thing.  They can do this because they have great products and a charismatic head honcho in Steve Jobs.  They also succeed in creating drama and intrigue.  So what is the buzz about this time?  There is so much speculation that it hurts but here is a quick summary of the hum on the wires:

  • Will Steve Jobs host?  He is recovering from a liver transplant but back at work. Will tech’s greatest showman be hosting the show?
  • Is the much talked about tablet ready to roll? The keyboard free netbook, the love child of the iphone and the macbook is hotly tipped.
  • The Beatles are going on iTunes.  Spotify has seized all the headlines lately and Apple must be keen to get its download service back in the spotlight.
  • Time for a new Touch?  The iPod touch is set for a facelift but it has the capacity to be big news.  If as is rumored there is a microphone on board plus an app for VOIP phone calls the big phone operators might finally start to flinch in the face of web based calls.

Whatever is waiting in the wings one thing is certain; the press conference is a core part of the Apple PR strategy and it will be rewarded with a media deluge.

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).

Customer shmustomer

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by Jon Clements

And so, it’s nearly over. Barring the handover of some details that will set me free to forge a new life with a new partner, a relationship stretching back nearly 10 years draws to a close. Yes, I’m leaving my mobile phone provider.

But it hasn’t been easy: not because of some peculiar affection for a company which enables people to track me down at any time of night or day. No, it’s literally been the most difficult contractural arrangement to extricate myself from, ever.

Up to now, the service given by this household name has been quite acceptable (they let me make and receive phone calls – hard to mess up if you’re a mobile phone operator). I paid my bills on time by direct debit, so it’s the very least you’d expect. But dare to close your account and be prepared for the full force of corporate inertia to be unleashed.

The minutiae of the case is too painful to recount, but when Tory leader David Cameron referred last week to the Government as “Stalinist”, it suggests that he clearly hasn’t tried to swap his mobile phone number between networks.

After two months of endless phone conversations with an array of chirpy call centre staff promising to phone back with answers, trips to one of the company’s high street branches which bears the same name but might as well be a cheese shop for all the help it’s been, the pain should soon be over.

But anyone who lives within a radius of at least five miles will have heard me talking about this company in a way that would make Gordon Ramsay blush. It’s an old adage about the unhappy customer telling hundreds of people, but the level of customer service displayed sometimes by companies hints that they really don’t care. For all the investment they throw at advertising, PR and clever sponsorship deals, they are undoing it all at the point of delivery. 

Astonishing to note, but there is actually a British Standard Code of Practice for Customer Service, which is clearly being used to prop open doors or support coffee mugs across the nation. Elsewhere there is some pretty comprehensive advice to be had for free on the subject.

With the cost of winning new customers far outstripping that to retain existing ones, it’s curious that nobody yet at the mobile phone company has asked me why I wish to leave or what they could do to make me stay. Maybe they were about to dump me, but just got fed up of being put on hold.  

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 ''