Posts Tagged ‘ft’

No Twitter Please, We’re Teenagers

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 by Chris Bull

Most people who read a newspaper will have picked up on the story of Mathew Robson, a 15-year-old intern at Morgan Stanley who wrote a report into teenage consumption of the media which broke surface a little over a week ago. At first glance this smacked of a well executed PR stunt after the story made a huge splash in the nationals and had significant penetration online.

However, upon reading the report in its entirety – rather than reading what other people have said about the report, which is where most conversations have derived from – it is actually surprisingly simplistic, logical, and to someone who was not a teenager all that long ago, far less than groundbreaking than you might imagine. Everything contained in the report, well, it just seemed rather self-evident.

For instance, one of the key points that the media picked up on is that teenagers don’t Twitter. Of course they don’t. You actually have to invest some time in Twitter to get anything out of it. It takes months, if not years, to actually build up enough followers for one to feel their tweets are actually reaching an audience which could be, in any way, defined as significant. And even once you do, there is little content other than the oh so boring medium of text.

Compare this to the Facebook experience where you can jump into a ready made group, lured by a diversity of visually stimulating and engaging content, such as pictures, applications and games. It’s all rather Scrabulous.

Many of the other observations are fairly straightforward, claiming, for example that most teenagers don’t read newspapers or watch the news…is this news? Were you interested in global geo-politics or the lack of transparency within the political system when you were 14? No, thought not. Funnily enough, kids aren’t now either.

Most kids have mobiles on pay-as-you-go because they can’t afford contracts…hold the front bleedin’ page…the FT did.

So ok, this isn’t a PR stunt, but it does demonstrate a few things. Firstly, that if you want a report into the habits of media consumption – or anything for that matter – to have penetration, keep it simply and write it in language that is not impenetrable to the man in the street. Secondly, if you want to know how teenagers consume the media or anything else, just ask them. Thirdly, a story really does not have to be groundbreaking to get blanket coverage; it just has to be insightful, informative and PR’d within an inch of its life.

The report in its entirety can be viewed here.

About Chris Bull

Account Exec for Staniforth PR, based in the TBWA\ Building in Whitfield Street, London. Areas of interest include politics, the car industry and sport.

Selling in social media is not social

Friday, January 16th, 2009 by Jon Clements

Social media provides a conundrum for advertising.

Some advertising campaigns have talkability, but rarely – if ever – fit comfortably into a social environment. Ads sell, they do not socialise.

Hence the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has commissioned a report into how the advertising industry needs to adapt its way of working in light of the social media explosion, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The FT’s digital media correspondent, Tim Bradshaw, fingers the problem precisely when he notes that users of social media sites “are logging in for communication rather than commerce”. The traditional advertising model – even adapted for the web as banner ads and click-throughs – is considered intrusive in social media. My colleague, Mark Hanson, refers to it as “like sticking a billboard in someone’s front room while they’re watching TV”.

Where advertising’s “telling and selling” struggles in social networking, PR should flourish for a number of reasons: firstly, it’s about creating content that’s useful, portable and shareable. Also, there should be a better appreciation of the need for two-way communication and an understanding of what goes and what doesn’t go in a particular social situation online. From our own experience at Staniforth, a PR-led approach is also good for persuading senior executives to get involved directly when there’s a crisis in customer confidence being played out online.

That said, Todd Defren over at PR Squared has rightly questioned the dubious practices that some PR people are bringing to social media, and this blog has also visited the topic recently, but seeing more encouraging signs that PR is cleaning up its act in time to claim a worthy place in the social media sphere.

Companies and brands will continue to advertise, but in thinking about how to unwrap the riddle of marketing to people who are pre-programmed to resist your advances, a closer collaboration with PR is essential.

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 ''

So is Blogging Journalism?

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 by Linda Isted

The question (darling of media courses world wide) came up because it occurred to me that the reason I’m not an instinctive blogger is because it still says journalist on my passport. 

What journalists are supposed to do (foundation PR course 1.01 coming up) is news.  They ask questions, take notes, ask more questions, establish the facts, gather representative opinions and present it back in their audience’s favoured style. 

Most reporters firmly believe that journalists are born not made.  Which is why they are generally badly-paid, are prepared to sit through council meetings and corporate PR events and will always swing the car round to follow the third siren.  After five years away from a newsdesk I was still excited that the tip off I called into my local paper turned into a front page story. 

Journalism is the fourth estate (look it up), a cornerstone of democracy, blah blah.  But at the heart of all the self-importance is the absolute belief that news matters and opinion is a totally different beast. 

Opinion has always been cheap; columnists increased in inverse proportion to the profitability of newspapers.  Nothing wrong with cheap (preferably with one of its usual companions: cheerful, chic, and best of all, dirty), but let’s not pretend that it has the value of a real story.

What blogging does brilliantly, of course, is gossip and the uncorroborated.  In the early days of t’internet, a news editor at the FT told me that from his perspective virtually everything online was unchecked and uncheckable – and a serious journalist should be very scared of it.

I think the point is that while some journalists may blog, very, very few blogs are journalism.   Whether or not they are PR is another story…

FT large type

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 by Jon Clements


Here it is, a sneak preview of the new look

Judging by the new format, there shouldn’t be any problems with accessibility compliance.

It makes me realise how much the FT online has been making me squint all these years.

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 ''

EXCLUSIVE: FT Launches ‘Exclusive’ Discussion Forum

Friday, October 17th, 2008 by Mark Hanson


Exciting news reaches Staniforth Towers that the FT is beta-testing a new style forum, which will be modelled like an exclusive club where users have to qualify for membership.

It will be called the Long Room, after the famous City restuarant, which used to be a favourite for financiers and opinion formers to swap ideas and make contacts.

 The site will be an offshoot from a redesigned Alphaville blog and interestingly members must apply to be accepted by the Alphaville editorial team. Once ‘in’ they can write articles, comment on articles or just observe. Although, interestingly, if you decide to write a post (open a ‘table’) you can restrict access so that only those people who you want to be privvy to the discussion are part of it.

I think it’s a fantastic idea and builds on what forums are supposed to be i.e. a recreation of traditional social networks and its only right that if you want to build an electronic community for big City ‘players’ then it should have exclusivity and privacy. 

It’s a really efficient way of networking, doing deals and finding things out for bankers, lawyers, fund managers, regulators and even PR people. Far less costly and time consuming than conferences, presentations and dinners. However users are allowed to adopt fictitious personnas, so it will take time for some users to build trust and will the FT be earwigging on private, matket sensitive discussions?

 A thumbs up from me and it will be fascinating to observe. It goes live next week.

PS I’ve been allowed to relay information but not pass on links. Sorry!

PPS The FT Alphaville blog has around 15,000 subscribers with a 60/40 London/Wall Street split

Here’s the membership criteria

Admission to FT Alphaville’s Long Room is restricted to finance professionals, therefore we need to collect some information about you. Applications are hand-sifted by the FT Alphaville team and we aim to get confirmation of membership back to you as soon as possible.

We do appreciate, however, that you may well live behind a regulatory wall or simply want to protect your privacy. For that reason Long Room members are free to adopt a fictional online persona. You will be prompted to choose one below, along with a suitable picture from our selection.

None of the private information requested – including your email address – will be disclosed to other Long Room users or any outside body.

But the FT Alphaville team does need to know that you are who you say you are. For that reason, if your FT account was registered with an open access webmail address (eg., we will request further evidence of your identity.

Apologies in advance for these stipulations, but we need to ensure that the Long Room is a quality destination for professionals – and free of both market and personal abuse.

Love machines

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 by Jon Clements


Oh how the powerful need to be loved…

The Government and PC giant, Microsoft, are just two examples of the great unloved turning to marketing communications tactics to increase the love they’re currently not feeling from their respective audiences.

Gordon Brown and the Cabinet decamped to the West Midlands for a meeting to show some semblance of unity and demonstrate a willingness to listen to what local people had to say. The net result was a nice line for the Government in the FT about the cabinet getting a bit of “West Midlands wisdom”, suggesting our leaders’ humility among the commoners in the provinces. 

Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, however, may be stretching his abilities a bit far if he thinks appearing in the company’s own ads alongside comic, Jerry Seinfeld, will make him or the business he founded any more lovable. Microsoft has embarked on the biggest marketing campaign in its history as despite its ubiquity on people’s PCs, the company doesn’t create that warm, fuzzy feeling among its customers. Take a look at Bill and Jerry’s ad. As Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway once sang: “Where is the love?”.

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 ''


Friday, April 18th, 2008 by Jon Clements

An interesting insight into online professional networks can be found here with an audio discussion between FT management writer, Adam Jones, and LinkedIn’s Kevin Eyres. LinkedIn positions itself as a professional – as distinct from social – networking community in which business people can build contacts, get expert advice and manage their careers. Strictly no biting zombie applications or virtual sheep being hurled at one another here, methinks.

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 ''