Posts Tagged ‘image’

Porkie pies maketh not PR

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Jon Clements


The upshot of this week’s PR Week crisis comms event should have PR practitioners breaking out in sweaty palms.

And why not? After all, it seems like common sense that journalists don’t like being lied to.

To emphasise the point – and with great foreboding – The Times home news editor Martin Barrow warned PROs: ‘If we know you’re lying, we will work extra hard to ensure we expose you and your company.’

In the steaming cauldron of PR sins, saying “no comment” suggests you have something to hide; trying to “spin” your communications is a way of dressing up something nasty as something nice and, finally, “lying” is just plain stupid.

Anyone with the job of speaking to the media on behalf of their organisation could do worse than take the advice put succinctly in Frank Jefkins’ book, Public Relations: “If PR is to be credible, it must avoid false image making…the media are prejudiced about PR to the extent of expecting false image polishing.”

If you’re lucky, the instances of having to break bad news to the wider world while journalists or bloggers bay for blood at your gates will be rare. And when it does happen, there are ways of tackling it – but lying isn’t one of them.

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 ''

Wyth a little bit of luck, and PR

Friday, November 7th, 2008 by Jon Clements

For anyone growing up in south Manchester who wasn’t a resident of the Garden City of Wythenshawe, the place has always come with some considerable baggage.

The local website for Wythenshawe – a place once dubbed the biggest housing estate in Europe – even devotes a special section to its colourful past. This includes tales of “wanton damage by vandals and hooligans” dating back to the 1930s, a demand from neighbouring residents of “posh” suburb Gatley for a Cold War style “barrier” to keep the hordes out, along with endless reports of arson, vandalism and deprivation; leading a local churchman in the late 80s to call the place “the opposite of a community”.

If there was ever a challenge on this planet, redrawing the image of Wythenshawe is it.

And so a modestly-(by marketing standards) budgeted project called “Real Lives Wythenshawe” has begun to do just that. But, as noted by the typically wry north west media news site, How-Do, you can’t call the initiative a “re-brand”; it’s an image campaign.

What comes across from the campaign so far is the great pride the area’s people have for the place and the long overdue need for it to be released from its positioning as neighbourhood pariah. For many people who’ve moved to Wythenshawe from elsewhere – without the pre-conceptions shared by nearby communities – the question seems to be “what’s the big deal?”

But not everyone is impressed with “outsiders” getting involved in Wythenshawe’s business. Forum comments on the local Wythit website suggest “shooting all the fancy consultants”, which doesn’t do much for the stereotype the suburb is trying to shift.

Other local commentators seem to welcome the revamp of Wythenshawe’s image as a good thing, though one adds, ironically, “a few extra police might help!”

As a 10-year-old playing on a park near to Wythenshawe, I got duffed up and had my new leather gloves nicked by some local hardnuts. Maybe, as part of the image refresh, I’ll get my gloves back.

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 ''

Brown dumps the frown while Obama is calmer

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 by Jon Clements


Interesting times for the UK and US’s leaders and leaders in waiting.

As Gordon Brown and the UK government is bailing out the banks, it leaves the Opposition with little to do apart from offer their (grudging) support. Anything else would look churlish and fly against the need for the public to see something done.

But while unable to attack Gordon Brown’s sudden decisiveness on the economic crisis, Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, has felt the need to prick the way he claims Brown is coming across – as “triumphal”. Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer sees it differently, sketching the Prime Minister as lifted from his trademark moroseness by the current challenges. So, image goes a long way in politics.

And in the US, as election day approaches, poor John McCain looks like he might be his own worst enemy, becoming better known for his “short fuse” and “erratic leadership” than the statesmanship Barrack Obama is adopting, even referencing the great FDR’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” quote in his current speeches. Obama is calmer while McCain hopes the final presidential debate will enable him to “whip Mr Obama’s you know what” (his words, apparently).

With image counting for so much in politics, I wouldn’t stake a half dollar on it.

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 ''

Lib Dems Seek PR Redemption

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 by Mark Hanson


They say that politics is showbusiness for ugly people, well step forward Lembit Opik. Former beau of both weather girl, Sian Lloyd and one of the Cheeky Girls, has enlisted the services of Bell Pottinger in Liverpool to try and buff his image sufficient to get him elected as Lib Dem President.

Bell Pottinger have plenty of form in moulding the profile of unpopular politicians but why choose the Liverpool office? I guess as a Lib Dem, the head of BP Liverpool, Richard Clein, has a personal relationship with Lembit.

This is definitely part of a trend in our media obsessed world. Disgraced former Lib dem front bencher, Mark Oaten, has been using the services of a former Lib Dem spin doctor to try and repair his public image. There’s nothing wrong in this. I’ve done a fair bit of this kind of work myself and its extremely interesting. No word on whether Lembit is paying Bell Pottinger but Guido has a way of finding these things out:)

The next thing you know, we’ll be seeing fading politicians staging a comeback by appearing on reality shows.