SSU CONVERGING CAREERS CONFERENCE 2015: PART 2

Last week, almost a year to the day I finished my PR Masters degree, I was invited to return to my old stomping ground, Southampton Solent University to give a presentation about PR and converging careers.

Solent PR have done a wonderful write up and it is giving me the opportunity to do my first re-press – I hope this works! Enjoy!
Source: SSU CONVERGING CAREERS CONFERENCE 2015: PART 2

Jonah Lomu changed rugby forever

Where would modern rugby be today without Jonah Lomu, the bulldozing giant, the unstoppable tour de force who hit the rugby scene when he was just 19 as the youngest ever All Black?

Jonah Lomu changed the face of modern rugby. He was marketable and as a result he made Rugby Union marketable becoming a global superstar and household name.

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The All Blacks have many tributes to Jonah, but I like the one that has captured the reactions from key sporting figures from around the world, read them here.

I think it’s pretty special when a person with such incredible sporting talent can change, advance and improve a sport in multiple ways. He impacted the build of players, the game itself and the communications surrounding rugby. Public relations for rugby changed as communication between stakeholders evolved and improved.  The changes to the way rugby organisations and players handled PR, marketing and advertising made the game accessible to a much wider audience. By being more accessible Jonah became an icon and an inspiration to players of all ages.

Jonah’s support of the rugby world didn’t stop despite his health conditions or when he retired from the international rugby circuit. Recently he toured the UK promoting the 2015 World Cup, performing the traditional Haka.

Jonah Lomu, you are going to be missed but forever remembered as one of the greats, perhaps even the greatest. By engaging all your stakeholders you engaged the world through sport and you built a legacy that will last forever.

Jonah Lomu

 

Don’t be part of the bae’ing mobs!

Ah, the rise of ‘bae’. Sorry, I have to be honest, I hate it. It’s not for me, I do not care for it and I know this instantly ages me in to the ‘mum’ category of not rolling with the times because I think it sounds ridiculous. Who’s with me?

Ok, ok, I know I may not be able to stop the evolution of language and all those marvellous progressive points you are about to make. But, you may be asking what has caused me to finally write about ‘bae’?

Today I was driving home from work and it was being discussed on the Radio One. The drive-time host, Greg James, brought a revelation in to my life, ‘bae’ actually has a meaning.

Before Anyone Else

Am I the only one who did not know this? (Stop shouting yes at the top of your lungs!) If you didn’t know what it meant then do not fear. I didn’t either and I’m not part of an older generation, living under a rock or afraid of anything that is new! It is used in a similar way to babe, which is what I originally thought when the word first graced my ear drums. Babe, as a term of endearment doesn’t need shortening anyway!

Urban Dictionary has some hilarious definitions for ‘bae’…

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If you are fond of the word and want to use it, then make sure you keep if away from anything professional. I’ve seen it used a couple of times and it goes down like a lead balloon and makes you look like a rookie, again this is applicable to any profession. It is the epitome of unprofessional, so keep it away from your work life.

My next issue with ‘bae’ is that actually this is an acronym and technically when it is written it should be in capitals…

BAE 

I’m pretty sure there should be some full stop’s in-between those letters too!

It turns out that loads of words like this are actually acronyms, some that are well known in our culture and others that are not. I found a fantastic list of 25 frequently used acronyms on a website called Mental Floss, read the article here.

So whether you love it or hate it, at least you know what it means now!

Grammar is important, don’t let it be a cat ass trophy!

Grammar is important. But, you already know this. You already know that a grammar mistake can damage a reputation, a book, an advert, a press release and misconstrue meaning and cause all-round mischief if you get it wrong.

The problem is that it is too easy to do especially if you have a long day at work, a deadline or an incomplete knowledge of the rules. I’ve been caught out by every single one of these!

Grammar shit

The best piece of advice I could give would be to get a couple of books (for those times the internet fails you!) and take them to wherever your office may be. Google your grammar query but also make sure to double check it with relevant literature to avoid American based spelling and grammar mistakes (Yes, ‘to Google’ is a verb now!).

If you’ve done all of that you could always ask someone to proof read it, preferably someone with excellent grammar. Then there are the times when you just need to put space between you and what you have written. If you have the time,  put what you have written away and come back either a few hours or a full day later. It’s funny how giving yourself a bit of space away can allow you to look at something with fresh eyes again.

For those of you writing in a PR agency, somewhere with multiple clients or an organisation, make sure you look at the client’s own particular style or house style.

Grammar Police

Communication is dependent on delivery. Grammar and language are entwined. Grammar is essential to convey your message in the way you intend it to prevent it from being misinterpreted at the other end. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, grammar is important in every role you take.

Good Grammar

(P.S. I may have got some grammar incorrect in this, no one is perfect! We can only try our best. If you do get grammar wrong, try not to beat yourself up, learn from it and move on.)

F,C,K, M and E Marks and Spencer!

Ooooohhhh La La…Marks and Sparks what a naughty blunder on your website, or was it?

Those seeking a Christmas bargain this week got a message they weren’t expecting when looking for letter ornaments on the Marks and Spencer website. The letters appeared in the order of F, C, K, M and E with a U in the row above when price low to high was selected.

Now of course the Marks and Spencer PR team were out immediately in full force with a spokeswoman who denies any intention behind it and provided a pretty standard PR crisis statement – ‘This was due to the algorithms used to display products on our website. It was quickly spotted and corrected.’ – Yawn!

But it wasn’t removed quickly enough before the public got their hands on it and for it to go viral now was it ?!

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Hmm, a mistake?! I’m sceptical. This is a way for Marks and Spencer to start their Christmas campaign early and achieve some pre-campaign hype of the humorous and cheeky kind, whether it was intentional or not.

This is an example of viral marketing (Excuse me M and S Lawyers, this could be an example of…) where social media is harnessed through a PR stunt to increase brand awareness.

There is so much to gain from such a little gaff. The Christmas PR and advertising race has become iconic, a top earner and a competition like no other among the big retailers. Although it isn’t appropriate to start the Christmas adverts yet, this sort of mistake, regardless of intention, has now given Marks and Spencer a platform to build on. They already have the consumer’s attention, an edge above it’s competitors prior to the prime Christmas advertising months. It’s a smart PR move, I mean mistake! 😉

Project 256 – Street art to help the homeless

Technology has brought us humans so many good things. We can communicate. We are entertained. We are safer. We are progressing, developing and continually learning. But, it also gives us a greater power to help others.

Project 256, co-ordinated by Chris Courtney, has been created to give a voice back to the homeless through art and technology. It wants to change the perception of giving to the homeless and prevent homeless people from becoming shunned or invisible.

First of all a street artist paints a huge image of the homeless person in a prominent public position with a unique QR code and a web-link. The web-link shows you a video about the homeless person featured and the QR code is linked to a Bitcoin wallet that belongs to the homeless person in the portrait.

A donation can be made that is both direct and instantly received.  The homeless person is supplied with a phone for them to be able to utilise the donations. This means you know the donated money is going directly to help that person to buy food or shelter for the night, or to save for larger purchases.

The homeless person isn’t dependent on being there to receive the donation and I can imagine that this could make donations more consistent and reliable? I guess we will see as the project unfolds!

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Check out Herakut’s website

The project is starting in London and Paris where there is a lot of free wi-fi available on the street. However the project hasn’t been without its teething problems. Initially the phones were quickly sold to make instant cash. However, now the phone is looked after by the street artist or a volunteer for up to a month with the hope that the homeless person will understand that it will provide an income with potential long term benefits.

The artist’s image makes it a positive talking point and individual stories can be followed. Columbo was the first man in Britain to be featured. He has been painted in Shoreditch, in East London by Bom.K. and can be seen at the top of this page as the main article image and below.

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Columbo by Bom.K.

Art is being used to PR the cause, to tell a story and change people’s perceptions. There is a story, a person, a life behind the homeless person you donate to, a story told through beautiful street art imagery and amazing advances in technology. But most importantly this facilitates the ability to be able to help.

The more I learn about PR, the more I see it as a glue that holds projects together, it has the ability to create a platform where it can help to inform, educate and facilitate. PR is powerful. It comes in various forms and functions.

Follow the project!

Creative Campaigns #6 – The trailer for Dismaland

So my next thing to tickle your creative tastebuds has to be the trailer that Banksy released today for Dismaland! I know – I’m obsessed. Dismaland is my cup of tea, so why not celebrate the things you like?

The video follows a family, who start at the breakfast table and is questioned by a narrative that asks ‘is there something missing in your life?’.

They then head to the park to experience a classic rip-off of Disney’s infamous tag line ‘the happiest place on Earth’ but then experience all sorts of ‘dismal’  happenings once there.

It’s a creative rip off of the Disney TV adverts and is the perfect homage to his bemusement park and the extremely on point art works which pick up topical provocative political and cultural themes.

Watch it here:

 

 

 

 

It’s anything but Dismaland!

My five am start, two and half hour drive and four and a half hour queue time to ensure my feet were one of the first across the threshold at Dismaland paid off…

I was in!

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*Spoiler Alert: Go no further! I haven’t put many images up that are new and not in the press because I don’t believe in ruining it for others, but there are a couple. If you want to go and don’t want to ruin it for yourself, look no further!*

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The pre-opening ticket PR hype did nothing to quell my excitement, and I was not disappointed. Not one little bit!

The staff are purposefully rude, abrupt and non-responsive, but in such a humourous way that I got an exceptional fit of the giggles as we passed through the fake security entrance. Of course they had been told to do that, but the innocent childish laughter kept coming. Cardboard scanners and CCTV and other props were incredible, polished off by the outstanding performance by the staff who ‘interrogated’ you. After a hilariously impressive start I went through the door half-expecting it to end there but there were more staff to hand out leaflets, only they made it intentionally difficult for you to take a map from their hand, or just stood there looking at you blankly full of disdain. None of them broke character, not once and it totally made the experience.

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Don’t look now…

I found it a visual over load, with so much detail that I took a lot of time taking it all in. It was a magnificent triumph, Banksy had successfully curated a wide array of art and put the artists together to create one fluid and coherent installation. He created this from scratch in under six months, it was seriously impressive.

Having the PR ‘stunt’ fit in line with the event/attraction/installation (well, it is all three!) was the perfect way to promote the event and keep it in line with the mission behind the installation.

The art itself, predominantly installations, were deliberately thought provoking and challenged perceptions. Here’s a peek at some of the works…


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IMG_7753It’s a great place for creative thought, perhaps it suggests a way for public relations to come at things from a different angle too. The stakeholders in attendance were a large cross-section of society, some where there because of the hype, the attraction, the installation, to look cool, to be an activist, an anarchist, an artist…

Every sort of person was there and international languages rippled across the air. Stereotypes didn’t really work here, it had a strange mass appeal. Perhaps it’s because Banksy’s works aren’t aimed at one person, they are aimed at everyone, to challenge everyone’s thoughts and what is fundamentally right and wrong.

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With love from Dismaland! xxx  

It was anything but Dismal! We had a wonderful time, and I seriously suggest you go and experience not only the fun side, but the elements which make you challenge your thoughts and ideas on difficult topics.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to Exit through the Gift Shop…

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Dismaland – the UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction!

Bravo Banksy, Bravo!

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Well he know’s how to make a point and generate a ton of PR for his art installation.

Dismaland plays on the Disnification of our society and the post-modern, consumerist generation.

The inability to buy tickets for his latest installation has set the social media sphere on fire. ‘I want tickets now’, ‘I NEED Dismaland tickets’ and ‘how on earth do I get a ticket to Dismaland?’ have rendered the internet truly dismal.

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The calendar which is actually a JPG!

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This is as far as I can get in the ticket buying process!

But you, probably like me, realised the hypocrisy of his ‘fight capitalism, buy a ticket to the show’ and as a result there are no tickets…the trolley logo remains upside down…empty.

I get the joke, I see the point being made.

I still click on it, I still press F5 and I have done, like a mad-woman, all day, since 6am. I have become all-consumed, the desire of wanting to see some real-life Banksy, not vandalised or removed by others is just too great despite knowing it will be fruitless.

If I know how ridiculous I am being you may ask… ‘Why are you still trying to purchase a ticket?’

For me, this is easy to answer. I want to see one of the greatest living artists of our time. One who brought a ‘criminal act’ in to popular culture as proper art, more so than any other graffiti artist. His clever takes on topical issues such as politics, migration, money, love, slavery, popular media and relationships say things that often people cannot. He’s travelled the world to do timely works in places like the Gaza Strip. He has almost retained complete anonymity (thanks Daily Mail for ruining that one by the way, for that I will never forgive you! For anyone not in the UK, one of our national papers went out of its way to uncover Banksy’s identity. Which, of course, I’m still furious about all these years later. Anyway, I digress…).

I would like to see Banksy’s new works, along those with the other artists he has involved. I missed his last show and although watching all these comments online are funny, ultimately what this masks are my feelings of disappointment. I am a long-standing Banksy fan. I am your stakeholder Banksy and I understand what you stand for, I get the big point you are making with the UK’s most disappointing bemusement park. But, at the same time, despite knowing this, I can’t stop my own personal disappointment, a feeling I probably share with many of your actual fans who’d like to see your new exhibit. If you don’t let the other kids play, where’s the fun in that? And other than thought provoking, it is meant to be fun, right?

The thought that I may miss another of your shows makes me think that the once accessible to all Banksy is not accessible anymore. You are not offering entry-level anarchism if no one can actually gaze upon your musings. If I am thinking this, is anyone else?

Now I, along with everyone else trying to obtain tickets have become the joke, I’d be careful how you play this one team Banksy because it could ultimately turn some of your real fans against you. (I doubt many but it’s a consideration, and we are looking at this from a PR point here!)

I understand the attraction will most likely be open on a first-come-first-serve basis in an attempt to further fuel demand and exclusivity, which in essence Banksy makes you a teenie, tiny bit like those capitalists and consumerists you mock, you are engaging in a PR and sales strategy that is as old as time. Supply and demand, just without the money element. Not that people aren’t willing to pay, fake prices on Ebay have been estimated at £3000 and people on Twitter have been offering to pay over the odds for the tickets which apparently are going to be £3 each.


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It’s a wonderful PR stunt, in line with the Banksy values, that has engaged such a large audience in such a short space of time, perhaps he shouldn’t let it go too far though. Banksy’s popularity is based on his talent, us ticket purchasers have learnt our lesson but we’d still like to see your art.

Despite all the rumours of a hoax, I’m going to risk it. So I am hovering with my bag packed ready for an early morning two hour pilgrimage to the arse end of the South West…Weston-super-Mare. Wish me luck fellow Banksy fans, will I be jilted at the Dismaland gate or will I be revelling in entry level anarchism? Watch this space…

Banksy

 

 

 

 

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