PRWeek Top 150 2009 Podcast

PRWeek were kind enough to invite me to do this week’s podcast on the newly announced Top 150 2009. Not sure if Wadds previous kind words influenced this and a big thanks to Peter Hay and Cathy Wallace who trusted me with the figures pre publication so I could do my analysis. Fortunately I managed to avoid doing a Blears/Quick at PRDebate on Tuesday :-)

Podcast can be found here and the Top 150 2009 can be downloaded by subscribers here.

I will be publishing my analysis behind some of my comments in the next couple of days for anyone who is interested in more detail.

Update: Embed code now available so view podcast below.

Why Online PR is like a dinner party

The recent popularity of shows such as Come Dine with Me, along with the recessionary drive to save money, has lead to a renaissance in the art of the dinner party. With my tongue only slightly in cheek it has often struck me that Online Public Relations is a lot like a dinner party. At RealWire we think good PR is governed by four main principles – permission, relevance, content and influence. So how do these apply to the art of the dinner party?


First of all you have to either be invited to someone else’s party or host one of your own. In practice this means knowing who is going to be interested in you, who you have things in common with and then finding and getting to know these people. Until you have done this you aren’t likely to get many invites and if you invite people to your own party they aren’t likely to turn up!


If you have decided to host a party you must ensure that the dishes you create for your guests take account of their culinary preferences e.g. vegetarians, nut allergies and religious factors. No matter how good the food, if it isn’t relevant to them they aren’t going to eat it and causing serious harm to your guests health or sensibilities isn’t likely to mean they will respond positively to your next invite.

The other key area where you need to consider relevance is in the conversations you have. Before you dive in with your latest achievement or talking all about your work or your kids find out about the person you are talking to. What are they interested in? Then you might find that there is something about you or something that you know about that they might value and so an interesting, and relevant, conversation ensues.


Whether you are hosting your own, or attending someone else’s party, the food you serve, and the conversations you have, need to also be both of sufficient quality, and interest, to provoke a positive reaction on the part of the guests. This means planning and creating fabulous dishes and/or coming prepared with stories that will engage the other guests’ attention. It’s no good inviting all these people on the promise of a gastronomic extravaganza and then serving cheese on toast.


If you have done all of the above then guests at parties you host should not only want to come to your next one, but are likely to tell all their friends about how great the evening was. And in the case of parties you attend the other guests will not only tell their friends how interesting you were, but they are also likely to attend any party you might host.

So follow these four principles, and not only will you be a great dinner party host and guest, but you might also find your PR improves :-)

(This post also appeared today in my Fresh Business Thinking Online PR newsletter)

What the world needs now…

Stephen Waddington MD of the newly born (from the merger of Loewy’s PR firms) Speed Communications, posted yesterday about the recession and as he so clearly put it “bollocks to denial and despair”. I started writing a comment and then realised it was getting rather lengthy, so hence this post. I strongly advise you to read it first.

Firstly, and very importantly, I would strongly suspect that everyone so far in this conversation sympathises greatly with those who are suffering the “human” cost of the recession pointed out by Linda in the comments.

I also I agree with the point raised by Stephen Davies – we have got fat. The West has consumed and consumed, fed through a diet of credit financed by the East to feed its own desire for economic growth and facilitated by bankers’ personal greed. My personal favourite observation of this is the massive growth in storage centres. We have all bought so much “stuff” that we have to hire somewhere to store it! We are therefore going to have to have some degree of “pain” while we lose the weight.

It seems to me the key point of the post though is not whether the recession is causing/will cause suffering – unfortunately that is a given – but whether an attitude of despair or denial is likely to improve the situation?

In this regard I find myself agreeing with the quote that Bill highlights “we can have a depression if we really want one”. The problem is we haven’t had a recession with 24/7/365, always on, accessible from everywhere, fighting tooth and nail for attention, media coverage. The internet was literally in its infancy and mobile telephony and 100+ channel broadcasting were not widespread in 1990-92 so it was arguably easier to try and remain positive. In the face of such relentless negativity it is easy to see how people despair.

What we need is leadership. Leadership of the kind Barack Obama showed in his Inaugural address – things will be tough, hard work will be needed, but if we believe in ourselves we can achieve great things. For me the key distinction highlighted in the piece Linda links to is action. Making decisions, taking opportunities, changing, responding, not just accepting. This is what leadership is all about. We might make mistakes, but at least we tried to ride the wave of change, not let it wash over us.

Unfortunately Mr Obama is a bit of a one off. However in our own industry it seems to me that posts like these from Stephen are trying to show leadership by asking us all to focus on the positive. As an accountant, and therefore a bit of an outsider, I am inclined to think that the PR industry, as communications experts, has an opportunity to lead the way in trying to get a more positive conversation started.