I just fired the Chairman

I’ve blogged before about the need for public relations practitioners to stand up for themselves if they want to be taken seriously. To believe in their own value. To push back if they feel their expertise and advice is being overlooked. And to have the guts to ‘consider their positions’ if this becomes an ongoing issue.

Today I practiced what I preach. After many months of being frustrated by a client’s refusal to engage with us on anything other than an arm’s-length basis, I “withdrew the services” of Due North after being told by the organisation’s Chairman that he just wasn’t interested in our advice and wanted us simply to do as we were instructed. By him. More…

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Could balance of NZ political power hang on a single word?

Image: TVNZ

It’s always risky to call an election result in advance. So I’m going to resist the temptation.

But, barring an extraordinary infusion of yet more pork, I find it hard to imagine how National are going to win Northland at the by-election in two weeks’ time.

Because they can’t / won’t / don’t know to say “sorry”. More…

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Carbon paper, filing cabinets, couriers and telex

In just over 111 years mankind has progressed from putting the first powered aircraft into flight to landing a machine on a comet. This astounding rate of evolution in the aviation and aerospace industry comforts me slightly when I look at how PR has changed in the 26 short years since my first job.

Because it means I’m not necessarily an old fart. Just that ours is yet another area of endeavour which has seen huge change over a very short time.

In a tweet this week one May Wildman (@maywildman) asked what the world of PR was like before email. The more I thought about it, the more I realised how things have changed in the weird and whacky world of PR. More…

Posted in journalism, media, PRos and PRats, trends | | 6 Comments

Facebook: for when things go ‘glug’

Just three weeks ago this country’s only oil refinery, Refining NZ, accepted our long-standing recommendations around establishing a presence on social media. The rationale; to engage more effectively with the local community and to give the company a channel through which to communicate with the wider world in the unfortunate event that something goes bang.

Then yesterday, with uncanny timing, something did go bang. Well, not really bang. More like glug. More…

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PR best practice in local government? Yes!

You don’t often expect examples of best practice to jump out at you from local government but hats are off in our office to both the Far North District Council and Auckland Council for their use of social media.

The Far North District Council gets that social media is about engagement, community and information-sharing. More…

Posted in brands, business, community, corporate communication, Northland, PRos and PRats, social media, spokesmen, the human element, trends | | Leave a comment

Showdown in the Basin

Who knew? Be warned: if you want to photograph anyone in front of Heritage New Zealand’s Kemp House you must first seek the permission of the property manager.

This despite the fact that the building sits front and centre of Kerikeri’s picturesque Stone Store Basin, right alongside the eponymous trading site.

And despite the fact that Heritage New Zealand, other organisations responsible for the Basin and the various bodies responsible for promoting tourism in Kerikeri and the Bay of Islands profess to be doing everything they can to encourage people to visit the place. More…

Posted in brands, doing the right thing, moral high ground, Northland, PRos and PRats, reputation, the human element | | Leave a comment

Just say “no”

Jeepers, Radio New Zealand’s ‘Morning Report’ was a tough listen on Monday this week!

It was the first week-day after Labour had polled so badly in the New Zealand 2014 General Election and ‘Morning Report’ presenters Guyon Espiner and Susie Ferguson desperately wanted the headline that a Labour personality – any Labour personality would do – was not prepared to support the party’s leader at the time, David Cunliffe.

By 9am I had lost count of the number of times the words ‘knife’ or ‘knives’ had been used.

There were ‘knives out’ for the man who had led the party to such an electoral drubbing. Or a knife that was being readied for metaphorical plunging between his shoulder-blades. Knives here, knives there, knives blimmin’ everywhere. More…

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#Election2014: Of twitter, bad publicity and the north

It’s been an eye-poppingly strange election campaign.

It’s had huge implications for public relations in New Zealand, mainly because of the cash for coverage and dirty politics scandals which engulfed the blogging landscape. Things aren’t ever going to be the same in that department – and that’s a good thing.

Put that aside for a moment and three things stand out for me from this weekend’s election result:

1. Twitter’s an alternative universe
2. There’s new hope for Northland
3. There is such a thing as bad publicity


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A geek, a Claims Manager and a PR man walk into a bar…

Two business trends are merging like ocean currents to create a rip-curl of opportunity for those of us prepared to grab our boards and go surfing.

The first is the recognition by insurers, underwriters and loss adjusters that effective communication can minimise not only reputational damage but also the impact to the financial bottom line when things go wrong in businesses of all sizes. And, perhaps more importantly, that bad or ineffective communication can exacerbate the damage. More…

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Countdown. Good, but where’s the mongrel?

Countdown needed to come out fighting. The limp written statement from the Australian owned supermarket giant in response to Labour MP Shane Jones’ stinging claims, made under Parliamentary Privilege, was never going to cut it. So finally this afternoon they did what they should have been doing from the first moments this storm hit them. They fronted up.

Mike Hosking’s interview with Countdown NZ managing director Dave Chambers, aired this evening, moved Seven Sharp back into the watchable current affairs zone in a single leap. More…

Posted in apologies, brands, business, corporate communication, credibility, crisis communication, issues management, reputation, spokesmen, tofu PR | | Leave a comment