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…

Posted in brands, business, corporate communication, crisis communication, issues management, reputation, science and technology, trends | | Leave a comment

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

The Trouble with ‘Toxic’

This was published as a guest column in Fairfax titles Northern News and The Bay Chronicle this week:

The mining debate is being hijacked by an emotive and misleading slogan, argues Peter Heath of business communication firm Due North.

Words matter. Which is why we should treat the phrase ‘toxic mining’ with suspicion. More…

Posted in business, community, corporate communication, economy, Northland, politics, pressure groups, reputation, spin | | Leave a comment

“You guys”? Choice, bro

My heart went out to him. There he was – a North American with a smart suit and tie and a Powerpoint presentation (from 1’45” in the video here), trying to make nice at a Northland hui where establishing some form of beach-head in public opinion against oil exploration was the objective.

He was never going to get anywhere. And we wondered afterwards if getting anywhere was ever the intention. It had all the hallmarks of a box-ticking exercise. More…

Posted in business, community, corporate communication, credibility, environment, government, issues management, Northland, politics, pressure groups, trends | | Leave a comment

It’s how you tell ‘em!

About six months ago I met a senior business leader. “What do you do?” she asked, politely. “I’m a PR consultant,” I said… and watched as her eyes glazed over.

Three weeks ago I met her again. “Ah yes – I remember you,” she said. “You do something with marketing, don’t you?”

This time I was ready for her. More…

Posted in business, corporate communication, marcomms, reputation, spin, trends | | Leave a comment

Jilted at dawn

Aah – the trials and tribulations of a flashy media lifestyle. There I was. All set up and ready to chat with Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB this morning about the Len Brown train-smash. They’d called me from out of the blue yesterday evening to see if I’d be willing to talk about it and I’d lined up a series of dazzling one-liners worthy of the show.

Then, at the appointed time, instead of my ring-tone I hear the dulcet tones of Billy Ralston. Telling my story. But using his own dazzling one-liners. Jilted, I was. Jilted! More…

Posted in apologies, crisis communication, journalism, media, media training, politics, reputation | | Leave a comment

Firm masters cup cake

Kudos to Core Builders Composites, the Kiwi firm that built Oracle Team USA’s America’s Cup-winning boat, for textbook issues management. Instead of retreating behind locked doors when the NZ media came calling they embraced the communication challenge and… well, what do you think of the result? More…

Posted in brands, corporate communication, credibility, issues management, journalism, media training, PRos and PRats, reputation | | Leave a comment

Credibility missing in Northland mining debate

Last week I helped judge the Lions Young Ambassador Award hosted by the Opononi and Districts Lions Club. I was struck by the speech made by Samanatha Scahill, a 17-year old student at Kerikeri High School. This young lady, who hopes to read medicine at university next year, put her finger neatly on one of the key ingredients missing from the debate over mining currently dividing Northland communities – the voice of reason. More…

Posted in business, community, corporate communication, credibility, economy, environment, government, issues management, journalism, Northland, politics, pressure groups | | Leave a comment

100% Incredible

It’s a slogan. Not a guarantee. The furore over Tourism New Zealand’s 100% Pure campaign would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. The scale of the investment involved in creating what has to be one of the world’s most effective tourism marketing slogans makes the prospect of ditching it deeply unpalatable.

100% Pure has served us well. Continues to serve us well. And should be allowed to work its magic well into the future.

But for this argument to remain credible its proponents need to stop calling black white. Let’s stop trying to kid ourselves, and the world, that 100% Pure is less to do with our great outdoors and more to do with something called “the total visitor experience.” More…

Posted in brands, context, credibility, environment, issues management, marcomms, reputation, spin | | Leave a comment

Mum, media luvvies over-react after boy, 12, not hit by car

Mum asked to pay up after son, 12, hit by car’ was New Zealand’s weightiest story yesterday, the headline screaming out from the front page of the NZ Herald.

It wasn’t the biggest news du jour, of course – but it was the story with the potentially juiciest headline and the one which would sell the most papers.

Which would be legit if the headline was accurate. How the NZ Herald chooses to position itself on the sliding scale between The Economist and The Daily Tattle is entirely up to it.

But it wasn’t accurate. More…

Posted in apologies, brands, business, citizen journalism, corporate communication, crisis communication, doing the right thing, issues management, journalism, marcomms, media, moral high ground, reputation, social media, spin, tofu PR, trends | | Leave a comment